The weather has been very cool in Watamu and the tides just perfect for nesting turtles. It is the low season and the SE monsoon winds have deposited sea weed and all things trash on Watamu beach. Not to be deterred the nesting females have made 24 nests this quarter.
We promised to let you know about the leatherback nest and sadly and disappointingly for all, the 97 eggs were exhumed after the expected days for hatching and found unfertilised High spirits though as we hope she returned to her original nesting place to make more nests!
With 36 nests for 2014, 8 have hatched in this quarter. 14 nests have been exhumed for analysis, 3 of these nests have been exhumed and the eggs found unfertilised and the other 11 have hatched successfully.
The 843 hatchlings for this quarter added to last quarters total 1170 hatchlings so far this year. Our hatching success rate this quarter is 86.8%.
Unfortunately two nests have been poached, one just after the eggs were laid and another after relocation. We managed to salvage 11 eggs from the former and all the others from the latter nest.
We are conducting some exciting research in conjunction with our nesting programme. We are now able to place temperature data loggers in some nests. They are programmed to take temperatures after every 3 hours. Average daily temperatures will be used to determine the probable sex of hatchlings.
Beach light surveys and beach profiling studies are taking place on the beach and all to determine suitability and preference of the green sea turtle females coming to nest in Watamu.
Diani nests total 27 and the presence of nest monitors ensures nesting females are not disturbed, nests are located and marked, and relocations and exhumations are done well.
We are expecting lots of hatchings in the coming quarter so will look forward to updating you then!