The first turtle nest of the season in the 35-mile stretch of beach from Longboat Key to Venice hatched this week on Longboat Key.
Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Patrol discovered the nest June 22, on the Sarasota County side of the Key.
Mote has documented 1,095 turtle nests through June 21. That’s a drop of nearly 20% from last year’s totals of 1,367 through the eighth week of nesting season, however, researchers generally look at trends from the past five, 10 or even 20 years.
So far this season, Mote researchers have documented 196 nesting turtles, including 91 that have never been recorded before on local beaches.
Nesting season continues through October. Rare Kemp’s ridley sea turtles normally nest during the day, while loggerhead and green turtles typically nest at night. Beachgoers should report any sea turtles nesting during the day to Mote’s Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program at 388-4331.
Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].