Sea Turtle Nests Near Record High

Every morning during turtle nesting season Bruce Drye walks up and down St. George Island, keeping a close eye on sea turtle nests.

“There’s a live hatchling,” said Drye.

Drye has been using his skills to protect baby sea turtles since the mid-1980's.

“But, I learned how to do all of this as a park ranger,” said Drye.

As the warm waters of the Gulf crash onshore, Drye says it’s not a life at the beach for these hatchlings.

“The sky will be lighter than the water, and that’s what has drawn hatchlings to the safety of the water for billions of years, and if we have these homes lit up, they’ll go the wrong way,” said Drye.

Other predators such as the ghost crab pose a threat to the baby sea turtles.

Nests like these have been popping up all over the beaches. In 2010, they were moved to the east coast of Florida due to the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast. Because of those efforts this could be a record year.

“Hatchling success rates over there nearly as good as if we had left these on the beach by themselves, left them alone,” said Drye.

Statewide 861 nests, each containing about a hundred eggs, have been counted so far this year.

Jennifer Taylor was on the beach in 2010, she says it's amazing to see such an abundance of sea turtle nests after the oil spill.

“We were here three years ago, I guess and we saw maybe one or two nests. So seeing these along the beach is pretty amazing,” said Taylor.

With another successful nesting season underway thousands of hatchlings are expected to soon populate the waters off Florida's coast.

As of right now, the number of nests is the second highest on record.