August 16 Hatching Update: The last of the nesting turtles!

2015-08-16 Boxing

It's been a busy time for #TeamSkala this week. New team members Harriet and Katie joined to start their nine week internship, and were lucky to arrive in time to witness the last few hatchlings from SK1 make it to the sea successfully! We also conducted a nest relocation and moved 73 eggs successfully to a more suitable area of the beach. The teams on our nightly boxing surveys were kindly joined by tourists and locals, eager to learn more about turtle conservation as well as getting a sneak peak of hatchlings emerging from the nest. Their company and patience was greatly appreciated! During a boxing shift, we place a box over the centre of the nest protection when the nest is at risk of light pollution. Lights from beach bars and street lights cause the emerging hatchlings to become misoriented and crawl towards the back of the beach rather than to the sea. Boxing ensures the hatchlings are safely guided to the sea on a dark area of the beach. After the success of this hatching nest, unfortunately we witnessed a predation event during a morning survey in which 7 eggs had been dug out of a nest by a small mammal – most likely a ferret or a rat. However, we have now placed a protective screen over the top of the nest to prevent this from reoccurring. After the 7 day hatching period, we conducted a nest inventory on SK1 to investigate how many eggs hatched and find out what stage of development any unhatched eggs were at. The number of hatched eggs perfectly matched the number of hatchlings we’d seen emerge on our boxing shifts. The next day was Katie’s birthday and we celebrated in style by going on two different water sports at Skala beach. That evening then saw a hatching event on SK3 during our boxing shift meaning Katie shares her birthday with 42 little hatchlings!

2015-08-16 TeamSkala

Written by Harriet Shrimpton and Katie Waters

This last week has certainly been a busy and exciting week for volunteers on the Lixouri team! Volunteers have been up kept up late with hatchlings emerging on boxing shifts from all three nesting areas. We’ve seen 7 hatchlings from LP1, 32 hatchlings from LP2, 50 hatchlings from ML1 and 1 hatchling from VA1, all of these hatchlings have safely made it to sea and we are excited to see more hatchlings from these nests over the next week. 

On Wednesday the 5th, LP1 had reached it’s week anniversary since its first hatchlings emerged. This meant inventory time for LP1 as we hadn’t seen any new hatchlings emerge for a few days. An inventory entails excavating the nest to understand what goes on above and below the egg chamber. Along with releasing a further 7 live hatchlings, we also recorded the number of eggs present within the nest and whether there is fungus or bacteria present. We also do research on any unhatched eggs by opening them up and categorising them, this will eventually give us a better idea on what occurs during the incubation period and how to better implement conservation measures.

At the beginning of the week, 2 more nests were discovered on Megas Lakkos after volunteers discovered a few turtle tracks on both Lepeda and Megas Lakkos. Nesting season is nearly over and adult turtle tracks are becoming more infrequent as the days go on, so it was lovely to add ML17 and ML18 to our nest count.

We are looking forward to the possibility of more hatchlings over the next week so come back next week for more turtle-y awesome news.

Written by: Megan Soulsby

Written by Megan M. Soulsby, Catherine Waters, Harriet E. Shrimpton | .

Tags: Skala, hatchling, volunteer