Hi! My name is Mr. Bergstein. Please travel with me to Costa Rica to study Sea Turtles!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finding a Day Hatch

One of the jobs that must be done every few days or so is reverse triangulation. This is necessary when the nests are lost over time. Either people or dogs remove the sticks marking the nest. When this happens, the every other day temperature readings can’t take place. It’s not a difficult job, but it does take time.

The day after a nest is created, measurements that mark that nest are written into a book. Basically, measurements are taken from two fixed points and the nest lies where those two measurements intersect. That spot is marked by three sticks poking out of the ground.

So, we (Chris, Kim, Susan and I) were marking the first arc and Chris yells out that she has found something. We rush up to her and she is digging in the sand. She found four dead hatchlings with the upper half of their five inch bodies poking out of the sand. Something had gone awry and they scrambled to the surface of the beach in the heat of the day. The sun completely dried them up and they never made it out of the nest alive.

Chris kept at it and found another layer of hatchlings below the first, but this time they were still alive. As soon as they saw daylight, they continued their crawl to the surface. Time was very important as the sun was still blazing. I ran to the ocean to soak my bandana and Chris continued to uncover wriggling hatchlings.

All too quickly, my bandana filled up and I removed my shirt to enclose more hatchlings in a wet, shady environment. That's right, I gave the shirt off my back for these little fellows. We were about a mile from the Goldring Marine Biology Station and we needed to get them back to safety. While there were a few more dead hatchlings uncovered, we did save fifteen of them and released them that night under the cover of dark with nothing but the moon and crashing waves showing them the way. If you follow the link to my website, you'll see a longer version of this clip.



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