Wrapping up a year like no other

Panama City Beach experienced above average loggerhead nesting and record green nesting in 2020, but hatchling production suffered due to numerous storms that flooded many nests. This loggerhead hatchling is from our last nest of the season (picture courtesy of Turtle Watcher Angela Barros). See History for details on each nest, including location, hatching success, and incubation times. Our work feels like a footnote in this year of pandemic and political strife. Take care of yourself, don’t forget to vote, and we will look forward to better times in 2021.

Hurricane Sally

Hurricane Sally washed away 8 of the 13 nests on Panama City Beach when the storm hit on Sep 15. Our remaining 5 nests were severely washed or partially washed out. We’re not sure they will hatch but will continue to monitor them through October when our season comes to an end. It has been a tough storm season for all of us on the Gulf coast, but especially for our friends to the west. Please consider making a donation to a hurricane relief fund. We’ll post a wrap-up when the remaining nests are excavated at the end of October.

 

Hurricane Laura

We had 27 nests on the beach when high surf from Laura arrived this week, and 19 were flooded, one partially washed out, and 7 were not washed. Some of the flooded nests should still be viable. Sea turtle eggs can tolerate some inundation, so only time will tell how many of the flooded nests will hatch.

Slow start to hatching season

Hatching is off to a very slow start with only four hatched nests so far this season. Flooding from Tropical Storm Cristobal damaged many of our early-season nests, but activity should pick up soon as nests laid after the storm begin to hatch. Please avoid shining lights or taking flash pictures of turtles, and immediately call the Beach Police at 850-233-5000 if you see nesting or hatchling turtles on Panama City Beach.

More greens as hatching season approaches

Five more green nests have been found since our last post, including this one encountered nesting last week (picture taken with no lights by Turtle Watcher Angela Barros). Nests will begin hatching in the coming weeks. Please avoid shining lights or taking flash pictures of turtles, and immediately call the Beach Police at 850-233-5000 if you see nesting or hatchling turtles on Panama City Beach. Take care of yourself and loved ones by maintaining physical distance of 6 feet from others, wash your hands, and wear your mask.

First Green Nest!

We found our first green nest of the season last week and also tagged a nesting loggerhead! Our current total of 28 nests is well above average for Panama City Beach at this point in the season. If you see a nesting turtle, call the Beach Police at (850) 233-5000. Please keep your distance and don’t shine lights or take flash photos which may cause the turtle to abandon her nesting attempt.

Cristobal

High surf from Tropical Storm Cristobal washed away 7 of the 13 loggerhead nests found thus far on Panama City Beach. The remaining six nests were severely flooded but may still hatch later this summer, depending on how long the eggs were submerged. The season is still young, and we expect more nests to be laid in the coming weeks.

Good start

Our season is off to a good start with loggerhead nesting running well above average for this early stage of the season. We’ve found 12 nests so far, and surveyor Secret Holmes got to see her second loggerhead on the beach, a rare sight for these typically nocturnal nesters.

First Nest!

Our first loggerhead nest was found yesterday on Panama City Beach, and our surveyor got to see her laying eggs! Sea turtles mostly nest at night, so this was a special treat.

Surveys Underway

We are underway! Sea turtle monitoring started May 1 on a beautiful cold, clear morning on Panama City Beach. We’ll provide updates soon on changes to our monitoring this season due to the pandemic. Meantime, practice social distancing, wash your hands, and please take care of each other.