16 August 2008

T. S. Fay and Turtle Nests

Well, the tropics are churning again...

Tropical Storm Fay is still in Cuba, but we're taking a few precautions here. The Gulf is a bit stirred up, and threatened this nest this morning.

With very careful attention, Becky helped me locate the eggs in this imperiled sea turtle nest.

Finally, the eggs!

We didn't have the egg crates I normally use to help stabilize nests this far into their development. All we had was Rishy's red cooler, and the beach.

So we created sand egg crates inside the ice chest. They're more biodegradable anyway!

The eggs were securely nestled, protecting them from any movement, rotation, temperature extremes or rain as we carried them a hundred or so feet north, to a larger dune system far removed from the waves.

Once in the dunes, we built a new nest, about 18 to 20 inches deep, rounded out at the bottom, to protect the eggs for the next month.

The eggs were carefully replaced in the new egg chamber...

buried with sand from the original nest...

and marked with the original sign.

Now, we just need one month of relatively stable weather for the eggs to finish developing and hatchlings to emerge. It was a risky move, relocating a nest this late. We may have a lower hatch rate because of the action, but we would have completely lost the nest had we left it in place.

Thanks, Steve, for warning us that it was so close to the surf! And a huge thanks to Becky and Michael who helped move the nest this morning, and Michael for taking over my photograher role -- it's so much easier with extra hands!

If TS Fay stays on the western side of the predicted track, we'll be doing this all week!

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