Turtle-filled night, last night! Our team was busy nearly from the moment they reached the beach, first seeing Joasia for her second nest of the year, and then finding YYX054 (needs a name!) a very short while later. Both turtles laid good nests, didn’t need any new tags, and were on their way by 11 pm. Long wait for the third turtle of the night – just when it was nearly time to head home, our giant turtle Barnacle4, appeared at the edge of the surf. She tried to dig her egg chamber in the steep berm that has formed on the north side of our beach, but it kept collapsing in, and so after three attempts, Barnacle4 gave up and slipped back into the water just after dawn. She *should* be back tonight, but if there’s one thing about turtles, it’s that they are always unpredictable and never do what we expect them to! If Barnacle4 does return, it will be her third nest at Sandy Point this year. She is a champion nester, having deposited over 50 nests at the refuge since she started nesting here in 1999.
Since the last update, we’ve had two turtles adopted and named! SPP357 will now be known as YaYa (after one of our research assistants – thanks Scarfo family!) and SPP095 will now be Edith (thanks to the Korsun family!). Both YaYa and Edith laid their second nests of the season this past week.
Also making their second appearance of the year were Rose, Amy-Lee, MaryLisa and Jillene. It seems that our turtles have been running the gauntlet past some sharks as well, as two of our turtles came back for return nests later than expected (usually 10 day intervals between nests) and had some fresh cuts, scrapes and bites that are consistent with shark predation. We’ll be keeping a close eye on those wounds over the season.
We also had an awesome beach cleanup for the turtles last Friday morning, and really thank our volunteers for making the beach a safer place for the turtles to nest and for our survey team to walk on the south side. We removed debris, sticks, logs and other barriers to nesting along the shoreline.
Thank you to everyone who’s been keeping up with us on Facebook and Instagram, we are looking forward to the week ahead!