Turtle season off to slow startFrom the May 26, 2010 Issue
PHOTO PROVIDED/JOHN YOUNG
Debbie Basilius and Suzi Fox, of
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Protection, found
the first false crawl of the 2010 sea turtle nesting season
on Friday morning south of 73rd Street in Holmes Beach. It
was staked off to demonstrate the process to new volunteers.
ANNA MARIA – Even taking into account the legendary pace of turtles, it was still a long wait for the first sea turtle nest of the 2010 season on Anna Maria Island.
Nesting season began on May 1, but the first nest was not dug until the night of May 22 near Willow Avenue, following a false crawl the night of May 20.
It’s good news for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shore Bird Protection.
By this time, 100 nests usually have been laid, director Suzi Fox said, adding that a late nesting season like this one has happened a half dozen times in the past 15 years.
Some speculate that sea turtles are swimming away from the expanding Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but Fox said it’s more likely that the unusually long, cold winter has affected the turtles’ food source, delaying their arrival.
Turtles began nesting on Longboat Key two weeks ago, and about 15 nests have been found between here and the Florida Keys, she said.
The false crawl was found on May 21 south of 73rd Street in Holmes Beach by AMITW volunteers, who demonstrated the staking process to new volunteers at the spot where the nest would have been dug if the turtle hadn’t changed her mind and headed back to the Gulf.
Meanwhile, bird nesting season is in full swing, with two snowy plover eggs on a well-tended nest in Anna Maria, Fox said, and newly-hatched chicks running around on the beach from Cypress to Seagrape.
Beachgoers are asked to take care while in the area. If birds begin to squawk, it’s time to take a walk.