EIGHT OLIVE RIDLEY NESTS AND A VAQUITA PORPOISE

Discussion in 'Fishing' started by Jungle Jim, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Jungle Jim

    Jungle Jim Well-Known Member

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    Saturday 2 December 2017 we discovered EIGHT Olive Ridley Sea Turtle nests and a dead Vaquita Porpoise!

    We hit the beach in our red Jeep TJ Wrangler at the south end of Salinas Point at high tide and motored north slowly following the receding water. About midway on the strand we spotted a bone picked carcass about four and a half feet long with the skull still attached. At first I thought it was a juvenile California Sea Lion but oddly it had no front or rear flippers. The head was a strange bulbous shape and had no canine teeth. I pulled around to take a closer look and saw that it was in fact some sort of dolphin missing most of the meat and front flippers. The head was short, missing the lower jaw but had a full set of teeth in the skull all small cone shaped teeth and spaced a bit between them making it kinda looking like a mini Killer Whale. The sonar emitting melon had been chewed off and all in all the skull was about the size and shape if a large coconut shell. There was still some bones and tendons left on the tail flukes. This find was about midway in the huge pre Colombian shell middens. I dragged the carcass over the sea facing dunes and down into the first deep shell covered swale and burried it in the sand and marked it on my GPS for recovery next year to add to my death bone collection next year after the mice, rats, roaches and ants clean it up a bit more.

    At the very tip of the sand strand at Salinas Point we stopped for a lunch of Satisfied Frog fried chicken along with a styrofoam caja para llevar full of leftover french fries for the gulls and Ravens. As we were tossing the greasy taters to the beggars I noticed a large depression in the sand right next to our right front tire with Coyote tracks all around it. Upon a closer inspection I saw what appeared to be eggshells kinda like the soft ones from some snakes. I told my wife these are TURTLE EGG SHELLS! That nest was barely six feet from the previous high tide line.

    We counted close to one hundred shells that had been split open in a kinda corkscrew fashion. I dug the sand out of the twenty inch deep hole looking for an unfertilized left over egg but there were none. It looked like the Coyotes had found the nest after the little Ridleys had dug themselves out and hit the surf as none of the egg shells were chewed up. We picked up a dozen or so egg shells, put them in a zip lock bag and started back south. Less than fifty feet from our first find I spotted another depression in the sand less that half the diameter of our first find. Again there were egg shells scattered around it with most in the direction of the water. That one had around fifty egg shells on the sand and down to about eighteen inches deep. Twenty feet later we found another one. Twenty feet later we found another one. All in all we found seven nests in that area. I dug up all of them looking for leftover eggs but there were none. I estimate that most of not all of those little turtles made it to the sea. Further down the beach at the shell middens I spotted one more nest right up against the upper most sand bank at least two hundred feet from the sea water. It was damp and had split eggshells right to the bottom.

    We chatted with the guard at the panga camp and he told me that there were no dogs in their camp and he had seen a lot of Coyotes on the beach but believed they found the nests after the baby turtles had hatched and made it to the water.

    Do a little math with this.. if half of those little turtles made it, it would add up to well over four hundred new Ridleys making it to the Sea of Cortez!

    Wow, some good news for a change!

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  2. Jungle Jim

    Jungle Jim Well-Known Member

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    Some more..............

    I believe that those little turtles had probably emerged last week as the egg shells were still soft and rubbery. There were no little turtle tracks but the super high tide of that day certainly would have washed them away. Further south on the beach we found a recent dead female Ridley that had been killed by Coyotes with the flesh from the head, neck and shoulders ripped off. The innards of the shell had been picked over by the Zopilotes but I could still see dozens of eggs inside the carcass.

    I have NEVER seen a turtle nest on the beach any where on the coast of Sonora in my entire life!

