First sea turtle nest of season recorded on Fort Myers Beach
Turtle Time recorded its first sea turtle nest of the season on Fort Myers Beach, off Connecticut St. Friday morning, according to Turtle Time founder Eve Haverfield. There have also been 10 nests found on Bonita Beach since the start of the nesting season.
The location of the nest on Fort Myers Beach occurred six days after the official start of the sea turtle nesting season in town. While Fort Myers Beach outpaced Bonita Beach last year with 132 turtle nests in a rarity during a record-setting season, the town is off to a slower start this year.
Haverfield said the effects of a resurgent red tide have been “certainly noticeable” with two rare and endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles washing ashore on Bonita Beach over a two-day period over the weekend along with dead fish.
The Kemp’s ridley sea turtles are considered the world’s most endangered species of sea turtles. While they do not typically nest in this area, they have nested on occasion in Sanibel.
Haverfield said the Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that were found dead in Bonita Beach this past weekend had “seemingly nothing wrong” to indicate how they died, which could be a sign of red tide. Along with the sea turtles and dead fish were a bonnethead shark, she said.
Haverfield said there has been “much improvement” in the way of compliance with the lighting restrictions for turtle nesting season since the start of the season May 1. “It’s getting better,” she said.
Beginning at 9 p.m. through Oct. 31, outdoor lighting is restricted in the Town of Fort Myers Beach except for shielded amber lights pointing downwards in order to avoid the disorientation of sea turtles and hatchlings. All windows should be covered in drapes and curtains and necessary lighting indoors should be turned off. The Town of Fort Myers Beach recommends the use of blackout curtains and moving interior lights away from windows.