It’s a record sea turtle nesting season on Anna Maria Island so far this year, but Suzi Fox, director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring, seems as thrilled about one particular turtle as she is about the whole gang.
This week marks the midway point in turtle season, May 1 to Oct. 31, and already, more nests have been laid on the Island than in the entire 2016 season, which was the highest on record, according to Turtle Watch.
Since May 1, 459 sea turtles have laid nests on the Island, 24 more than in all of 2016. One of those turtles, loggerhead Eliza Ann, has made Anna Maria Island her beach of choice for four nesting attempts. The latest one last week was witnessed as a successful nesting, not a false crawl, an attempt that is discontinued when a turtle is disoriented by lights or other distractions.
“I’m so excited,” said Fox, who worked with the Sea Turtle Conservancy and Eliza Ann’s sponsor, Waterline Marina Resort and Beach Club in Holmes Beach, to satellite tag the turtle on June 19 after she nested in Bradenton Beach.
Eliza Ann and seven other satellite-tagged turtles started the Sea Turtle Conservancy’s Tour de Turtle migration marathon this week, which tracks where they swim and the distance they cover. Turtles are scored on how many miles they cover during the three-month race.
Check their progress here and on Facebook.