Nesting split nearly evenly among cities
CINDY LANE | SUN
Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring
Director Suzi Fox winds up the 2013 turtle season with
volunteers at the Café on the Beach in Holmes Beach.
HOLMES BEACH – Sea turtles apparently like to nest on all three cities on Anna Maria Island almost equally.
Bradenton Beach hosted 130 nests this year, with Holmes Beach in second place at 128 nests and Anna Maria not far behind with 112 nests, according to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring Director Suzi Fox.
This year was a record season, with 370 nests and more than 23,000 hatchlings that made it to the Gulf of Mexico.
Twenty nests that were disoriented during the May 1 – Oct. 31 season were also split nearly evenly among the cities, with the disorientations mostly due to lighting violations, Fox told volunteers at their last meeting of the year last week at the Café on the Beach at Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach, which will have its lights retrofitted to be more turtle friendly before next season, she said.
Every nest laid at Katie Pierola Sunset Park in Bradenton Beach was disoriented, with many at 66th Street as well, she said, adding that she expects next year to be better, with both Anna Maria and Holmes Beach having new police chiefs interested in enforcing turtle lighting laws.
The 31-year-old Turtle Watch organization will be converting its reams of data on 4,041 documented nests to electronic files stored in the cloud with a grant from funds generated by the sale of sea turtle license plates, Fox said. Team leaders will get Nexus 7 notepads to replace clipboards and paper, and will take photos of nest locations instead of describing them on paper, she said.
The group also has published a children’s activity book called “Flippers and Feathers,” the name of The Sun’s weekly feature during turtle and bird season that offers tips on living responsibly with wildlife.
Beach renourishment is not expected to force Turtle Watch to relocate nests next season, Fox said; many nests were moved this year in anticipation of the project, which was delayed until December.
Past renourishments have preceded active nesting seasons, Fox said.