On Wednesday, June 27, we set out for another day of turtle nest hunting with volunteers Jan and Ken Taylor. When we arrived, Jan informed us that the team members from the U.S. Geological Survey had departed after completing their turtle tracking duties over the past month here in Gulf Shores. Since the beginning of the turtle nesting season on May 1, USGS team members have been scouting the beaches during the early morning hours, flagging off any turtle nests that are located. With their departure, it is now completely up to volunteers to locate the nests during their walking shifts each morning. "This is when the fun really starts for us," said Jan. "Since the tracking team is gone, we now get to walk the beaches and be the first to discover the nests."
During the course of our walk, Jan received a text message stating that two crawls had been located along Laguna Key. After completing our designated section, we rode with the Taylors to the first crawl location.
Once we passed over the dunes, it became quite apparent that this was one adventurous turtle based upon the tracks left behind. The turtle left a large U shaped crawl beginning at the water and not changing directions until the dunes. "During the entire time we have been involved, we have never seen a crawl that reached this far back," said Jan. After some thorough observations of both crawl sites, they concluded that no nestings had occurred; what volunteers like to call a "fake crawl".
The current nests are still under observation, and we will keep you updated on the status of newly discovered nests as we receive information!