Friday, August 24, 2012

Turtle Walks 16 and 17

Turtle walk 16 was on August 16.  
It was raining for a while before we left the house and this is what the weather map looked like, at that time.  Our zone was covered by the green and yellow areas.  We went out anyway, hoping that the rain would at least be light enough to make the walk, with the use of an umbrella.  It was raining when Gary started walking at Gulfside City Park.  By the time he reached the southern most point of the island, where the left edge of the green and yellow is, there was no more rain.

There was no sign of any turtle activity in our zone, only lazy human activity.

But, as things turned out, it was an interesting week, after all. A turtle walker in Zone 3, found some tiny tracks in the sand and traced them to a nest that had hatched. That was a surprise, since the nest had not been found or marked. It's nice there was news of a hatch on the East End  instead of all those "no hatches" due to damage from the tropical storm. 
There was also one new nest on Saturday.   A Green Sea Turtle was seen nesting by a number of people next to the Nerita Street beach access.  The turtle walker called the Permittee for that day and she arrived in time to verify that it was a Green.  These photos were taken at a respectful distance using the zoom on their cameras to prevent any disturbance to the turtle.

Can you see the difference in these tracks and ones I have shown before of the Loggerhead crawls?

Where we stand as of  Friday Aug. 17, with sea turtle activity as well as the previous two years for comparison.

As of 8/17/2012:
Sanibel East- 68 nests, 145 false crawls, 1 hatch
Sanibel West- 244 nests, 518 false crawls, 45 hatches
Captiva- 116 nests, 173 false crawls, 20 hatches

As of 8/17/2011:
Sanibel East- 37 nests, 84 false crawls, 14 hatches
Sanibel West- 239 nests, 359 false crawls, 102 hatches
Captiva- 76 nests, 54 false crawls, 41 hatches

As of 8/17/2010:
Sanibel East- 20 nests, 65 false crawls, 5 hatches
Sanibel West- 140 nests, 245 false crawls, 53 hatches
Captiva- 64 nests, 117 false crawls, 29 hatches

Amanda Bryant
Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation
3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd.
Sanibel, FL 33957

Turtle Walk 17 was on August 23

A large jelly fish!

Anyone call a tow truck?

Another walk with no turtle activity, but beautiful scenery.

As tough as this sea turtle season has been, now we are faced with another tropical storm or possible hurricane.  It saddens me to think that the few late nests we were hoping would hatch, may also be lost.  But after an email from Amanda Bryant, Biologist with SCCF, (Our lovely turtle lady), I feel a little better.  Below is an excerpt from that message.

Once the eggs are washed out of the nest, there is little that can be done to save them. Tropical storms and hurricanes are a natural part of sea turtle season. Sea turtles are well adapted for tropical weather. They lay several nests spread out over the entire summer. This strategy allows at least some of their offspring to survive. They also are long-lived and nest every couple of years. One nesting season with poor success won’t impact the population as much as we might think.

So, we wait to see what the weather brings to us on Monday.......


Snowbird said...

Let's hope that the storm gets downgraded a lot and it brings nothing but shells to the island. In any case, stay safe.

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

What beautiful photos. Loved the Smilebox series!

Kathi said...

All I could think of yesterday when I watched the Weather Channel was how wonderful the shelling would be with that extra low tide. I would love to be there after the storm too to see what it brings in!
Take care!