11 July 2008

Turtle Rescue and Three Nests!



I knew Blue Angels Weekend would be great, but I had no idea it would be so good for turtles. I was a bit stressed today, with the most excellent fact that I couldn't get to every nest at the same time.



VIP LiMarie found this lovely loggerhead (Caretta caretta) lost on Opal Beach in the Santa Rosa area of Gulf Islands National Seashore.



I borrowed a bright blue tarp from the Santa Rosa Island Authority and I asked a few early morning beach walkers to help LiMarie and I return the lost turtle to the sea. Amy, Adam and Cindy each grabbed part of the tarp and gave the turtle a ride back to the Gulf of Mexico.



She seemed very happy to reach the water!



Just look at her go!



LiMarie and I found her eggs about a foot from last nights high tide line.



Sea turtle eggs can drown, so we made a conservation-based decision to move the nest.



One of her eggs was a little odd... Most look like leathery ping pong balls, but this one was oval. Maybe it's a double yolk?



We found Sea Oats (Uniola paniculata) dancing on a dune about 150 feet north. The eggs in LiMarie's first nest of the season are now safe and sound on the dune.



We had to move Cathy's nest on Fort Pickens too, but both are safe as long as the tropical weather stays away. In two months time, this nest and the two other new nests on Calle Hermosa and Fort Pickens should yield about 100 hatchlings each. Can't wait to see them safely in the sea!



For now, we still have the baby birds! While patrolling the A-C tern colony on Fort Pickens during the Blue Angels practice, I found this little Least Tern (Sternula antillarum). Isn't s/he adorable?

8 comments:

Green Gal said...

This is Amy, a beach visitor who helped to return this BEAUTIFUL yet very heavy turtle back to the roaring ocean waters. Kudos to all who help to save these God-given creatures. I wished we lived closer so that I could be a volunteer, too. =)

Barrier Island Girl said...

How exciting!

I love your blog, Kirsten, and everything you do for our beautiful island.

Thanks also to our beach visitors who spring to action. What great beach memories and stories they'll have to tell!

Barrier Island Girl said...

How exciting!

I love your blog, Kirsten, and everything you do for our beautiful island.

Thanks also to our beach visitors who spring to action. What great beach memories and stories they'll have to tell!

Karl said...

Just saw this post, thanks to the Barrier Island Girl article. Thank you so much for what you are doing. I am a long time surfer and I get thrilled on those rare occasions when I see a turtle in the water. Maybe I'll see this one one day and think of you. Thank you.

felinesopher said...

hi Kirsten, i love your blog & your work:) very inspiring!

natlaquarium said...

This is so cool - those pictures were great! The Marine Animal Rescue Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore recently took in a stranded female loggerhead. Unfortunately he wasn't able to go right back into the ocean like the one you found. He should be OK eventually though. We wrote a blog post about it here: http://nationalaquarium.wordpress.com/2008/08/14/marp-to-the-rescue/

Turtle Girl said...

Not all of our live strandings are immediately releasable either. We currently have a green with two broken hips, a Kemp's ridley with entanglement and boat strike wounds and another boat struck turtle being rehabbed at two aquariums in the Florida panhandle. It's great to have them as resources! They also cared for Loco Boomerang twice! S/He's been released again, but is still swimming along the beach... Stubborn turtle seems to know tourists will feed s/him.

I hope your turtle does well! I used to love to hang out at the Baltimore Aquarium (and rainforest) when I was growing up in Delaware :)

Kirsten (aka the traveling turtle girl)

PJ said...

That is a tiny, tiny little bird! Oh my goodness!

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