Eye-spy a turtle nest
  • Thursday 05 November 2020
Nesting turtle on Shelly Beach

It’s turtle nesting season and residents are asked to report turtle tracks, new nests and emerging hatchlings to Sunshine Coast Council’s Turtle Care hotline or Coolum and North Shore Coast Care.

For sightings on the southern end of the coast call 0437 559 067 and for sightings from Mooloolaba north call Coolum and North Shore Coast Care on 0403 370 157.

Residents are also encouraged to switch off their outside lights from 8pm as light pollution is distracting for turtles and hatchlings.

Sunshine Coast Council’s TurtleCare Conservation Officer Simone Bosshard said turtle nesting season began this month and continued until March.

“Mon Repos, in Bundaberg, had the first turtle nest of the 2020 season on Tuesday night (3 November, 2020), which means we can expect our first turtle nest in approximately two weeks,” Ms Bosshard said.

“We expect to welcome back many nesting females to our beaches across the next few months, with the peak in nesting occurring over Christmas and New Year.
“Our incredible TurtleCare volunteers undertake daily surveys of every beach from North Bribie to Buddina and look out for tracks – about one metre wide – to identify where a nest has been laid and by what species.

“TurtleCare volunteers are also responsible for our ongoing monitoring program for nesting activity.

“In fact, last season, 186 registered and specially trained volunteers donated more than 8102 hours looking after 50 nests between North Bribie Island and Point Cartwright, making sure the nests were safe from predators and wild weather.

Ms Bosshard said all TurtleCare activities were conducted under Queensland Turtle Conservation Project permits.

“Our volunteer team in blue shirts have undergone professional training with the Queensland Government Turtle Conservation Project, learning how to identify and record species, nesting locations and frequency, protect nests from predation, and monitor the hatchling and emergence success of nests.

“Thanks to their efforts last season, more than 4500 endangered loggerhead turtle hatchlings made it to the ocean. It takes around 30 years for those females who survive to come back to our beautiful beaches to lay their eggs.

“Loggerheads from eastern Australia are regularly recorded migrating between 1000 and 2600 kilometres between their foraging and nesting grounds.

“The turtles coming to our local beaches may have travelled thousands of kilometres, possibly from as far away as New Caledonia or New Guinea. ‘Gandugan’ a nesting female from the 2017/18 nesting season lives in the Swains, in the Outer Great Barrier Reef.

“So let’s welcome these ancient mariners and look out for them and their nests this summer season.”

The start of the turtle nesting season is a good reminder to look after Sunshine Coast beaches, waterways and parks and keep them clean from litter and marine debris.

Council regularly hosts clean-up activities, including the upcoming Clean Up for the Hatchlings in February. Residents and visitors are reminded to be mindful when disposing of rubbish or recycling.

Find out more about our native turtles, the TurtleCare volunteer program and the tracking project.