Friday, August 7, 2009

Sea turtle

Here is a sea turtle that we saw during our recent fishing excursion in off the coast of Tamarindo.  This is not one of the endangered leatherback turtles, however.  During the winter months, it is possible to go on evening beach visits, led by park rangers, in the national park directly adjacent to Tamarindo, to watch the turtles come up on to the beach to lay their eggs, and to watch the hatchlings find their way to the sea.

My wife and her brother went out one evening with a park ranger to watch for turtles.  The park ranger keeps everyone in the dark, except for a red flashlight, because the lights are harmful to the turtles.  They can get confused by lights on the beach, which can interfere with their laying their eggs and the struggle of the hatchlings to find the ocean.  One theory is that they find their way by the light of the moon.  Minimizing the lights on the beach is one of the reasons that conservation groups favor additional steps to prevent development along Playa Grande, which forms the northern half of the beach in Tamarindo Bay.  The area is part of the Las Baulas National Marine Park, but the boundaries of the park are in dispute.

On the night that my wife and her brother went out on the beach, they did not see any turtles.  Instead, they saw a lot of fire flies.  Maybe the light of the fire flies was a deterrent to the turtles.

7 comments:

brattcat said...

Can Julie capture fireflies with the same skill she captures eclipses? What is the yellow band at the turtle's neck? Is that a natural coloration there?

Sharon said...

You certainly had a lot to see on that fishing trip!

Jarart said...

That must have been wonderful to see! I wonder how big it is.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Brattcat,
I know I can count on you to notice the details in my photos. Your question has prompted me to consult with a marine biologist (my neice) and I will post another photo tomorrow that will shed light on the answer to your question about the colloration on the turtle's neck.

glenda said...

Watching for turtles must be a lot like fishing. Its a waiting game. What a great shot you captured of this turtle.

glenda said...

Inainalaska had a good video of dolphins she captured on a boat trip she took, you might be interested. Neat to see dolphins in Costa Rica and also Alaska.

JM said...

This is a beautiful capture! I've never seen a sea turtle in the wild (I arrived too soon to Tortuguero...)

Thank you so much, David, for your congratulations and kind words.

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