I can finally feel a touch of autumn in the air when I’m out on photo hikes. The rains have stopped, the humidity has fallen to breathable levels, and after this holiday weekend… I may get my beaches back.
The past two days, I’ve broken with routine and spent hours sitting in the sand. In the middle of the night, with only a red-lens pin light for illumination. Loggerhead sea turtle nests are at their hatching peak, and my daughter and I, along with several other watchers, have been nest sitting.
So far, there has been no activity in the nest our group has adopted, one of 17 identified along an eight-mile stretch of beach between Destin and Fort Walton Beach, FL. According to our senior watcher, the nests are ready to hatch between 55-65 days after the mother lays eggs. The nest we were watching was at days 61 and 62. I hope to go back again tonight.
The resort development along that stretch poses a danger to the newly hatched turtles because of the bright white lights. When turtles hatch, typically at night, they instinctively move toward the sea and the moon. The hotel lights mimic the moon’s glow and often the turtle turn away from the water. One nest hatched early and several babies ended up in a hotel pool. They, together with 125 of their nest mates, were rescued and released into the Gulf.
You can click on any image to see a larger photo, or the series as a slideshow.
(Photos shot with a Nikon D60, using an 18-55mm, 55-200mm, 20mm f/2.8 wide-angle, 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, and/or iPhone4)