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Morning Monitoring

 

Between late October and March. we conduct turtle track monitoring every morning at 6am at Cemetery Beach, and every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Pretty Pool Beach. We walk along the previous nights high tide line to look for fresh emerging and returning turtle tracks.

When we come across a track we determine which is the "up" and "down" track, confirm that it is a Flatback Turtle track (as Green Turtles are found to feed on the reef) and then follow the return track to her last activity.

We need to use our investigative skills to determine whether the turtle has successfully nested or  whether she has "false crawled'.  If she is unhappy with her choice of location, she may move and try somewhere else - sometimes leaving loops and criss-crosses all over the beach! As the season progresses, determining a successful nest can be increasingly tricky as there are hundreds of nests on the beach.

We fill in our data sheet and cross the track off with a vertical line so the following day we know not to treat it as a fresh track.

Despite the early start it can get really hot! And boy do the flies get annoying! But its a great way to start the day and there are often some cool things to see on the beach!

We take gloves and plastic bags to the beach with us so we can rid the beach of all the nasty rubbish which has either washed up on shore or has been left on the beach by the public. Our volunteers are great at helping out with this, as you can see in the picture!

We often find turtle egg shells on the beach. Sometimes they have been dug up by predators, such as foxes, goannas, dogs or cats. Sometimes they are fresh, still soft and bright white, suggesting that the turtle may have been disturbed and had released them due to distress.

A great thing about the morning monitor is the opportunity to find hatchlings emerging from their nests. When walking at the edge of the vegetation it is important to watch your step as there are possibly hatchlings just below the surface, waiting to make their mad dash down to the water!