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It's hatchling time!

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

In the cool Saturday night air just a little over a week ago, Bribie had its first clutch of loggerhead hatchlings from our Critically Endangered population emerge for the 2022/23 season.

Bribie's first hatchlings of the 2022/23 Turtle Season (Photos: Darren Jew)

Bribie Island Turtle Tracker (BITT) Jean Taplin discovered the perfect flipper prints made by 150 hatchlings heading to the sea on Sunday morning (19th February) at the nest site she's been monitoring for the last two months just south of the sand-pumping inlet.

Jean said:

I was so delighted to see such a successful nest – all the tracks fanning straight down to the sea... and over 150 eggs... that was amazing!

Then around sunrise on Saturday morning the 25th of February, in the National Park just north of the 4WD track entrance, BITTer Diane Oxenford spotted tell-tale tracks around a nest she'd been watching closely since the 13th of December. Diane investigated the nest and most of the 80-plus hatchlings had found their way out and down the beach during the night. Diane found a few stragglers needing a little help, and by then the beach was starting to get busy and rutted by the weekend 4WD traffic, so a few lucky folks got to assist the little guys across the beach in safety, under Diane's expert guidance. With over 30 confirmed nests on the length of the beach this season, we have a few more weeks of excitement to come!

Diane and Jean excavating the first nest of the season (Photo: Darren Jew)

Australia Day Nest Sitting

This season BIEPA have been active, raising community awareness of Bribie's nesting turtles, supporting the work of the BITTers and fostering connections with the Sunshine Coast Council's TurtleCare Program. Following the success of the Giant Turtle Community Event, on the Australia Day public holiday a group of dedicated BIEPA members and volunteers took to Bribie's Ocean Beach for the inaugural Australia Day Nest Sitting community outreach. From a nest near Rickman Pde in Woorim, north to Welsby Lagoon, nest sitters ensured National Park visitors were aware of the importance of Bribie's loggerhead rookery. It was a big day for our Nest Sitters, starting pre-dawn with a long trek by foot or bike up the beach and the exposure of the summer. We can't thank everyone enough for their amazing commitment to the turtles! The National Parks Rangers appreciated our efforts too, and provide witches hats to help mark the keep out zones. The Fauna Team will be looking to expand this program next season, using a variety of approaches to help inform beach users of the importance of caring for Bribie.

Australia Day Turtle Nest Sitting activities (Photos: Darren Jew)

Protecting Turtle Nests

A great collaboration between BIEPA, BITT, Sunshine Coast TurtleCare and Qld Parks and Wildlife Service rangers has seen the installation of two turtle nest protection cages over vulnerable nests. There's been a spike in nest predation particularly by goannas and we working to find the most effect strategies to reduce the loss of eggs, including cages and meshing. BIEPA arranged the loan and relocation of the two cages from Sunshine Coast Council's TurtleCare team and QPWS are assisting BITTs with transporting cages to the nests.

Protective measures are needed to reduce predation on eggs (Photos: Diane Oxenford)

The Bribie Island Turtle Trackers citizen science team are trained and authorised by the Department of Environment and Science to monitor turtle nests, collect important data requested by turtle researchers, contributing to a greater understanding Bribie's turtles.

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Unknown member
Mar 05, 2023

As usual, all events were well organised by our experts from BIEPA

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