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Sunrise at Padre National Seashore




Crowds gather - the speaker on Kemp Ridley Sea Turtles



Last Wednesday for my outdoor and watery posting I mentioned that Bud and I were going to drive out on the island to the Padre Island National Seashore -National Park. It's a fabulous place. It's gated...as is all national parks...with an entrance gate with a park ranger. Here you can camp, go to a very pristine area of the sand barrier that covers most of the Texas Coast from South Padre Island near the Mexico border by Brownsville, Texas...all the way to Galveston Texas. Each year, they have sea turtle patrols. And each year, the government parks try and preserve all the Kemp Turtle eggs and hatch them in incubators after the nests have been found and gathered, taking them to the reserve area of the park's headquarters here on north Padre Island. You may ask why the reserve is doing this? To preserve the nearly extinct species...now from predators such as coyotes, birds, snakes and even those who take their vehicles and drive over the nests. Bud and I went last week, to the first release of the season. There ARE several scheduled releases during the nesting season running anywhere from late May through late August...each year.


Onlookers at one side of the release. Volunteer 'flaggers' to ward off seagull invasion

Rangers releasing the hatchlings. The warm sea awaits the new arrivals...


It all started many many years ago. Between Mexico and Texas of course, is the huge vast waterway...the Gulf of Mexico. Mexican hunters would come ashore on the Texas land, and they found that turtle eggs were very tasty. At one time, there were a reported 40,000 nests. By the hunters consuming the eggs found...the numbers dwindled down to 500 and that's when the National Parks stepped in to protect them from extinction. With the protected species, the hatchlings are released. At first, the experimenting didn't result into much growth and come back...then, they realized that the turtles, and nature,....they needed to be able to 'imprint'. Imprinting means that the turtles needed the 'smell, the surroundings, the instincts' of their own kind...which is being able to walk the shores...in the sand, the seaweed, the water....getting the 'feel' of the land....in order to return to their own habitat the following years to re-nest. Slowly, the Kemp Turtles are making a come back. Each year, the found nests are growing in numbers. The incubation nurseries are working....slowly but surely.




Last Monday morning at sunrise, they released 114 hatchlings!! Of course with predators out there in the vast ocean waters, only a very few will survive the enemy....to return to Padre Island. This year, in 2010, there are scheduled releases of many more nestlings.....beginning last week and more scheduled up until the end of July.




It was a phenomenal experience. I found myself cheering when they were released and the first one made the slow trek to the sea...only to be washed back up to the sand with the incoming wave....but the last one to make it----tears flowed. It was like sending my own child out in the cruel world....




Bye, bye...so long, auf wiedersehen .....adieu!! I wonder if my new found buddies will return in years to come when they're mature enough to be full of eggs...hatching on 'my island'?!!! Hope to see you back here someday my little one--------




By the way....I learned something that day last week. When the eggs are in the incubator, it's the temperature raised for the hatchlings that make them either male or female. The warmer the 'nest' the more females are born. Didn't know that before.

READ MORE ON KEMP RIDLEY TURTLES





POSTED: Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010
12:30 A.M.


51 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this, love you.

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  2. Wow that is interesting about the temps. I never knew that either. What a cool thing to go see.

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  3. Wow that is interesting post and images. Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. Good luck little turtles! They look so cute.

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  5. I would have love to be there to say Good bye to the hatchings.

    When I was young, I too was guilty of eating the eggs. In Sarawak, in the 60s, people just took the eggs and they gave my parents some.

    Now, the turtles are extinct.

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  6. Aaaw so cute babies. Hope they all grow up to be big turtles.

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  7. Phenomenal! A truly fascinating post Anni and a once in a lifetime experience. Thanks for sharing it.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    An English Girl Rambles

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  8. I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing. We've been to Padre Island, but never for so momentous an occasion. Now I have something new on my bucket list! Your pictures are fabulous.

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  9. That is SO awesome! I would love to see that!

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  10. this is fantastic. hope they are all fine. such cute creatures.

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Happy Wednesday.

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  11. Interesting, nice to know more about turtles. I used to have in our pond when we were little. Thanks for sharing, enjoy the rest of the week!

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  12. So cute little turtles! I'm glad you have that kind of nature conservation.

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  13. So cool! I love the pictures and I never knew about the temperature determining the sex either.

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  14. What a great story - and I think I would have been cheering and crying as well. What a shame that we have to go to such lengths to preserve a species from the stupidity of man. Thanks for sharing!

    The book I read was a novel by Nicholas Sparks, and it takes place in N. Carolina - nothing of this magnitude, but it was the first I'd ever heard of such an event.

    Stay cool!

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  15. This post is dear to my heart Annie. Before my daughter moved to San Antonio she used to work at the Loggerhead Marine Life Center over in Juno Beach and then for the Carribbean Conservation Corporation whose goal it is to help the endangered sea turtles. I was on the beach to see a leatherback nesting for the first time (April 1, 2005) and I got to name her. They put a tracking device on her so they could follow her migration...unfortunately it came off after about 18 months.

