A Most Unusual Start to the Season

The 2020 season for Mickler’s Landing Turtle Patrol got off to a very unusual start.  The effects of the Covid-19 virus changed many things. First was the way that the Nesting Survey Workshop was conducted by FWC.  Turtle patrol members from all over joined a virtual conference room for the annual training.  The closure of the beaches brought uncertainty as to when we would be able to start our patrol.  We were finally given clearance to begin walking on April 18 just three days later than the planned April 15 date.

The patrol moved to a modified system to comply with social distancing.  The patrol is divided into four zones, each about two miles down and back to be patrolled solo. If a nest is found a “crawl worker” is notified to work the nest. Anyone who joins the crawl worker to assist with working the nest is required to wear gloves and a mask.

Once patrol began, we were off to a slow start.  Mother’s Day came and went and still nothing.  Finally, May 12 was the day.  Mary Lynne Smith found the first nest but not just any nest, it was a Leatherback and it was quite a sight!

Marshall Read was patrolling a little further south in zone four where he found a false crawl and a Loggerhead nest.

Nancy described the Loggerhead nest as textbook. She dug straight down and found the clutch in no time at all. Check out the diameter of the hole.

Wednesday was non eventful. Then on Thursday, we had the first nest on the north end. MN001 (Cc). It was located in almost the exact location as last year’s first north nest. There a few inches of soft fluffy sand on top, but a few inches down is hard packed dirt. Last year 39 hatchlings were trapped in it and died. Hopefully we will have a better outcome this year.

We are up to three total!