Last weekend we attempted to complete #10 on our list of 13 in 13. After studying the information posted on the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch website, we drove to Fernandina Beach on Friday and checked out the nests around Main Beach Park. We decided on this part of the beach based on the number of nests, dates eggs were laid in the nests, and our ability to ride bikes on this stretch of the beach. Riding bikes enabled us to cover more than three miles of beach in our search for hatchlings.
Friday evening we surveyed the nests taking note of which ones were most likely to hatch, and then on Saturday before sunrise, we rode from south of Main Street Park to Fort Clinch in search of newly hatched sea turtles making their way to the ocean.
We found eggs shells. We spied turtle tracks. We did not see any hatchlings. We were too late.
Sea turtle hatchlings
We noted the location of nests likely to hatch in the next few weeks so we can make a return trip for another attempt.
While we failed to see hatching sea turtles, we enjoyed riding bikes on the beach.
We witnessed a gorgeous sunrise.
Best of all, we spent the day with Sarah.
And we have a excuse for another trip to the beach.
Ten years ago we participated in a turtle walk in Brevard County and watched a loggerhead turtle deposit more than 100 eggs in the nest she prepared. For over an hour we watched her drop the eggs, cover the nest, and then lumber back to the Atlantic where she finally managed to swim away from the curious onlookers.
One of my goals for this summer (and another of the items on the 13 in 13 list) is to witness sea turtles emerging from their nest. Thousands of nests have been built with tens of thousands eggs waiting to hatch. Since nesting began in early May and the average incubation period is 55 days, turtles are emerging along the coast of Florida.
While the Atlantic coast between Brevard and Broward counties contain the largest concentration of nests, we’re headed to Amelia Island for our first attempt this summer. The website for Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch details a nest summary which includes the date created, location, and excavation information. They’re hatching!
With a little luck we’ll witness the hatchlings emerge from their nests. I’ll keep you posted!