Sunday, August 31, 2008

Nesting patterns

* a critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle

The nesting patterns are intriguing to say the least. We are slowly working them out and we know it is dependent on the tides. The tides here are odd, so it does get complicated. In general there is a low tide in the morning followed by a long build up to a high tide in the afternoon, generally over 3 metres. This is then followed by a quick drop to a ¾ tide over a couple of hours and then a build up over 4 hours to an even higher high tide!

The first few nights we had nesting in the hundreds, indeed on Friday night we saw 310 turtles nest. However last night, less than 20 turtles nested! I have a feeling that the unfavourable tides last night resulted in many turtles coming in the previous night, which is why we saw such variation.

A highlight of last night was seeing three hawksbill sea turtles nesting! Hawksbills are Critically Endangered because of over harvesting. They are targeted for their shells or ‘becko’ which is used for ‘tortoise shell’ products (hairclips, sunglasses, etc). It will be interesting to see if more nest whilst we are here.

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