Longboat Turtle nesting update
On Aug. 6, the Longboat Key Turtle Watch volunteers held the first turtle nest opening of the season, which was a normal sized hatch. Tropical Storm Debby destroyed many sea turtle nests, other nests simply lost their marker stakes which may still hatch, but their precise locations are unknown.
Because so many nests are unmarked, it will be especially important for Sea Turtle Patrollers to document the tracks left behind by emerging hatchlings. These tracks are often the only way to find and document unmarked nests along with hatchlings that have lost their way to sea.
Advice for beachgoers:
whenever possible, beachgoers and property owners should leave hatchling tracks intact so they can be documented by Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Patrol and the Longboat Key Turtle Watch.
Property owners who wish to clean their beaches using hand rakes should wait until late afternoon if possible, or they can confirm that their area has been patrolled for the day by contacting Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at 383-4431.
Beachgoers should avoid placing beach furniture onto hatchling tracks and remember to remove beach furniture and other barriers between evening and early morning to leave a clear path for emerging hatchlings to find the sea.
Hatchlings may continue emerging until the end of the nesting season, Oct. 31. Mote’s Sea Turtle Patrol will be monitoring local beaches each day until the season is complete. For other nesting season FAQs and tips, please feel free to refer readers to www.mote.org/seaturtlebrochure.
This year’s shirts are available at the UPS store at the Centre Shops – 5380 Gulf of Mexico Drive, sizes toddler 2 thru adult Extra, extra large — color is Texas orange.
There is still time to support the Turtle Watch’s Name a Nest program — for a contribution of $10 or more the group will inscribe the name of the donor on the back of a nest stake and will let the donor know when the nest is due to hatch and how it fares. Visit www.lbkturtlewatch.com for more information.