June 21, 2018
We had a spontaneous outreach session recently while out on Turtle Patrol. The turtle team found a new nest at Dickman's Point on Kice Island, right around the corner from a survival skills workshop for children being put on by the Marco Island Police Dept and Marco Fire Dept. These kids had the unique opportunity to see a loggerhead crawl, as well as the turtle eggs themselves! We fielded questions for about 10 minutes and helped educate them not only on sea turtles, but also estuaries, endangered species and beach stewardship as well. It was wonderful to see the interest being sparked in this upcoming generation - and I believe there were more than a few officers who were equally excited (some maybe even more so than the kids, lol).
If you see us our on the beach this summer, don't hesitate to come ask us questions about sea turtles, or the environment in general. We love nature and are always happy to share our passion with others!
Tyler and Anthony
Sadly, last week we experienced our first stranding of the season. While we were patrolling Blind Pass, a boater alerted us that he had seen a dead turtle in the vicinity. Sure enough, in the channel between Blind Pass and Dickman’s Point we spotted the dead loggerhead sea turtle, floating in the water. Everyone on the boat was extremely sad upon locating it. We were told to tie it off to a mangrove tunnel and fill out a stranding form. Because we did not have the appropriate equipment to complete the report, and due to afternoon thunderstorms, we had to return to the turtle the next day to do so.
For my first week interning at Rookery Bay Research Reserve on Sea turtle patrol, we had quite the week! On my very first day out, May 22, a camera crew filming a documentary about the Reserve joined us to get footage and pictures of us in action. Luckily for all of us, we had three nests (one on Cape Romano and two on Morgan Beach) and two false crawls. My dad, who drove down with me from Massachusetts, signed on as a volunteer so he could join us and help locate the eggs on one of the nests!
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.