Leatherback Nesting Season Week 9 Update: Another Day Time Nester and Some Returners

Even though we are getting close to the end of monitoring, leatherbacks are still on a roll! Night crew encountered 11 turtles this week, 5 of the them were 1st encounters and the other 6 we have seen throughout the season. One of the encounters was also a day time nester! We had the lovely surprise of seeing Mac close by the Center during the day. She was also seen nesting in the day time in 2016.

Mac nesting Photo Credit: Kate O’Hara, Conservation Coordinator

Next up, we saw Katia with a carapace length of 148.4 cm (4.87 ft). Gisli was right after and was 152.3 cm long (4.99 ft). Gisli is special to our night tech, Kate Fraser, because it was the first leatherback she had ever seen back in 2017!

Gisli nesting Photo Credit: Derek Aoki

Later in the week we saw a neophyte, now named Kathryn. She is named after Kathryn O’Hara, one of the founders of the International Coastal Cleanup which is now the world’s largest organized beach cleanups and marine debris data recording. This Cleanup brings together more than 100 countries and highlights the impacts of marine debris on our oceans and coastal communities.

Night tech, Kate Fraser taking a width measurement of nesting leatherback, Kathryn. Photo Credit: Katie O’Hara, Conservation Coordinator

For the rest of the week, we only saw returners. Angie seen for the 3rd time, Andromeda seen for the 2nd time, Kitty seen for the 4th time, Bootes seen for the 2nd time, Katrina seen for the 3rd time, and Turio seen for the 2nd time! Only two more weeks left of night monitoring, continue to tune in to find out who we see next!

Disclaimer: All marine turtle images taken in Florida were obtained with the approval of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) under conditions not harmful to this or other turtles. Images were acquired while conducting authorized research activities pursuant to FWC MTP-19-205.