The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 12 No. 43 - August 8, 2012


Turtles nesting along bay side

Carol Whitmore

Maureen and Dave McCormick walk the new section of
bay side beach for Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and
Shorebird Monitoring.

ANNA MARIA – Loggerhead sea turtles are increasingly nesting on the bay side of Anna Maria Island, causing turtle watchers to add a new, ninth section to the shoreline they walk each dawn.

In the first three months of the six-month 2012 turtle season, from May 1 to July 31, sea turtles laid 19 nests and made 21 false crawls in the bayside section, according to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.

A false crawl happens when a mother turtle comes ashore, but does not lay a nest, perhaps because of distraction by lights, furniture or predators.

While some sand was intentionally placed near the Anna Maria Pier recently, there’s more sand accumulating naturally on the bayside than there has been in past years, Turtle Watch Director Suzi Fox said, calling it self renourishment.

“Land comes and goes there,” she said. “If the land goes away, we’ll stop monitoring.”

The new section extends from the Anna Maria Pier to Bimini Inlet and is longer than the others, which average a mile long. At a mile and three-quarters, it’s a long walk for Maureen and Dave McCormick, who patrol the section both directions.

The couple has passed out turtle information to the residents and vacationers in the section, who may be less familiar with turtle rules than Gulfside dwellers.

“We’ve gotten help from homeowners occasionally, but people are in the houses more in the summertime now,” Fox said.

Nesting news

Loggerhead sea turtles

Nests laid: 341*
False crawls: 335
Nests hatched: 8
Hatchlings to the sea: 380
Nest disorientations: 1

*This record number includes all nests laid since the start of turtle season on May 1. The previous record was 244 nests in 1999. But in late June, Tropical Storm Debby destroyed an unknown number of nests that can’t be identified until their hatch dates have passed. Since Debby, 162 nests have been laid.

Source: Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring

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