The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 38 - June 10, 2009


Loggerhead found in rare daylight nesting event


PHOTO/MARK GUSS The sea turtles that nest on our beaches
almost always come ashore during the night. Saturday morning,
volunteers caught a rare daytime nesting. Here, the loggerhead,
covered in sand from digging her nest and burying her eggs,
returns to the Gulf.

It was a rare daylight event, and Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch volunteers are still thrilled about it. A female loggerhead marine turtle was found nesting near La Costa Condos in Bradenton Beach as a volunteer was checking her section of beach between 26th Street and Cortez Road.

"It was so wonderful," said AMITW Director Suzi Fox. "We so rarely get to see the turtles, and it’s even more rare to witness a nesting during daylight hours."

Kassy Guss, a longtime AMITW volunteer walker, found the turtle during her Saturday morning monitoring walk. She called Fox to come and see the rare event.

"The turtle laid 128 eggs in the nest," Fox noted. "The nest was too close to the waterline, so we relocated it up further on the beach."

There are now four nests in about a 30-foot area in front of La Costa now, according to Fox.

"This is a good location for them, because the La Costa folks are very good about lights and about keeping things safe for the turtles," she said.

Locations on spreadsheets

It’s not all about thrilling sights and digging in the sand for AMITW volunteers.

The organization has to keep track of each nest, of each false crawl, of each due date, of each hatchling. It’s a tedious task.

But now, volunteer Pete Goss has designed a spreadsheet that pinpoints the location of every nest along with information about when it might hatch.

It’s an information package that Fox said helps her organization and will help the Island cities as well. The spreadsheet was e-mailed to each city.

"We’ll be following up with all the adjacent properties regarding the hatch dates, as well as warning them that nesting continues," Bradenton Beach Building Official Steve Gilbert wrote in an e-mail to Fox after he got the spreadsheet.

Fox said she’s had very positive response from all the Island cities.

"Everyone likes it, and I think it’s amazing," she said. "I have the best volunteers. Pete Goss is so great! What a volunteer!"

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