11 November 2008

PB8201 Assessment

Sally and I met with VIP DJ early this morning to assess the last nest of the season, Pensacola Beach 8201. The lone hatchling I released on Saturday is still the only one swimming in the Gulf. That's the bad news...

The good news is that there are three hatchlings, and about 40 eggs, in the office. We finished assessing the nest as it was 72 hours post hatch, but there were some eggs that still looked viable. Rather than open them at the assessment, we're retaining them for a few days to see if the warmer weather in the office may allow them time to hatch.

They've already shown a little progress... The bottom pipped hatchling in this photo was so sluggish on the beach that we weren't even sure it was alive, until it had warmed up a bit in the morning sun. It can be a dangerous thing for these little guys to be so cold in the nest!

It may not work. Sometimes, it does, as in the case of the lone hatchling from SR 8061. Often, it doesn't. This nest is pretty sketchy anyway. It was interesting this morning to see how the nest stopped developing. There were several eggs that stopped in the first two weeks, at stage 1, 2 or 3, and several that stopped developing around three to four weeks, at stage 4 or 5. (Don't worry - I'll spare you those photos!) These dates correspond well with flooding events associated with Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The earliest failed eggs likely died during Tropical Depression Fay, which was just about three days after this nest was laid. It's interesting, in a sad and clinical way, to see that unfold in the nest, and it's a good lesson about relocation sites for next year. Clearly, the eggs need to be a little further north!

It's great to see we still have a few determined hatchlings in the nest though...

They may be trapped in their eggs 22 days longer than expected, but they still show a lot of spunk!

This guy looks very determined to go for a swim. I wouldn't get between him and the sea as he makes his final dash for the waves!


Barrier Island Girl said...

Fabulous, FABULOUS photos and post, Kirsten! Your photos get better and better with your passion for the subject, Turtle Girl!

Thank you for all the information and follow-up.


-5 ain't cold in Orillia said...

maybe someone should knit little snugglies fer the turtles if it's that cold. It's -5C here in Orillia. All our turtles are deep deep undercover.

International Coastal Clean-Up!

The 2008 Coastal Clean-Up on Santa Rosa Island was a great success, but we can work together to make everyday a Coastal Clean-up Day... Help us keep our beaches beautiful!

For details on the 2009 coastal clean-up efforts in Pensacola or in your area, or other ways you can help, click here.

Hello World!

Hello World!
Which way to the sea?