We didn’t have any nests yesterday, so our streak was broken at 5 days.
Here are three for today:
We are really outpacing all previous years!
Our beach south of Mickler’s, which is mostly real sand with no sand bags or seawalls, is only 1.7 miles, but has 7 of our 10 nests.
Our beach north of Mickler’s, which has a significant amount of seawalls, river dirt, non-dune plants, and giant sand bags, is 2.2 miles, but only has 3 nests. Someone else in the turtle business suggested that the turtles can smell that it is not sand. Definitely something to look into. We will see how the rest of the season pans out.
Both of these were the “tricky” kind, where the nesting turtle turns around after nesting and crawls out over her incoming track. The first one, on 5/8, MN001, was unfortunately laid in river dirt, which was unfortunately brought onto our beach after both Matthew and Irma. Unlike real sand, it holds water and compacts over the clutch of eggs. We are worried about this nest.
May 1st was the first official day of nesting season. We found no sea turtle crawls, but we did find a “Nesting Sea Turtle Obstacle Course.” The nesting moms must first navigate the 4-foot wide and 4-foot deep “Sea-Turtle-Killing Hole,” and then escape the “Sea-Turtle-Trapping Snow Fencing.”
People often ask how they can help prevent endangered and threatened sea turtles from going extinct. One way is to help us protect their nesting habitat. Spread the word. Help us educate people.
If you dig a hole on the beach, fill it in before you leave and ask others nicely to do the same.
Snow fencing has never worked to build a dune (it’s purported purpose) on our beach. What works much better is planting sea oats. Encourage your friends and neighbors to spend their money on planting sea oats instead of erecting snow fencing.
Not only are sea oats more effective at capturing sand and building a dune on our beach, but they do not obstruct nesting sea turtles and hatchlings.
Sea oats grow with age and work even better. Their roots help hold the dune in place. Snow fencing gets old and falls down with age. When it gets hit by waves from a storm, it washes out, takes the dune with it, and litters the beach.
I wish the sea oat salesmen were as convincing as the snow fence peddlers!
We started walking turtle patrol on Monday April 15th. The season officially starts May 1st, but the FWC asks us to start April 15th, so we do. In light of the fact that there was a leatherback nest in southern St. John’s County on April 14th, I’m glad we did. We haven’t found any nests yet, but we are working out the kinks, checking out the beach and meeting the newbies.
We had a record turnout his
morning — 11 people! What a great group. We couldn’t meet at Mickler’s
this morning, because there was an estimated 1,000+ people there for an
Easter Sunrise service, so the parking lot was overflowing even before
our meet time.
A special thanks to Becky DeSantis and Anita Massara for checking the beach at Mickler’s for nests before the crowd arrived. They got there at 4:15 am!