After seeing the tell-tale signs of turtle tracks on the beach, TurtleCare volunteer citizen scientist Wayne was elated that he’d found the season’s first loggerhead nest on a southern Sunshine Coast beach this morning (Wednesday, November 24, 2021).
After spending more than an hour looking for the nest at North Bribie Island, he’d almost given up when, just as he was about to leave, he found the egg chamber.
His next step was to install special mesh over the nest to prevent predators getting access to the eggs.
Sunshine Coast Council’s TurtleCare Conservation Officer Kate Hofmeister said the TurtleCare volunteers were very excited the season had officially begun.
“Each morning, Wayne travels by boat to monitor the beaches of North Bribie Island to look for nesting turtle tracks,” Ms Hofmeister said.
“He’s one of more than 200 TurtleCare volunteers across the Sunshine Coast who will be expecting to see turtle tracks during their early morning local beach patrols any day now.
“Coolum and North Shore Coast Care members monitor the beaches north of the Maroochy River and discovered their first Green Turtle nest last week.
“These volunteers updated their skills at annual training last weekend so they can continue to perform the valuable citizen scientist role of protecting nests and collecting data on the endangered species.”
Mrs Hofmeister highlighted the importance of residents turning off any unnecessary external lighting at night.
“Sea turtles are not often found nesting in areas of high population density so we are very lucky to have these ancient mariners still coming to our shores on the Sunshine Coast each summer, especially when you consider sea turtles have been nesting here for thousands of years,” Mrs Hofmeister said.
“This year’s hatchlings have a one in 1000 chance of surviving to adulthood, and if they do, they will return to nest on Sunshine Coast beaches in the year 2051.
“Adult and hatchling turtles are highly sensitive to artificial light. A dark beach is the best way to allow the hatchlings to make their own way to the ocean.
“We have seen on a number of occasions the negative and disorienting impacts that lights can have on turtle nesting so it is important we all work together to protect these majestic creatures.
“Turtle nesting season is a time when the whole community can come together as a turtle-friendly community to celebrate and help protect these threatened species. Keep plastic waste out of waterways and beaches and cut the glow of lights after 8pm during nesting and hatchling season.”
To report turtle tracks, new nests and emerging hatchlings on the southern end of the coast, call Sunshine Coast Council’s Turtle Care hotline 0437 559 067 or for sightings from Mooloolaba north, call Coolum and North Shore Coast Care on 0403 370 157.
Find out more about our native turtles, the TurtleCare volunteer program and the tracking projects.