Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Devon and the Dinosaurs

On one of our ‘days off’, Natasha and I signed up to do Nest Check with Loraine as our ‘camp duty.’ Man were we glad we did that! Before we had even begun the survey on the beach, Loraine noticed an up track of a turtle in the vegetation fairly close to base and went to investigate. When she came back she said with excitement, “there’s a turtle up there!” So we all went to check it out and watched as she dug her egg chamber. As we were watching her we realized she was much smaller and had a more colourful and different shaped carapace. She was a hawksbill! Since she was at the right stage (beginning to dig her egg chamber) Loraine suggested we could mark the nest, count the eggs, and measure her. So of course we wanted to! I ran back to base and grabbed all the needed equipment. When I got back Natasha was counting the eggs already, so I switched out with her while she and Loraine marked the nest. It was such an amazing experience to watch her contract and pop out 3-4 eggs at a time. Because it was light out it gave us a great opportunity to get heaps of photos and even some videos. When we were done working her Loraine ran back to base to see if any of the others were awake, but only two people managed to see the turtle return to sea. Loraine said I was giggling the whole time! I think it was because it was such a wonderful, magical experience that we were lucky to witness in daylight, I just couldn’t quite believe it was happening. I would also look over at the other two and see the huge grins on their faces and hear the constant ‘click click click’ of the cameras. All in all, a great start to a Saturday!

-Devon FitzpatrickPhoto courtesy of Loraine Grant