The 2017 sea turtle season has come to an end on Panama City Beach. Highlights include:
• Largest number of nests (57) and non-nesting crawls (47) since monitoring began in 1991.
• First recorded nesting of 3 sea turtle species (loggerhead, leatherback, green) during the same season.
• Reduced hatching success due to numerous storms which flooded or washed out 36 nests. The nests still produced over 2000 hatchlings, and hatching success was within historical ranges.
• Continued high rates of disoriented hatchlings (72%) affected by lights from beachfront development. Sea Turtle Conservancy is working to retrofit condo lights using oil spill grant funds.
• Record number of strandings (22), although the high number partly reflects improved coordination with the City and County pier attendants, who reported half of the incidents.
• Public nest excavations attended by 1651 residents and tourists.
See you next year!
Excavation of leatherback Nest 27 revealed 105 unhatched eggs with no sign of development (also found 7 small yolkless eggs). Thanks to our hard working crew of Turtle Watchers led by Nancy Evou who found the nest after much digging. We’re hoping for better luck at our three remaining leatherback nests.
Green hatchlings emerged from Nest 50 yesterday morning, and surveyor Nancy Evou got this nice shot of the greenies entering the Gulf. We will excavate this nest Thursday Sep 28 at 5:30 pm.
Nest 44 at Moonspinner Condo hatched last night, and volunteers George Walrond, Liz Bergeron, and Angela Barros rescued 87 disoriented hatchlings. We will excavate this nest on Tuesday at 5:30 pm. Nearest public access 1 is at 4723 Spyglass Dr, about 500 yards west of the nest.
This is little guy or gal is one of 12 hatchlings that emerged from Nest 35. Public nest excavations will start again on Friday at 5:30 pm when we excavate this nest at Sunnyside Beach. See nest link for location details.
Effective immediately we are postponing public nest excavations due to the approaching storm. Excavations will either be delayed until the storm passes or will done during breaks in the weather if possible to do safely (this includes Nest 32 which was originally scheduled for today at 5:30 pm). Hopefully Irma will pass quickly and we can resume public excavations sometime next week. Stay safe everyone and keep our friends in south Florida in your thoughts.
If you see hatchlings on Panama City Beach, please call the beach police 850-233-5000, and they will contact us. Please remember not to shine lights or take flash pictures of hatchlings, as it will disorient them and harm their ability to reach the water, making them more vulnerable to predators. Thank you!
Nesting is usually over by late August, but not this year. Surveyor Secret Holmes-Douglas found Nest 57 this morning at Pinnacle Port Condo, and it’s our 5th green nest of the season! If you see nesting or hatchling sea turtles on Panama City Beach, please call Beach Police at 850-233-5000.
Nest 6 at Carillon Beach hatched last night, and the hatchlings were disoriented by lights from nearby development. Tracks show that most eventually made it to the water, although some were lost to predators. Beachfront lighting is a serious threat to sea turtles on Panama City Beach. You can help by minimizing use of lights on the beach at night and ensuring your beachfront home or condo is compliant with our local lighting ordinance.
Surveyor Tina Buddi found nest 56 this morning near Pier Park. This loggerhead nest sets the record for highest annual sea turtle nesting on Panama City Beach since monitoring began in 1991!