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Newsletter December 2012

The Hawksbill breeding season is going well since our first turtle visit way back in September last year. To date 289 nests recorded by the end of December.

Most of the nests this season are concentrated from the southern end of the island along the west coast and the north east. Very few turtles came up on the east coast due to the abundance of drift wood on the beach.

Our first ever turtle tagged in 1995 was back again this year. See her history

ISLAND SPECIES DATE TAGS BEACH TAGGED BY
Bird Hawksbill 27th Nov 1995 E1703, E1704 DE Jeanne Mortimer
Bird Hawksbill 29th Nov 1995 E1703, E1704 EF George Norah
Bird Hawksbill 26th Nov 1998 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 FG Serge Robert
Bird Hawksbill 25th Dec 1998 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 DE Marie-France Savy
Bird Hawksbill 9th Jan 1999 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 BC Marie-France Savy
Bird Hawksbill 16th Oct 2001 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 FG Steven Barbe
Bird Hawksbill 3rd Nov 2001 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 EF Cecile Marcel
Bird Hawksbill 19th Nov 2001 E1703, E1704 SEY2591, SEY2592 CD Steven Barbe
Bird Hawksbill 3rd Dec 2001 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 CD Serge Robert
Bird Hawksbill 1st Dec 2003 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 AB RM Vinda
Bird Hawksbill 25th Oct 2006 E1703, E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 CD Roby Bresson
Bird Hawksbill 18th Nov 2010 E1704, SEY2591, SEY2592 AB Roby Bresson
Bird Hawksbill 3rd Dec 2010 E1703, E1704, SEY2591 BC Roby Bresson

Another one tagged in 1997 also made her way back in November. She has been seen 19 times since she was first tagged.

The land crabs are the main predators to the nests and hatchlings. An alarming proportion of eggs and hatchlings are destroyed by them during the course of the season.

We can partly improve the situation by either culling the crabs or remove the eggs and incubate them in a different environment. The former would be a better solution.

Turtles lay all around the island where sand composition and temperature varies, resulting in proportional hatching of males or females turtles depending on the nest temperature. Relocating eggs in polystyrene boxes or in plastic buckets for incubation in a confined environment is a bit risky. You could end up with too many males or visa versa. Unless we are sure at what stage the sex is determined, then it should be no problem safeguarding the eggs in boxes. Dr Mortimer is visiting next week and this issue will be discussed.

The Green turtle breeding since July last year has been the best so far on Bird, with 108 nests and 9 new turtles. The average number of nest since the beginning of the project is around 45 to 50 per season.

BIRD NEWS
We are pleased to include the list of migrants and waders provided by John and Viv during their stay on Bird in November