Our sea turtle nesting season has begun again on St. George Island. I have a two-mile stretch of beach that is my assignment to walk as a volunteer each morning at dawn, looking for tracks from the night before left by a nesting mother turtle. We mark these nests for protection during the incubation period (approx 60 days) and evaluate the nests after they hatch, keeping records each year of how many turtles nest and how many turtles hatch on St. George.
The first nest typically appears in the 2nd or 3rd week of May, so we are walking every other day right now, and will go to every day once the first nest is found.
The beach was lovely this morning, wide and empty. The humidity was so high that it felt like it was raining with the raindrops simply suspended in midair. You can see the haze down the beach in the first photo. The wind was whipping really good out of the south as well, as you can see from the surf in the second photo.
No turtle tracks this morning, but the beach was full of birds - sanderlings (I think), lots of gulls, and my second favorite, the ruddy turnstones with their little dark brown neck kerchiefs. They were busy flipping over seaweed and shells, looking for their breakfast in the surf and rack line.
(My favorite of all the birds are the black skimmers, but I don't think they are here yet - I haven't seen one, anyway.)
My hat is off to my sweet cousin Natalie from Colorado for the probably unknown gift of her worn running shoes - she does the Boston marathon, I mean, she is a serious runner. Her shoes made it to me via her mom and then my mom, and they are a little long, but just perfect for a beach walk. The walks are very hard on shoes - the sand and salt water eat soles and stitching pretty quickly, so I go through a few pair every year, usually starting with ones that already have some wear on them. Anyway, thank you, Natalie!!
Here's hoping that the oil slick stays well away and nature and the engineers have time to undo at least some of the worst of the damage we have caused. If it comes our way, we are prepared to do what we can to save and repair the damage on our shores, but we do very much hope not to have to do that....!