1. Turtle tracks

We are in P. Pesquero beach where we found a loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) track made a night before. Mia is explaining more about  track identification as all species of marine turtles have different track patterns and they can serve as a tool for their identification.


It is important to establish which track is emerging and which one returning.  In loggerheads, the track has a 'comma' shape with asymmetrical diagonal marks and it is about 70-90 cm wide. Turtle track will lead to a nest if a crawl is complete.


If a nest is present there will be an evidence of a pit and a covering and sand is 'thrown' on the emerging track. In that case a GPS coordinate of a nest is taken and written in a notebook. The track is crossed by foot if seen in the night and S shape is drawn over the track if seen in the morning during  censo (morning patrol).

Image: http://www.scistp.org/nests/ethogram.php


The stages of nesting are as follow:

 

1. Emerging from the sea

2. Finding a location for a nest

3. Making a body pit

4. Digging a chamber

5. Depositing eggs

6. Covering eggs and nest

7. Camouflaging nest

8. Returning to the sea

 

Nesting can take anything between 1-2 or more hours depending on a turtle and conditions (f.e. a turtle can get disorientated by light pollution on the beach).