Thursday, February 26, 2009

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchlings...

Volunteers at Mon Repos Turtle Rookery process the empty nest of a loggerhead turtle. This nest hatched two evenings ago and the mother/daughter team count the number of hatched eggs ('leathery' shells) and the number of failed embryos. They also found nine live hatchlings at the bottom of the nest and they were reburied at a shallower level and expected to surface the following evening. I got to help replace them in the nest and cover with sand.

I'm holding a baby Loggerhead Turtle before we rebury her back in the nest. (She'll emerge in the evening and head for the surf. Unless, of course, she thinks I'm her mum... then she'll head straight for my van :-))

Remarkably strong and quick for their small size, after hatching, the baby turtles head for the water with amazing speed. Female Loggerheads dig their nests high up on the beach where the grasses grow. Depending on the tide, it can be a good distance to the water's edge. It is believed that during this sprint to the surf, the turtles 'record' the location of the beach by imprinting the 'magnetic coordinates' of this exact location. Thirty years later, survivors will return to this beach to breed. (Only one out of a 1,000 will survive to breeding age.)


Lisa said...

Oh I sooo wish I was there with you...but your photos (and underwater video) make us feel like we are there. Such vivid pictures, we're totally enjoying them.

The little turtles are so cute.

Looking forward to more. Love, hugs, and kisses from the Jurewitz clan!


Love, Lise

Martin said...

Amazing photography Jeff!! Wish I was there. Enjoy!! Pep

Marcy said...

Hi Jeff,
These photos are amazing! And thank you for the nature lesson---better than National Geographic. We also enjoyed your sailing pictures---can't wait for you to "show us the ropes" when you come back :)
Love, Marcy and Family

JPT said...

Wait, Marcy... who said I was coming back ?!? (OK, just kidding :-)) Australia is so large, I'm not sure three months will be enough time to see it all. On a travel visa, three months is the longest I can stay in the country per visit. I can leave for a day and come back for another three months, however. I'm thinking of visiting New Zealand as I'm so close and flights from Melbourne are inexpensive. We'll see... Thanks to everyone for the comments!