Twas the third day of May and all through the water,
not a creature was stirring, not even an otter.
The cages were stacked on the Tursiops* with care,
in hopes that the loggerheads soon would be there,
For raccoons were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of turtle eggs danced in their heads.
And Sarah in her Costas, and Marilyn within reach,
Had just settled their eyes on the Cape Romano beach.
Sept. 21, 2017
Since our summer interns evacuated before the storm, Jill and I got to go out to the Cape Romano Complex to do an assessment of the islands and determine if there were any sea turtle nests remaining. Before Hurricane Irma (Sept. 5), Jennifer's last survey showed that we had approximately 30 nests yet to hatch. Unfortunately, due to the amount of water that came up onto the beach, it is safe to say all remaining nests at the Cape Romano complex were lost. We expected to be pulling cage debris out of the trees and bushes but that was not the case at all: were only able to recover three cages, and all the others were completely gone and nowhere to be found.
August 18, 2017
After three exciting months of caging sea turtle nests on the Cape Romano complex, it looks like nesting season is coming to a close. Currently, we are at a total of 135 nests and 127 false crawls. Although loggerheads are most likely done laying eggs on our beaches, we still have hatchings to look forward to!
The hatching season has begun here on Cape Romano! After weeks of hard work finding and caging loggerhead sea turtle nests, we are finally starting to see baby hatchlings emerging from their nests and making their way to the Gulf of Mexico!
During turtle patrol on Friday July 8, we excavated our very first nest of the season at Blind Pass. This nest was right on time to hatch with an expected date of July 6th. Typically, loggerhead sea turtle eggs will incubate from 55-80 days from the date the eggs were laid. While digging and counting egg shells left in the nest, we came across two live hatchlings that were struggling to emerge.
June 28, 2017
Last week, Taylor and I left the Goodland field station earlier than usual in hopes of avoiding the summer heat. Little did we know, we were about to encounter more than just sea turtle tracks. As we approach Cape Romano, we hear a splash right by the shore.
June 19, 2017
Because it is summer, manatees are a less commonly-seen species of marine animal on the water during turtle patrol. But when we do get a glimpse of them, it’s definitely a treat. With their massive round bodies, adorable faces and peaceful demeanor, its hard not to love these not-so-little guys.
June 12, 2017
This year, the Cape Romano Complex was hit with two early-season storms. The first on May 24 - 25, and the second from June 4 - 7. After these storms, Taylor and I were excited to finally see the sun shining again last week! In addition to all of the rain we received, both storms brought along strong winds and very high tides, which reached the sand dunes and washed over nests on many of our beaches. With these winds and choppier waters, many of our beaches were inaccessible or difficult to get to by boat, making our jobs a little more challenging.
May 24, 2017
During my first month at Rookery Bay Research Reserve, I had the opportunity to assist Dr. Jeff Schmid, a visiting scientist from the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, with his in-water research on the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii). After we geared up our boat, we drove off to the Ten Thousand Islands complex, where many of these endangered turtles are found.
Once we spotted a ridley coming up for a breath, we held on tight as we sped on over and released a tangle net to catch the turtle. Little did I know, this wouldn’t be so easy! Lunchtime hit, and all the turtles we previously tried to catch had escaped. We managed to see a variety of wildlife during this time, like dolphins and manatees, and came across crab species such as the Gulf calico crab (Hepatus epheliticus), one of the crustaceans that these turtles love to eat.