Holiday makers at Woodgate Beach were treated to a pre-Christmas treat when a loggerhead turtle laid her eggs within a hatchling's scamper of the Woodgate General Store.
Woodgate retiree Lesley Christensen said the female loggerhead had emerged from the surf shortly after daybreak on December 20 and made her way up the beach to dig a nest and lay her eggs.
Lesley, who has been collecting data on turtle activity along Woodgate Beach for a couple of seasons, said the daylight activity was unusual.
“Pretty soon there was a crowd of about 30 people watching the activity and there certainly was a need for crowd control to let her remain relatively undisturbed,” she said.
“This was the fourth or fifth turtle arrival during the current season where eggs have actually been laid.
“There have been several occasions where I have seen turtles come out of the water and for some reason – either noise or light – they have turned around and gone back into the sea.”
Lesley said it was also a sad fact that turtles are regularly found dead along the Woodgate Beach coastline.
“Some have obvious injuries consistent with being struck by a boat or propeller while others don’t appear to have a mark on them which raises the possibility of ingested plastics as a cause.”
Protective barrier around nest
Lesley supplies her data to Department of Environment and Science officers at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre.
“I grew up in the Qunaba area right next to the Mon Repos turtle rookery in Bundaberg and my brother was significantly involved in those early years at Mon Repos,” she said.
“I have the time now and really enjoy the experience of watching these creatures and assisting in recording their movement at Woodgate Beach.”
Lesley had a barrier erected around the nesting site with a sign requesting people to leave the area undisturbed until the hatchlings can emerge.
“Unfortunately, curiosity gets the better of some people and they want to dig the eggs up to examine them,” she said.
“People are getting to know that I am collecting data on the turtles locally.
“Woodgate has an enormous stretch of beach and I don’t get the opportunity to get to the northern end very much, so I do rely on people to report any sightings.”
The hatchlings are expected to emerge towards the end of January.
Anyone who has information on turtle activity along Woodgate Beach can contact Lesley on 0409 603 726.
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