2012 - Outdoor Resorts, Melbourne Beach, Florida
Part D - Loggerhead Turtles - May 23

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When I took my daily walk on the beach yesterday, I was surprised to see all of the turtle nests. The nesting season officially started on May 1, but I havenít seen any nests until yesterday.

I decided to go out last night at 11 PM to search for turtles. I walked about 20 yards north on the beach and came across my first turtle, a medium size Loggerhead. She was already laying eggs. Because it was so close to the ORA beach, I hurried back to see if Mom wanted to come and watch. It was already around 11:15 and she was ready for bed and asked for a rain check.
All of the trailers of friends who wanted me to notify them when I see a nesting turtle were already dark. So I went back to the beach by myself.
To see the size of the turtle someone must be in the background. I need Hannah; she likes to crawl along side them as they return to the ocean.

After watching the first turtle bury it's nest and return to the ocean, I headed south and found another nesting turtle. It was about 50 yards south of the ORA beach.

There is a Volunteer Beach Patrol who ride 4 wheel ATV's up and down the beach all night long. They pass by about once every hour. They record where the nests are located and, if they have a chance, measure the size of the turtle while she is laying her eggs. If they show up while she is just starting to dig the nest, they may take the time to count the eggs as they drop into the nest.

Loggerhead nest number 1.
She has finshed laying her eggs and covered the hole with her rear flippers.
She is now pushing sand around with her front flippers to hide the nest.
She throws the sand all over including on her head and back.

She is almost ready to leave.

Heading back to the ocean.
On her left is the trail she made coming from the ocean.

Loggerhead nest number 2.
She made this nest in the tracks of the Beach Patrol.
She already layed her eggs and covered them.
She is throwing sand around with her front flippers.

Do I see a smile?

She is heading for the ocean.
This part of the beach has a drop off caused by high tide erosion.
The drop is about 2 feet high and a 45 degree angle.

I am sure it is a lot easier to come down then go up with a full load of eggs.

She has to rest every 10 feet or so.

Almost to the ocean.

She is at the edge. One last rest.
She should have waited for high tide!

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