Blog Post By: Rylie, Sea Turtle Intern
It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of July. It has been a wild month, but I wanted to share some of the highlights with you all!
Since my last blog post, we have had some of our first nests hatch and have had the awesome opportunity to start some of our nest inventories. Our first inventory, nest 4, was an especially smelly one filled with fire ants. The staff members present were shocked and excited to find one live hatchling remaining in the nest and we released it safely into the ocean. Our other inventories have had some very successful nests, with over 100 hatched eggs!
One of my favorite moments from this summer was yesterday’s dawn patrol. Krystal and I had just gotten to nest 1 to start our inventory, when Lea and Derek came on the radio to let us know that nest 9 was boiling. Krystal and I sprinted a half mile all the way to the inlet, and got to watch the last few hatchlings emerge and make it out to the water.
If you’ve been on our beach recently, you may have seen some very large roped off areas of disturbed sand. Our volunteers have been stumped to find these several times on our dawn patrols, and spent hours probing these massive pits for eggs. The mystery was solved on our turtle walk, when we finally witnessed the responsible turtle. After seeing her first few crawls, we were suspicious that she may have a flipper injury. We were surprised to find that her flippers were in near perfect condition, she just has a lot of trouble digging. She simultaneously digs and covers at the same time, filling in her own egg chamber - a possible sign of some neurological damage. We’ve seen her twice on turtle walks now, and I hope she can nest successfully soon!
A final thought: This has been a crazy year for so many, but there’s something comforting in watching the instinctual ritual of a female sea turtle nesting or seeing a hundred hatchlings make their trek for the ocean. No matter what is going on the world, nature carries on as it has for millions of years. The one in a thousand hatchlings that beat the odds and survive to adulthood are a true lesson in resilience that I think we can all learn from.
Sea Turtle Biologist