Association News

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling starting its journey on the Sunshine Coast – photo by Chad Buxton

2018 has been the biggest season of nesting turtles by far since Coolum & North shore Coast Care commenced turtle monitoring in 2007. This year, our volunteers monitored 51 nests extending from Alexandra Headlands (SCC) to Alexandria Bay (NSC). Ten unsuccessful nesting events (turnarounds) were also recorded. Turtle nesting numbers surpassed the previous record of 28 nests in the 2016/17 turtle season.

This season we had 21 active Coast Care volunteers, approximately 25-30 regular beach walkers and we logged over 1,100 volunteer hours for 2017/2018. Of the 51 nests recorded, 48 were Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) The other 3 nests were Green turtles (Chelonia mydas). The CaNSCC volunteer team also managed to tag one green turtle at Peregian Beach, which was nesting at dawn so hopefully we will see her back in future years.

Beach walking to identify turtle tracks/nests commenced on 04 November 2017, and concluded on 14 March 2018, with our last data collection dig on 13 May 2018.

The first marine turtle nest was laid on 13 November 2017 at North Marcus, and was followed by two “turnarounds” (unsuccessful laying efforts). The next successful turtle nesting was laid on 01 December 2017. The last nest laying observed occurred on 20 February 2018 at South Sunshine Beach, with those hatchlings finally emerging in early May. As everyone involved agrees…it was a long and busy season.

Many marine turtles chose to nest on the darker beaches of Marcus Beach, South Peregian-Coolum Environment Park and Yaroomba. Research shows that marine turtles locate their nesting site while out at sea when approaching the beach. The ambient glow over, and the direct light onto, some of our beaches due to building heights and density and associated infrastructure consistently deters nesting turtles. This behaviour can be clearly seen in the 2018 map of the Marcoola area. There  has never been a successful nesting in front of the ocean-front high rise buildings in Marcoola since we started monitoring.

During the 2017/2018 season there were three nests located between Maroochydore and Alexandra Headlands. The first of these three turtle nests was laid during the day. All three nests were relocated to darker beaches when it was considered safe to do so. Two of the nests were relocated to Yaroomba, north of beach access 89 which was reported to be the darkest beach within the Sunshine Coast LGA in a 2017 benchmark survey commissioned by Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay Councils. The Sunshine Coast Council Turtle Care team relocated the third nest to Buddina Beach. If left in-situ, the turtle hatchlings would have navigated towards the brightest horizon, which is landward at Maroochydore to Alexandra Headland.


This season, several nests were also identified to have fox activity around the site. Measures were undertaken to discourage the fox from predating the eggs and hatchlings. Methods including meshing and flagging proved successful. One nest required caging nightly due to a persistently inquisitive fox. The cage was removed at first light, which was labour intensive. The local residents at Peregian Beach were of great assistance by checking the nest at 11 pm and 2 am each night.

Meshing used to prevent predation of nests – photo by Tanya Matilla

This season’s nest emergences had success rate above 85%, which equates to over 5,450 hatchlings making it to the ocean. Thirty-six of the 51 nests were relocated due to king tides and big swell, erosion, and light issues. While every effort is made to not disturb or relocate nests unnecessarily, these relocations resulted in much greater success rates.

The Coolum and North Shore Coast Care turtle volunteers could not protect or collect the data on nests and strandings without the amazing extended team of dedicated beach walkers and community members.  We are proud to provide this significant contribution to the Sunshine Coast environment and grateful for the training and support we receive by the Queensland Turtle Research Conservation Project and the working relationships we maintain with Turtle Care.

Choose one or all by clicking on the Register Now and follow the prompts. Targeted at families with young children (geared to the 4 to 10 year olds), these  events are self discovery, fun and practical…a great Sunday morning for the whole family and a good way for grandparents to introduce their kids to our natural environment. A gold coin donation is requested. For more info contact Diane on 0406 605 700.

— REGISTER NOW —

May 27:  Taking Action for Turtles. 10 a.m. to 12 Noon. Power Memorial Park, Mudjimba Esplanade

June 10: Exploring Rockpools. 10 – 11 a.m. Point Arkwright, Yaroomba, Coolum Beach

July 29: Discovering Trees and Bug Hunt. 10 to 11:30 a.m. Come early to help plant trees. Cinnamon Ave, Coolum Beach.

2018 has been a great year for Birdwings with increased sightings all across Queensland, largely due to the efforts of amazing volunteers.

If you would like to read more about these amazing creatures and what has been going on, including a useful list of nectar plants for butterflies, you can check these out over on our Richmond Birdwing Butterfly page here.

The 2018 Autumn Edition Coolum & North Shore Coast Care ‘s quarterly newsletter is out now! There has been a whole lot going on with Turtles over the last few months with Coast Care having the busiest turtle season on record and the newsletter reflects as much. Additionally, there are great articles on the environment, a new recycling program, a fantastic photo series and more!

Thanks once again to all our amazing volunteers and contributors to the newsletter that give significant amounts of their time and effort on our dunes, beaches and natural areas continuing the protection of our local environment. If there are any features, feedback (positive and/or constructive), suggestions or things you would like to see in the next edition, please send your comments to info@coolumcoastcare.org.au.

And as always, we are always looking for contributions to our next Newsletter. The next edition will be our Winter Edition coming out around June-July. Submissions for content are due by the 15 June. If you have attended a Coast Care event or relevant environmental function, have a great picture or story of the Coast, or have musings or something else to share, send them in to us at info@coolumcoastcare.org.au and you might see your article in our next edition!

Enjoy!

 


We have started the monumental task of turning our turtle nesting data from a collection of dull numbers into more useful information.

Mapping our turtle nests is a vital part of this process. And this season has been a record year for us, with 46 nests – a huge increase over our previous years of monitoring. Our turtle team has certainly been kept busy – and those mum Loggerhead and Green turtles may sneak in a few more before the end of the season!

It is always interesting to see the nests on a map – to see which beaches are most popular and which are less so.

And the evidence is very clear – turtles prefer to nest on darker beaches!

Check out the gap in front of the highrises at Marcoola – and note that this is ALL of our nests in this area, for ALL of the 11 seasons that we have been monitoring, right up to today!

We have never had a nest in front of the highrises … not one.

It’s that time of year again for another edition of the quarterly CaNSCC newsletter. We wanted to get the newsletter out before the Christmas Holidays this year and so, some holiday magic and the sweat of a few Christmas elves later, we have managed to get this out to you for some timely festive reading and cheer!

We hope you find the latest edition of the Jetsam Newsletter interesting and full of stories about some of the Coast Care activities undertaken over the last few months. A sincere thanks to all our members who took the time to send in an article for the newsletter and for all our volunteers in general that contribute to the organisation in little and big ways. It is your efforts that make CaNSCC what it is. Now sit back and relax with your drink of choice and enjoy the latest edition of Jetsam.