This week has brought a lot of excitement and activity from both the volunteers and turtles in the Argostoli camp. Thursday brought extremely high tides on Ai Chelis, a favourite nesting beach in the Avithos area, with water reaching the two protected nests. These high tides created a problem for the nests already on the beach, as such high amounts of water washing over the nests would disrupt gas exchange between the eggs and the sand, which is vital for their development. Thankfully, we were informed of these extremely high tides by the owner of the beach bar, and this allowed us to arrive on the beach in force with a large group of volunteers, and conduct two successful emergency relocations. This was a challenge for all involved, but everybody rose to the challenge magnificently. This is a perfect example of the importance of our close relationships with the local community, as without this, we would not have been aware of the need for these relocations.
Relocations continue to be the theme of this week, as Friday brought two more. Storm tides were still creating problems in the Avithos area, and due to this, the nest had to be relocated because of its proximity to sea. Another relocation was carried out on Megali Ammos, another favourite nesting beach on the perimeter of the airport. This was due to the eggs being placed too shallow in the sand. This can create problems for the eggs as the nest would not have been properly insulated from the heat of the day and the cold nights, leading to the eggs not developing properly. Once again, our volunteers conducted themselves fantastically, with both nests being moved in a professional and timely manner, with another two more nests in safe locations and much higher likelihood for high hatching success.
Our problems with the weather this week, have highlighted the need for beach profile shifts. These have allowed us to see the power the weather can have on beaches, with Ammes, another airport nesting beach, having lost a whole 7m off the width of the beach, and the development of a meter high cliff at the tide line. These shifts allow us to monitor changes in the beach, and how these changes can affect nesting female turtles.
All in all this has been a very eventful week, and we are always looking forward to what the next week will bring our turtles and volunteers.
Written by Ben Walker & Sam White
Things have really started to pick up this week in Lixouri. New nests on Megas Lakkos has brought our overall nest total to 7, night shifts are in full swing, and we have spent our spare time enjoying the beautiful local beaches, keeping an eye on the nests as we do so!
We had our first relocation this week due to inundation. While relocation isn’t something we take lightly, it does provide us with useful information such as the H value of the nest (depth of the egg chamber) and the total number of eggs in the nest. In this particular clutch, there were 136 eggs, surpassing the Kefalonia average of 88 by 48 eggs!
Our night survey teams have also managed to tag and microchip another 2 turtles, meaning we have now tagged 3 female turtles on Megas Lakkos, a number that will increase as we get into the full swing of nesting season!
On Tuesday (23 June) some of the volunteers visited Argostoli harbour to see the resident Loggerheads which enabled them to observe interactions and feeding activity, as well as giving them the opportunity to see some of the male turtles which we don’t see here in Lixouri. We also visited the lagoon and of course, had the traditional souvlaki for lunch before heading back to the ferry!
Written by Sophie Prater