June 2019 Nesting News

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Argostoli Field Station

2019-06-14 Argostoli green rehab turtle Duke

After a later start this year, we are very excited to share news of our first nest of the season in the Argostoli area! On 8th June, our team surveying beaches close to the airport came across the first nest laid on Megali Ammos beach. Since then, we have had emergences and activity on several of our other beaches and our nest count is now up to 4, with 2 nests on Avithos beach and another on Ammes. Unfortunately, due to suboptimal placement on the beaches i.e. proximity to the sea or sunbeds, 3 of these nests required relocations to more protected areas or onto different beaches where the eggs can incubate more safely.

2019-06-14 Argostoli nest top egg depth measurement

Currently, we are still monitoring our injured turtle Quinn in a saltwater rehabilitation tank where we can observe how much they are eating and their general daily behaviour. Since our last update, we sadly also took in a female turtle named Penelope who had ingested a fishing line. Both Quinn and Penelope have undergone X-rays and whilst Quinn’s presented no new complications, we found that Penelope actually has 2 internal hooks, 1 of which has migrated further than we had hoped. As a result, Penelope has been taken to the rescue centre in Athens where she will receive surgery to remove these hooks and hopefully be released safely shortly after.

In the Argostoli harbour recently, a small juvenile green turtle was spotted. We don’t usually tend to see turtles so young in the harbour so this was very interesting and also exciting for those of us who hadn’t yet had the pleasure of seeing a green up close. After its initial sighting, this turtle was spotted on another occasion and watched by a member of our team who noticed it hadn’t moved around much at all for many hours throughout the day. We brought the turtle back to a rehabilitation tank where we could observe its behaviour and seek advice from the vet we work closely with. Great news - We are happy with its progress and are looking to release within the next few days!

2019-06-14 Argostoli meal out

It is nearing the time for our first group of volunteers to leave us and they have certainly been busy during their time on the project. To wrap things up, we are looking forward to a group meal out at a local restaurant on Friday evening!

We are excited to see what the next few weeks have in store for us and hope to continue finding lots of nests very soon on our morning beach surveys!

Lixouri Field Station

This week saw 5 new nests recorded in the Lixouri area. With one nest on Kounoupetra, two located on the Cape and two on Megas Lakkos, we now have 7 nests! Amidst these nests, we have seen a surge of non-attempt emergences and abandoned egg chambers which suggests that this rush of nests is set to continue. We are particularly excited to be seeing emergences on smaller, less touristic beaches such as Agios Ioannis. In previous nesting seasons, turtles have ignored these areas in favour of busier beaches such as Lepeda or Megas Lakkos. 

Nests on Loggos, Kounoupetra and Megas Lakkos have been successfully relocated this week. Moved to prevent inundation and improve the chances of hatchling success, these nests all boast large clutches of eggs. At 133, 140 and 150 eggs respectively, these  

Clutches were all well above the projected average.  

On 11th June Team Lixouri responded to reports of an injured turtle on Megas Lakkos. Upon arrival, it became clear that the turtle had died. Assessment of the turtle suggested that the cause of death had been drowning - potentially due to being caught in a fishing net. The adult male had no other obvious injuries. It is always sad to see such a fatality and this turtle serves as a reminder that human activity has the capacity to inflict great damage to Kefalonia's Loggerhead population. 

Night surveys have been incredibly busy this week. Three new turtles have been tagged, measured and recorded. We also saw the return of a turtle named Julia who was previously recorded nesting in 2018. On one particularly eventful night, the team saw three emergences and were able to witness the egg-laying process and mark out the egg chamber location to guide the morning survey shift. With many non-attempt emergences (where the female makes no significant effort to nest) occurring over the past few days, night surveys are set to be busy as females become increasingly determined to nest. 

Finally, on Wednesday 12th June we joined Team Argostoli for a tagging event in their harbour. With six turtles being brought out of the water, this provided a perfect opportunity for team Lixouri volunteers to hone their restraint technique for night surveys. 

 

 

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Tags: research, threats, sea turtle nest, rehabilitation