    JJ
     
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  3. Terry C

    Terry C Well-Known Member

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    We had 9 nests at Playa Encanto this year. Anywhere from 40 to 90 little ones from at least 6 of the nest made it top the ocean
     
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  4. sheep3mom

    sheep3mom Well-Known Member

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    Sadly I think the statistics are closer to one in one hundred hatchlings making it to adulthood. Lots of dangers out there for hatchlings if they make it off the beach!!!!
     
  5. Jungle Jim

    Jungle Jim Well-Known Member

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    Actually is is far less than that as the adult male and female turtles must produce only two offspring to adulthood and death to replace themselves.

    Do this math...a female turtle deposits fifty to one hundred eggs every year during her forty or fifty year lifespan. That's well over two thousand hatchlings! And all but two are destined to be prey for dozens of types of predators.

    I must say sea turtle meat is delicious, having eaten it for many years!

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  6. Jungle Jim

    Jungle Jim Well-Known Member

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    Another note on last Saturdays excursion..........

    Someone or some entity is involved with a serious beach cleanup on Salinas Point at this time. That beach didn't really have the trash on the high tide zone like so many other Sonora beaches. The first one quarter of the beach southward has been completely stripped of all flotsam to include every item of plastic, glass, nets, rope, floats, driftwood, brush, traps, animal bones and carcasses. The next quarter has hundreds of black hefty bags full of the same. The next quarter has heaps of the same in piles to include huge heaps of wire traps. The last quarter to the point was still untouched.

    The strange thing about all of this " do-gooder" mentality is that they through total ignorance removed some serious natural habitat for a lot of animals that reside on the beach there. The animal carcasses are always a dependable food source for scavengers to include the Coyote, Kit Fox, Grey Fox, Badger, Raven and the Turkey Vulture and their sometimes buddy the Black Vulture. Little pickers like Ghost Crabs, dozens of species of death beetles, dozens of species of flies, many types of amphipods and at least three species of lizards that eat those little critters are also now out of a food supply. Not to mention the only cover on the burning sands to include the drift wood, heaps of Sargasso, turtle shells, etc. is now gone.

    So what'z zup? Another boondoggle development? Insane tree huggers? Misguided Mexican environmentalists?

    Anyone heard anything??

    They gonna close off the beach???

    JJ
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  7. jerry

    jerry Well-Known Member

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    Think it's a group out of Caborca.They clean up swaths on occasion.....at Santo Tomas my friend found a drying up baby turtle in a jeep rut...took it back to condo and into a sea bowl of water....it slowly came around and started moving a bit,then swimming....took it out to high tide and it swam away. Interesting that while in the bowl in constantly swam west.....
     
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  8. jerry

    jerry Well-Known Member

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    Jj, how many pangas at the Jaguey fishcamp? Many left the ST camp because of the issues with the new management.This seems to have cut down on the truck traffic between the camps.Thathas to help the turtles but I think being hatched on a no moon high tide would be best ..Wipe all the beach clean.I am not much of a hunting fan but sure would like to find a final solution to the pack of dogs that ate those turtle nests by us.
     
  9. Jungle Jim

    Jungle Jim Well-Known Member

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    Jerry.............

    We didn't hit the beach at Jaguey this time. We found a complicated new route that goes to the beach through the asparagus fields and olive groves and ends up on the bluff above the lagoon then on the Salinas Point. The fish camp at the point has at least one hundred pangas. They are all involved with chicken wire cage trapping targeting caracol, haiba and whatever fish end up caught. The truck traffic to and from the camp is terrible with deep ruts and churned up powder soft sand. We saw one turtle nest in a rut but they seemed to have made it to the water. There are no dogs at the camp but lots of Coyotes feeding off of the death heaps of discarded rotting sharks and fish.

    I think the only way to eliminate the dogs would be to shoot them. Any traps or poison would certainly kill the innocent Coyotes, foxes, Badgers and birds. I don't think the dogs can live 100% off of the beach and desert as they need water and eat a lot more than wiley Sr. Coyote. They probably get food and water from your do-gooder neighbors or your guards.

    JJ
     
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