TurtleCare volunteers of Buddina and North Bribie Island, who began surveying the beaches on November 1, were rewarded with exciting finds during their beach walks this morning (November 22).
The first two Loggerhead turtles to lay a nest, or clutch, of eggs arrived on Sunshine Coast shores overnight.
The region’s turtle nesting traditionally begins this month and continues through until February, according to Sunshine Coast Council TurtleCare Conservation Officer, Kate Hofmeister.
“We can expect to see many more nesting females arriving on our beaches over the next several weeks, with the peak in nesting occurring in the weeks over Christmas and New Year,” Ms Hofmeister said.
“Our incredible TurtleCare volunteers undertake daily surveys of every beach from North Bribie to Buddina and are responsible for our ongoing monitoring program for nesting activity.
“This team has undergone thorough and intensive professional training with the Queensland Government Turtle Project for how to identify and record species, nesting locations and frequency, protect nests from predation, and monitor the hatchling and emergence success of nests, so I encourage the public to have a chat with these dedicated volunteers in blue shirts when they come upon a turtle nest or track.
“These volunteers also helped in our recent satellite tracking research project in which we gained insight into the inter-nesting habitat use of local nesting turtles. That is the habitat the turtles use offshore from Sunshine Coast beaches between laying clutches of eggs on our beaches.
“Loggerheads from eastern Australia are regularly recorded migrating between 1000 and 2600 kilometres between their foraging and nesting grounds.
“The turtles coming to our local beaches have travelled thousands of kilometres, possibly from as far away as New Caledonia or New Guinea. ‘Gandugan’ a nesting female from the 2017/18 nesting season lives in the Swains, in the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
“So let’s welcome these ancient mariners and look out for them and their nests this summer season.”
The start of the turtle nesting season is a good reminder to look after Sunshine Coast beaches, waterways and parks and keep them clean from litter and marine debris.
Council regularly hosts clean-up activities, but residents and visitors alike are reminded to be mindful when disposing of rubbish or recycling.
For more information about our native turtles, the TurtleCare volunteer program and the tracking project, please visit council’s website, www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/turtlecare.