It’s been an epic week here in St. Croix with so many turtles and so many things to update you on! Let’s see, the main lesson is that when you are out looking for turtles, they will show up where you least expect them 🙂 For example the other night, when we were out with the Caretta Nature Tours group and Jeanne Garner at the refuge patrolling for turtles, a leatherback snuck right in and nested on Cottages Beach (where we stay!). She was observed by Heather, with Winona State University – but not wanting to disturb the turtle – she watched from afar so we don’t know who the sneaky turtle was! Thanks this week to volunteers Ellie and Kenny Schatz, Donna Boles, Kelly Nault and Sharon Early for trekking the beaches with us and helping out wherever they could. It’s great to have you along!
So on to the turtles!
New turtles this week –
SPP413 – This little turtle nested on our South Beach and is our new record small turtle at 141.5 cm curved carapace length. She has been named but we are waiting for someone’s birthday to announce who she is! She’s a cute one!
SPP349 – Taipei – A neophyte this year, Taipei did not nest and spent only 10 minutes on the beach. We hope she’ll be back so we can get a better look at her!
AAV640 – Already has a name but like SPP413 is waiting for a June birthday to be revealed! This leatherback has been nesting since 2001, so she has produced lots of hatchlings over the years. AAV640 was seen on 8 May.
SPP414 – Jeanette – This turtle could not make up her mind – she first tried to nest on the West Beach, gave up and then the next night made her move to nest on the North Beach.
SPP319 – Arriving just before dawn this morning, this turtle nested right near Sandy Point so her eggs needed to be relocated as the Point is eroding rapidly (it usually does at this time of the year) and the beach won’t be there in two months when the eggs would hatch. This girl was first tagged here in 2015, on 17 May. She’ll need a name!
Returning turtles this week –
BB2 – nested for the second time on the refuge – on the South Beach this time. BB2, named by Susie Knoell and Cathy Evans for their dear friend Becky, is quite an interesting nester. She digs an egg chamber, lays eggs, covers up, then moves up the beach, digs another nest, sits over it for a little while (no eggs), covers it up and then moves on! She has done this twice so she is a bit confused! But she is still getting it done!
Milly came back to nest – she’s our oldest turtle – nesting since 1992 and named by the Huenefeld family.
Rose was back on 8 May for her fourth nest! Thanks Dave and Debbie for naming her!
VOS0050 – Dawn – Our elusive Vieques turtle showed up twice this week but did not nest either time. She likes to spend a lot of time body-pitting in the water and since eggs cannot be laid at the water’s edge, she gives up and goes back in!
Culebra came back for her second nest. Joasia and Laurel came back for their fourth and third nests, respectively.
Jumbie came back – she has not been seen in over a month, so she must have laid a nest or two elsewhere. We’ve been getting reports of turtle tracks on other beaches here in St. Croix.
SPP345 – Lucy McGillicuddy – nested for her second time at Sandy Point this year. She carried a special satellite tracking device, which was deployed with her for 10 days, and was retrieved on Saturday night.
MaryLisa – also carried a satellite tracker for 10 days, and came back to lay her fifth nest of the season. She’s our most often seen nesting female for this year!
Enid Fern – her fourth nest of the season was laid just a few hours ago! She’s a great nester, although it took her a few tries this time and two trips to the beach.
YaYa took a little break from us for the last two nesting rounds – she was probably elsewhere on St. Croix, but she came back Monday night for nest #3 with us.
Edith (named by the Korsun family) finally returned to see us! We had seen her twice early in the season and then not again until Monday in the wee hours! Edith has been nesting since 2000 so we suppose she knows what she is doing in laying nests on various beaches across the island.
Turtles named! Thank you to all of our supporters!
SPP413 – name to be revealed! Thanks Angela!
SPP349 – Taipei – Thanks Louisa Porter for your continual support and enthusiasm 🙂
VOS0050 – Dawn – So named because Caretta Nature Tours and Dawn (a volunteer) saw her at dawn and adopted her on the spot!
SPP414 – named Jeanette by Caretta group volunteer Tiffany Farrell, for her grandmother. Tiffany got to see Jeanette while she was out helping with patrols.
SPP345 – Lucy McGillicuddy – was named by Penelope Mabie for Barbara Keogh. Thanks ladies for your support!
AAV640 – name to be revealed! Thanks Joe 🙂
That is this week’s wrap-up. We said fond farewells to Caretta Nature Tours on Sunday – we had a lot of fun and laughs with you, and the team enjoyed meeting you! Thanks to everyone for reading, commenting and encouraging our team. We are having a great season 🙂