Busy week with new nests and storm impacted nests

What a week our volunteers had! 
They marked 6 loggerhead nests this week (we are at 23 nests so far as we approach the midpoint of our nest laying season). 

In addition to volunteers responding to mark new nests found by surveyors this week, they responded to storm impacted nests which involved salvaging exposed eggs (sucked out by waves) and burying them at the dunes in a new marked nest as well as visiting several previously marked nests to bury stakes that had been washed away, as well as to install new stakes and caution tape at nests that have had so much sand accretion that the original stakes could barely be seen.

We are currently experiencing high tides that are impacting many of our nests.  When a nest receives too much water at once, it can stop the development of the eggs.  Since we don’t know how much is too much or what actually reaches those buried eggs, per the FWC permit we operate under we leave the nest marked for up to 80 days from when it was laid.  If a washed over nest doesn’t hatch (it usually takes 2 months) we’ll give it until day 80 just in case the incubation time was slowed down due to the water.  If it doesn’t hatch by then we’ll excavate it to determine the stage of development the eggs reached, which will likely coincide with this week’s high tide event.

This week we anticipate some additional impact to some of our nests as we continue to see tides/surge higher on the beach then it has been.  While this past week’s volunteers get some rest from all of their efforts, we have a new team ready to respond to any reports of nesting turtles, new nests or storm impacted nests.

All of our official volunteer spots are full and everyone has received FWC training.  But you can help us out….if you are on the beach and see a nesting turtle contact PCB Police non-emergency 850-233-5000 or if you see any storm impacted nests contact us via Facebook messenger.  This week we had several calls from beachgoers that provided us with reports that we were able to respond to quickly, we appreciate those reports!

All activities performed under MTP-038

Volunteers marking a newly laid nest. We fill out a form which includes a crawl diagram as the direction of the crawl and the turtle’s behavior that we can read from the sand gives us clues about where the nest may be located so we can protect it. We collect other pieces of data as well including species which can be determined by the crawl pattern.

An existing nest on the beach has received fresh wash over and sand has accreted therefore the original stakes are not effective for protecting the nest.
Viola, thanks to a new set of stakes and survey/caution tape, the area is successfully protected again. Thank you volunteers!