Turtle Time reports record-breaking nesting season
With two months still left in the nesting season, more loggerhead turtles have laid eggs on Fort Myers Beach than at any time in the past 31 years since Turtle Time was formed.
On July 9, a record 113th nest was spotted on Fort Myers Beach, near the southern end in the Critical Wildlife Area. By July 14, the state-permitted monitoring organization for sea turtle activity had raised its count to 117 nests. Last year’s mark of 112 nests was the previous record.
“So far, so good,” said Turtle Time founder Eve Haverfield.
So far, eight of the nests have hatched, About one-third of those were negatively impacted by the heavy rains in June which washed out the nests, Haverfield said.
The organization’s volunteers will dig out the nests in the early morning hours if they don’t hatch after 70 days. On Thursday, the Turtle Time volunteers rescued six hatchlings from their nests who weren’t able to get out and released them at night. Four of them were near the Best Western Plus Beach Resort and the other was near Newton Park. The loggerhead sea turtles typically lay more than 100 eggs with some returning multiple times to their nests to lay eggs.
Overall, Haverfield said the season is still young. “We’re still in the early hatchling stage now,” she said. While Bonita Beach typically outpaces Fort Myers Beach in sea turtle nests, their nest numbers are much closer than usual this year. As of July 14, there were 117 nests counted on Fort Myers Beach and 127 nests on Bonita Beach.