Awakenings in the Gulf

loggerhead3_noaaDuring March, the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) begins a new season of mating, and come May nesting begins in earnest. It was previously believed that Loggerhead mother turtles nest on the same beaches but new evidence shows that many lay more than one nest of eggs, and they may travel from 17 to 250 miles between nests. See PLOS ONE online journal. This constitutes a much bigger range to protect than previously thought. Nesting sites also overlap with oil and gas operations and major fishing operations.

Pensacola’s beaches can account for as many as 30 nests in a good season. This is small compared to some areas of the Florida peninsula which counts thousands of nests each season. Yet these nests are part of an ancient annual migration and every nest is protected and tracked by volunteers with the National Park Service at Gulf Islands National Seashore.

See a YouTube video of a Loggerhead mother covering her eggs on Pensacola Beach just before sunrise while a Blue Heron looks on:

 

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