You can turn on your lights again, even if they’ll cast a shadow onto the beach, because the six-month turtle-nesting season is over.
Mote Marine Laboratory, which monitors beaches from Longboat Key to Venice, documented 57,790 hatchlings this season, including 20,938 on Longboat Key.
It may sound like a lot, but it’s actually lower than would be expected, given this year’s high nesting numbers, according to Mote Public Relations Coordinator Hayley Rutger.
This year was a record season for turtle nests, with 2,462 documented nests in Mote’s patrol area and 639 on Longboat Key, compared to 1,284 area nests and 275 Key nests in 2011.
But Tropical Storm Debby struck in late June, just as the first turtle nests were beginning to hatch, destroying approximately 950 nests.
Volunteers with Longboat Key Turtle Watch, which patrols the Manatee County side of Longboat Key under Mote’s permit, excavated several nests scheduled to hatch around the time that Debby struck. They discovered that most, if not all, turtles had drowned.
As a result, the group held public nest excavations later in the season than usual to avoid the unpleasant sight of drowned turtles.
Season continued through Oct. 31, although turtles typically stop nesting in late August or early September.
Nests continued to hatch into mid-October.
2012 Hatchling counts
LBK (Manatee County ): 7,712
LBK (Sarasota County): 13,226
Mote patrolled total: 57,790
Source: Mote Marine Laboratory
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18 Crunch Kidz Homelessness Zumbathon
18 An Island Affaire
6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
1 Floridafitfest and 5K Treasure Run
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Hat's off to Dee Pelton, volunteers
Dee Pelton held a luncheon that will be tough to top.
Youth sailors descend on City Island
Approximately 250 people hit the water Saturday, April 20 through Sunday, April 21, for Sailfest. The regatta, Sarasota Youth Sailing's biggest fundraiser of the year, included four classes of competition — Optimus, 420, Laser and Multi-hull — and a barbecue feast.
Book club sunsets for the season
The Sunset Beach Book Club, in its 10th year, ended this season with a luncheon and discussion of the book “Gone Girl,” by Gillian Flynn, April 18, at Lazy Lobster. Discussion moderator was Ricki Carroll. Together, the group read five books this season.