Time for turtle nest beach patrols

As lockdown lifts and the weather warms up, north coast residents may spot a different type of visitor to local beaches.

Turtle

Holly West from NSW TurtleWatch said over the next few weeks green and loggerhead sea turtles may be seen nesting on beaches from the far north coast right down towards the central coast.

"Typically, October marks the start of the nesting season so we are asking all beach goers to become 'citizen scientists' and help us locate potential nest sites and record basic data," said Ms West.

"Both these turtle species are threatened which is why all reports of nests or even turtle tracks on the sand are vital to helping us protect them during this critical breeding period.

"We estimate that only 1 out of 1000 turtle hatchlings will reach maturity so every single nest, every single egg and hatchling that we can protect will make an impact on the survival of these species.

"It's so important that people notify us of potential nesting sites so we can take accurate measurements and start protecting it from threats.

"The best time to look for sea turtle tracks is first thing in the morning as turtles usually come up to nest overnight," Ms West said.

Melissa Giese from the NSW Government's Saving our Species program said last year staff and volunteers reported 19 nesting activities that ended up producing more than 470 hatchlings.

"More and more marine turtles are recorded nesting and foraging in New South Wales, and beaches in northern NSW are considered critical as loggerhead and green turtles adapt to the impacts of climate change," Ms Giese said.

To make it easier to identify and report sightings, NSW TurtleWatch is running an online training session.

Participants will learn how to do a turtle nest beach patrol and how to interpret sea turtle tracks. The course is on Wednesday 20 October from 7-8pm. To register contact turtlewatchnsw@gmail.com

Turtle sightings should be reported to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service on 13000 PARKS or to NSW TurtleWatch on 0468 489 259.

NSW TurtleWatch has been developed by Australian Seabird Rescue with the support of the NSW Government's Saving our Species program.