We are at the point in the season where the miles walked have made our legs strong and our patience immense! We did have a surge in nesting a couple of weeks ago, but now nesting has slowed and we are transitioning into more hatchling protection work. Nesting will continue to taper off now through June and hatching will begin to pick up. Leatherback nests take 60 days (give or take a day depending on the year) to incubate so we should expect to see hatchlings popping up in at the same rate as the nests that were laid in April and May.
Before we get into the details of hatchlings though, here’s our rundown on the turtles that came to nest since our last update, and the new turtles that have been named! A GIANT thank you to all our supporters – we have had every single nesting turtle adopted and named! This has been a huge support to our volunteer research assistants, who are able to use the turtle donations to buy nutritious food to keep them going through those long nights!
New, returning and named turtles this week – We had 19 turtle activities, not all of those resulted in a nest. Two unknown turtles left us just a track and didn’t nest – we also didn’t catch them in the act – they were quick!
YaYa was back for her fourth nest, as was Edith; we also saw Amy-Lee, nearly our smallest turtle for her fourth nest.
Jeanette (SPP414), who came for her second nest, was adopted and named by Tiffany Farrell for her grandmother. Thanks Tiffany!
MaryLisa and Rose, are our star nesters for the season, and they both returned for their sixth nests at Sandy Point! MaryLisa has been nesting since 2008 and Rose since 2007.
SPP424, adopted and named Catherine Rose by Amy Adkins, is a neophyte this year and nested on 24 May. We hope to see her again before the season ends. Thanks Amy!
Nathalie was back on 26 May for her fourth nest of the year on 26 May as well. Jumbie, who hadn’t been seen since 11 May, arrived at 4:19 am and stayed through sunrise.
Another new turtle on 26 May was SPP409. She’s now named Gertie, and was adopted by Sandi Schultz, who is planning to write a children’s book about leatherback turtles after her visit to St. Croix. Thank you Sandi!
Early in the morning on 27 May, we had a neophyte turtle, SPP411, who was quickly adopted and given the name Dana Rae (after one of our team members) by Kyle Woudstra. Thanks Kyle!
Later that same day, but in the evening, another neophyte showed up – and became our smallest turtle of the year at 141.4 cm (beating Isabella by 0.1 cm!). This one is SPP422, and will be known as Michelle. She was adopted by our star volunteer Donna Boles! Thank you Donna!
And, our last neophyte turtle of this past two weeks, SPP420, who was also nearly a dawn turtle, was adopted and named by Wes and Emily Hogarth. She’s now going to be known as Miss Maple! Thank you so much Wes and Emily!
Finally, two other turtles previously named came to visit. Dorothy, named by Gail Joice, came for her third nest, and although she didn’t nest, Laurel paid us another visit on 31 May. Perhaps she’ll be back for her nest in the next day or two.
OH! And one more thing – we can now reveal the names of a couple of our turtles as the people they were named for have had their birthdays and received their certificates! Congratulations to Izzi Scarfo, who has our turtle Isabella (SPP413) named after her – Thanks so much to Angela Stoops 🙂
And Joe and Paula Quintiliani named Sarah (AAV640) after their granddaughter Sarah. Thanks Joe and Paula and Happy Birthday Sarah! (it’s today!)
Our team did a beach and reef cleanup today at Cottages, and picked up trash that would have made it into the ocean. They also removed monofilament that was stuck on the nearshore reef, saving our little grazing green and hawskbill turtles from becoming entangled! It’s a busy life at Turtle Camp!