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  16. this is so uplifting to read. i've seen on nature shows how difficult it actually is for the little hatchlings to make it out of their eggs, dig their way out of the 'nest' and then make their way safely to the ocean, which makes this really wonderful to read. and who knew that about the sex of a turtle. i didn't. now i do...

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  17. What an experience! I believe many are attacked on their way to the sea, but the presence of on-lookers probably prevented that!

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  18. RE: my previous post. Just found out thru email that the Caribbean Conservation Corp has changed it's name to Sea Turtle Conservancy. Hopefully, this name will let people know what they are all about. Check them out ... wonderful info on sea turtles.

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  19. Thanks for the info, Annie! I love the photos of the little guys!

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  20. How exciting...I would have shed a tear also while rooting for those cute little babies to make it to the Ocean. Daytona Beach Fl has an area on the beach that protects the sea turtles every year..they even make the hotels in that area keep lights turned off so the turtles will not be confused and go towards the light instead of the ocean. That is a fascinating fact about how the heat of the egg determines the sex of the turtle. Thanks for sharing

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  21. Oh Anni- that's so sweet.
    Glad you got to see it and bring it to me :)

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  22. They are so tiny! What a fantastic experience, Anni! I wish the little ones much luck in their fight for survival.

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  23. How fascinating. The babies are just adorable. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. It's wonderful to see so many people attending and interested in this important program. Great photos and information! Thank you for making us aware.

    Happy Wednesday!
    =D

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  25. Speaking of warm females, I just came in from gathering cukes, zucchini, squash, watering the tomatoes and adding a little water to the pond...I had showered earlier but now I have water running down my face and chest...I do not like the heat, I do not like it Sam I am!
    Amazing post! I enlarged the photos to see the babies better. Cute! Hope you're staying cool, Anni...Honey Bear is in Houston this week.
    Mama Bear

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  26. What a great experience. I've read about this and would love to see it in person.

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  27. Amazing!

    http://fredamans.blogspot.com/2010/06/wordless_23.html

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  28. Thanks for visiting .... great post about the turtles!

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  29. Wow, so very cool, amazing shots.

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  30. how wonderfull! What an experience. Thanks for sharing.:)

    I see you redecorated. Love that header of yours. With a smile. :)

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  31. what a wonderful post, and so refreshing considering the current events in our ocean. Those turtles are so cute!

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  32. What an awesome experience! Thank you for sharing it with us. Please come by and visit when you can! Debbie

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  33. wow! what a fascinating post! I had no idea about most of this and I am so glad that I stopped by and learned something new today!

    The photos are great too!

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  34. I wish many of them survives...huhuhu! Great post Anni.

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  35. So neat, thanks for sharing this.

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  36. LOVE this post! I have long been a fan of sea turtles. I would love to see this someday. I bet I'd cry. =)

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  37. Anni, I hope this oil spill does not hurt them. It is such a tragedy! Great pics! Thanks for sharing. I brought home a painted turtle for my youngest son and we enjoyed it til we took it out to a park where there were loads of ducks and geese. I hope they got along.

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  38. Very interesting way to spend the day! They're so sweet. It's sad that so few make it...that's how nature works, I guess! Thanks for stopping by at my WW.

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  39. aaahhhh I love this!! and the baby turtles....

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday~~thanks for sharing:)))

    back for another peek!

    hugs,
    Kay Ellen

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  40. Anni! I love to watch them released to the ocean! I have never seen so many little ones. It must be fun!

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  41. Great series of photos. Some wonderful reflection.
    Have a nice day:-)

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  42. So, so, so small turtles and so, so, so many of them. They are nice.

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  43. What a lovely post! I enjoyed this so much. And thank you for sharing. I learn something also today and I am sharing it to my kids. Great photos as always, Anni.

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  44. What an interesting (wordless :)) post ! You certainly had a nice day in such a beautiful place !

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  45. What a beautiful post and instructive story with a happy ending. The thing about the temperature, I do not even have known.

    Thank you Anni - I wish you a wonderful weekend

    Hugs
    isabella

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  46. Anni, they are SO CUTE! What a great time and experience! Loved the photos!

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  47. what a wonderful experience... thanks for visiting my blog.

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  48. I have been lucky enough to see the turtles in FL - have some leathery eggs to rememeber them by! Lovely!

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  49. That must have been absolutely awesome to watch and like you, no doubt I would have shed a few tears to see the last of them get into the water, not knowing if they'll survive or not. That was my first thought, wondering how many will survive!! It's nice to see that so many people turned up to see this event, it means there's a lot of people out there who care what happens to the turtle population. xoxo

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  50. Wow! Amazing. I would have loved to have seen that!

    If we had retired to the beach like we had dreamed, I believe I would love to volunteer to help with the sea turtles.

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