August 29, 2013
The Nesting report
We have documented 356 nest so far this season. 94 of them have hatched and those nests produced 8331 hatchlings. A storm in June took 12 nests. We have had to put up with very high tides this month that washed over a few of the lower beach nests. Luckily only a few of those were standing in water. Nests can take some wash overs and still have a pretty good hatch rate. However, standing water is no good. Doing the math, we have about 250 nest left to hatch.
Though it has been two weeks since our last nest, Sarasota County reported a nest and a false crawl 3 days ago. So our turtle girls are still hanging off shore with nesting on their minds.
Pictures above show Volunteer Fran Krammer excavating a nest that had hatched. And the rainy high tide around mid month in August. As the tide went down you can see how high up it went by the wrack line. It was over three feet of extra water & then west winds pushed it further toward the grass line. For two days walkers reported some parts of the beach were totally under water making it impossible for us to know if a turtle had nested the night before. In these cases I count 55 days ahead and tell the walkers to be on the look out for surprise hatches from nests that may have been missed.
Heavy afternoon rans have givien us some some surprises as well. Daytime nests hatching!!! We have had eight so far. Those have been reported by your Marine Rescue guys up high in their towers….They miss nothing!! We love those guys. We suspect we have had more that hatched with out any watchful eyes.
GRANT MONEY TO THE RESCUE
I have some great news to report to you. I have secured grant more grant money to retrofit more water front buildings with sea turtle/ people friendly lighting. We will be working with Harrington House, Waters Edge, 18 properties under the management of Mike Norman Realestate.
We already supplied Smugglers Cove in Bradenton Beach with 34 fixtures and FWC certified sea turtle friendly light bulbs. That was a $2,380.00 fix. This property has been drawing hatchings back toward their lights for 15 years. Last week 124 hatchlings exited their nests in front of the building and ran right down to the sea. YEAH!!!!!
We still have some $$ to go and I plan to spend every extra minute seeing more properties to help.
Here is an example of bad lights that we have fixed. This pole had a metal halide light in it & was just hanging from a cord. It lit up the entire side of the 7 story Martinique South Building & shined out on the nesting beach. The owner removed the bulb. We are choosing two new fixtures for his parking lot lights that will be paid for by grant money.
I have been in discussions with your renourishment engineers, Charlie Hunsicker and the Army Corp of Engineers gearing up for your project. AMITW started moving nests August 1st in prepreation for this project. We have to give nests a 70 day window to hatch ( We had a nest hatch today that was in the ground 66 days). That means nests that were laid on and after August 1st and have and will be moved up to the City of Anna Maria around Oak & Maple. We have a little nursery going on up there of about 25 nests. We had a scare two days ago. The house at 97 Oak Ave had a big spot light shinning from their waterside porch pointing right at our row of nests. No one was in the house and there was no contact number. The owners of this house live in Odessa. So a brave George Mckay , AM City Public Works Director used a thick rag and unscrewed the light bulb ( not a turtle friendly bulb). The city has sent them a letter telling them they need to get this house in compliance. I think I need to send them some grant information & see if we can get them on board.
I will leave you with this cool picture. Longtime volunteer Ray Dalto called me from the beach and said“Good morning Suzi I have a present for you meet me at 1200 Gulf Dr.” Down I went to find a teary eyed Ray hanging out with a nesting mama. It was Ray’s 81st Birthday that day.