San Pancho and Turtle News from Costa Verde Ecological Group

Frank D. Smith - Ecological Group of Costa Verde
June 3, 2017


Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~

Between May 26th and the 29th Michelle and I embarked on the task of setting up the box nursery and all its supporting facilities, and within four days we were ready to start the 2017 nesting season. The job was comparably easy since the dune buggy had been repaired weeks earlier and there is no beach nursery to rebuild. Although some jobs were a little more time consuming, including the repairing, gluing and taping of some 330 nest boxes and the construction of four 2-bucket sand filters which should cut sand collection time in half.



330 box nursery set up one month ahead of schedule. On the table are four 2-bucket sand filters screens which should cut sand collection time in half.

With less than 2.5 inches of rain since late September, the buggy is having a rough time pushing its way through a 18” of bone-dry sand. On my first and second attempts to cross the beach, the buggy became hopelessly stuck. My attempt to pull the buggy off the beach with my four-wheel-drive Honda CRV failed - it got stuck in the dry sand as well. We’ll just have to wait until the first good rains before trying that one again. Turtles cannot dig a nest hole in bone dry sand either, so what the hay.

So far, its been a strange off-season (December through June). There have been few reports of nests or turtles sightings. All nests found in June will be left on the beach and will be totally disguised using an asphalt rake which will turn them into very large disturbed areas with a phony nest hole within. In all, it would take a poacher hours to just find the empty hole.

Starting in July, we will be collecting and placing nests within the box nursery, more-or-less an average of seven nests a day. The nursery will never fill to capacity because the nests will be hatching as fast as new nests replace them. If we are forced to leave nests on the beach (over the limit and/or average of seven a day) they will also be disguised. To add to the poacher misery, we will also be making many other fake nests, disguised areas where nests and tracks never existed, including fake empty and refilled nest holes.

Volunteer wise: this happens several times every season, and it’s totally frustrating. An applicant will send us an e-mail showing a keen interest in becoming a volunteer during the coming summer. We ask them to join us, and they accept. But - from that moment on we will never hear from them again no matter how many times we e-mail them, (using both my e-mail addresses). This discourtesy badly messes up our ability to schedule both volunteers and apartments. In any case, welcome aboard volunteers! And remember, we need volunteers from September 8th to the end of November.  

Weather-wise: daytime temperatures were mostly in the mid to very high 80°s, nighttime temperatures were in the high 60°s to low 70°s. With zip rain the lagoon is still closed off to the sea and totally carpeted with water plants. Beach sand is slowly migrating to the north driven by waves and tropical storms in the southern hemisphere.  

The river is totally dry under the main bridge, which is normal for this time of year. We received no rain or unusual weather events in May, the total rainfall for the year is 1.04 inches. On May 6th we received our first, very early, Pacific tropical storm, Adrian, which quickly disincarnated. There’s another tropical depression forming now southeast of here, it is heading inland as weak depression.

Town and Country wise:  Shortly after the Semana Santa holiday tourism abruptly dropped to near zero, but many street vendors of jewelry, tacos, odds and ends are holding out for better days, good luck there! However, I think the heat drives them mad and off the street fairly quickly. The peso was madly fluctuating between 18.0 to 19.5 pesos per dollar; regular gasoline in San Pancho was 16.12 pesos per liter.

Frank D. Smith, Director
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Project Tortuga
Tel. 311-258-4100

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