The first reported loggerhead turtle nest of the 2011 season was found on Jekyll Island this week! We haven’t seen any activity on Little St Simons Island’s beaches yet but we are so excited for the beginning of turtle season. To celebrate, we are launching a contest and an opportunity for our facebook friends to win a free night’s stay on the island! To participate, click on the Contest tab on our facebook page, and then enter a prediction for the total number of sea turtle nests that we will find during this year’s nesting season.
Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common nesters on Georgia beaches, but occasionally we’ll also see Green sea turtles and Leatherbacks. Nesting season typically runs from May thru August, with the peak activity between mid June thru mid July. A female sea turtle comes ashore to nest an average of 2-3 times a season, although some may produce more nests. During the night, the turtle pulls herself from the ocean, up the beach to the primary dunes, digs a cavity with her back flippers and then deposits her eggs. She lays an average of 120 eggs, which are about the same size and shape as a ping pong ball but with a soft leathery shell. She buries the eggs, tries to disguise the area by flinging sand, and then returns to the ocean. After approximately sixty days of incubation the eggs hatch, and, during the night, the hatchlings emerge and rush to the ocean where they’ll spend the rest of their lives. Males are rarely seen out of the water, and females only come ashore to nest. We patrol and monitor our beaches daily, and help protect the nests by laying a protective screen over them to deter predators like raccoons and ghost crabs.
On Little St Simons Island, the total number of nests varies considerably year-by-year. The chart below shows our nesting trends since 2004, and may help you make a more accurate prediction! We’ll keep you updated as the season progresses. Additional information can also be found on the website www.seaturtle.org. This contest, which just launched this morning, will run until 5 pm EST on June 3rd, and we’ll announce a winner when the season concludes in September. Good luck and please let your friends and family know about this fun opportunity to celebrate our nesting sea turtles!
|Year||Number of Nests|