Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tracks Spotted!

Last week I conducted a long track check with Neil, Andy and Sarah. We set off before first light and found lots of jaguar prints in the shine of our torch lights. At some points we found more than one set on the beach. The long track check involves walking from base at mile 15 5/8 to mile 13, but we conduct the survey from miles 15 to 13. This is done every other day.

We arrived at mile 15 and started the survey. Part of the way down, at 13 7/8, we noticed a large track from the high tide line up to the vegetation. It was a turtle track! We were all very excited as this was the first track we had seen this phase (see photo below).

I looked at the tracks and said that it looked like a hawksbill track as the flipper marks were asymmetrical. It appeared the turtle had come up to the vegetation, looked around and then selected a site to dig just to the right. It had then dug its body pit but then changed its mind and returned to the sea. So it appeared no nest had been laid. There were also jag prints leading up the track, which appeaAred to show the jag investigating but then moving off in a northerly direction. There was no evidence of the turtle being predated due to the return track and no drag marks into the vegetation We took lots of pictures to show everyone back at base and walked the 4 ½ miles back to base with a spring in our step!

Melissa Errington