Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Turtle Walk Tuesday

Began the turtle walk at 6:30 this morning. There was a nest in our zone that was due to hatch around July 10, but it hadn't hatched yet. This morning we were anxious to check on it.

It was very still out, hardly any breeze. Even after using bug spray, the noseeums were being a nuisance.

These were near the Buttonwood access and looked like snowballs, so they were sandballs?

At first, there wasn't anyone else in eye sight. But as it got a little more light out, people came flocking onto the beach.

Yes, more sand traps for baby sea turtles. :-(

I had a feeling that we might see a hole in the nest and little tiny tracks where hatchlings might have made their escape. But, what we saw was even more exciting. There was a hole in the nest, but there was also a tiny little turtle coming out of it. YEAH!! It looked like the first one, because I didn't see any other tracks. It took that little guy a long time to get out over the edge of the hole. When he did, he took a moment to look around and then headed toward the water. It amazes me that they know that is where they are supposed to go.

(Much better if you enlarge the photos.)

The hatchling had a problem when he tried to pass a shallow sand hole that had been washed over by the waves. He slid sideways and then flipped over onto his back. Poor thing tried and tried but couldn't get turned over. I finally helped him and he was once again on his way. This is a perfect example of the problem caused by leaving holes on the beach. I wish there were some signs posted at the beach accesses etc. with warnings about them. I know some people just refuse to follow rules, but I think they would help.

The videos are not the greatest quality because they are from my phone. (There is a problem with the video camera, as it was dropped and in need of serious repair.) You can view these in HQ on YouTube.

Follow the tiny turtle as he makes the remainder of his walk to the water. Just after the first wave came in near him, it looked like he hesitated and then thought, I've got to do this, and went for it. I saw his head come up four times at the top of each wave and then he was gone.

After the little turtle swam away, I looked around and saw that the sun had just come up.

There were tidal pools along the way, a lot of seaweed that smelled a little and had LOTS of tiny flies and bugs in it. The beach walk itself, was not too pleasant this morning.

You already know what I'm thinking. :-(

A basketball star was here and left his flip flops?

Is this nasty, or what? Now this person had kept their butts nice and neat, all in one pile, but they couldn't take them away. These are not the kinds of things you want to pick up, or the other two bags of trash we found either, but you do what you gotta do.

These were left on the beach from last night. They were supposed to be at a pool near a condo building. Another thing to cause false crawls or for a turtle to get trapped in.

Mmm, Hmm, somebody dropped their noodle.

We see a lot of these little shell piles near the beach accesses. Tourists dispose of their rejects before leaving. I've seen other people thrilled to find them. :-)

This hole was about a foot and a half deep.

Is it a sign??? Does it mean anything to you?

Someones lost flip.

After we walked back, we stopped to check the turtle nest again. Since it was more light out, we could see several other little tracks around the hole and also the rain marks all over the sand. Possibly the nest hatched during the night and rain hid most of the tracks. Could we have seen the very last little turtle that came out? In three days, our permittee will dig the nest to make sure there are none that were not able to get out and also count the empty egg sacks. Then we will know how many hatched. I hope I get to be there when it is dug.


gpc said...

How incredible. I was holding my breathe as he worked his way down that long path to the water -- what a lot of work for that little guy! I'm so glad that you were there to get him back on his feet - it would have been sad if he'd been left there to become somebody's breakfast! What a cool thing to see.

Little Black Scrap Cat said...

This is amazing! I'm so glad you were there to see it and share it with us!! In the future you will not find castles and holes left by our family!!

Kimberly said...

Wow Tootie, I am so glad you finally got to witness this amazing sight in your zone! Thanks for sharing with us...and I agree, I think some signage at least during nesting season would help, how could it not? What about the policemen that drive on 4 wheelers, I am sure they see some of this going on,or at least people close by some of the monster holes, while couldn't they just stop and remind families to fill in the holes before they leave the beach?

Snowbird said...

Wow! Talk about being in the right place at the right time. That poor little guy must have been exhausted when he finally made it to the water. Great video. Thanks!

Tammy said...

Hi...I'm a new follower of your blog...gal, I'm a slacker too, as I should be cleaning my bathroom and instead I'm sitting here watching tiny sea turtles go to the water...facinating stuff!!☼

Turquoise Diaries said...

Such an incredible photo story. Thanks for sharing it..