A Thrilling Turtle Season

ShellOnSapelo_SaraWeaver_DNR_2016
Shell on Sapelo. (Sara Weaver/DNR)

As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver has been posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

I have had a very busy summer (and I’m sure most of the other turtle technicians and staff in Georgia would say the same). A successful nesting season for the turtles means more work for us, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s been exciting to learn about sea turtles while I’ve been here, and even more thrilling to watch the females nest on the beach in the middle of the night. And being able to see that a nest has hatched successfully gives me a lot of hope for the effectiveness of our sea turtle research and conservation programs. Continue reading “A Thrilling Turtle Season”

Taking Inventory of Nests

Sunrise_SapeloSound_DNR_2016As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver is posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

Today was a longer day than usual. I’m generally finished with work before the hottest part of the day arrives, but that wasn’t the case today. I had three new nests, one nest hatch and I conducted my first nest inventory on my own.

I have definitely had much more challenging days, but since nesting season is wrapping up, I’m used to it being a little slower. We have a total of 205 nests now on Sapelo.

The inventory was really fun. I enjoy doing them because it’s neat to see how well a nest hatched. In this nest, 124 eggs hatched, two dead hatchlings remained in the nest and 16 eggs didn’t hatch. This nest is on the higher end for total eggs, so the inventory took a bit longer than it usually would.

One of the nests that I relocated today had 155 eggs in it, which is quite a large nest. The female’s crawl was also wider than normal though, so she was a big turtle. We normally expect about 80-150 eggs per nest. Our largest nest on the beach has 177 eggs!

#7Days4SeaTurtles is a weeklong outreach by the DNR’s Wildlife Resources Division to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation.

Andrew Rich caught this big bluegill on Monday from the Altamaha River. A black/chartreuse Satilla Spin fished around willow trees fooled it.

Georgia Fishing Report: July 22, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Southwest Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

It’s still hot and dry, despite some increased storm frequency across the mountains last week.  The good news is that these brief storms cool off the streams a bit.  The bad news is that the benefits of higher, cooler stormflows are fleeting.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?site_no=02330450

The BIG news this week came from one of the cleanup batters on the Hooch Tailwater.  These guys use big bats and swing for the fences.  They often strike out, but when they connect, it’s usually a homer, far back into the upper deck.  That happened on the Hooch tailwater, and the story of the big brown is in the first bullet, below.

Our summer pattern continues, so pick your preferences.  Remember to check USGS gauges first to avoid chocolate milk, aim for shade, and be slow and patient with your offerings.  “Warm” fish are slow to react in hot water, and will avoid the high sun if they suspect predators in their midst.  Despite the continuing heat wave, Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 22, 2016”

Loggerhead tracks and a nest on Sapelo. (Mark Dodd/DNR)

On a Day off, Nest Survey Details

As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver is posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

Today was my off day so Mark Dodd, DNR Sea Turtle Program coordinator, came in to survey the beach. He found two nests, which brings Sapelo to a total of 202.

Today was my first grocery shopping trip in a month. I forgot ice cream, but got a buy one, get one free deal on medium bags of M&M’S.:)

Since I was off today, I’ll describe what it’s like to find a nest. Continue reading “On a Day off, Nest Survey Details”

Marking and taking a single egg for genetics research from Sapelo’s 200th nest. (Sara Weaver/DNR)

Record Nest Follows Full Moon Vigil

As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver is posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

Last night and this morning were especially fun. I took my tent out to Cabretta beach to camp alongside a nest that was showing signs of hatching (the sand over the nest was collapsing). Continue reading “Record Nest Follows Full Moon Vigil”

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An Easy Day and New Life

As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver is posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

Today was an especially easy day on patrol at Sapelo Island. Nesting season is coming to an end, and this morning I did not have any new nests to mark.

However, I did have five nests hatch, and I even got to watch a hatchling make its way into the ocean (pictured).

Most of my day was spent checking predator activity around every nest. As part of a predator study, I record all of the tracks around each nest (most are from raccoons and ghost crabs). And if a nest is predated, or preyed on, I have to count the eggshells.

On Sapelo, when a nest hatches, we leave it alone for 10 days because we do not want to interfere with the hatching process. After 10 days, we conduct a nest inventory, where we dig up the remainder of the nest and determine how successful the nest was.

#7Days4SeaTurtles is a weeklong outreach by DNR Wildlife Resources Division to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation.

Sara_AtWorkOnSapelo_MarkDodd_DNR_7182016

A Sea Turtle Tech’s Summer on Sapelo

Hi, my name is Sara Weaver, and I work on Sapelo Island as a Georgia DNR sea turtle technician. I’ve been interested in turtles since December 2014, when I visited Costa Rica and got to work with olive ridley hatchlings. After that, during my undergraduate at Purdue University in Indiana, I focused a lot of my wildlife projects on sea turtles. This is my first job since I graduated in May, and I love it!

My day starts at 5 am. Continue reading “A Sea Turtle Tech’s Summer on Sapelo”

Daniel Hampton of Waycross caught this 8-pound bowfin in the Okefenokee Swamp on Tuesday. It inhaled a fire tiger Dura-Spin inline spinner.

Georgia Fishing Report: July 15, 2016

Central Georgia

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

 

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The fish are all small and they are moving around a lot.  Bass are roaming around in small schools from 6 to 10 fish and buzz baits will allow anglers to cover a lot of water fast.  The fish are moving to the points and creek bends especially mid to lower lake.  They are roaming on any wood all day and a crank bait cast through the wood will draw a strike and be sure to use bright colors.  Use the Rattle Back 1/2 ounce jig and a larger Pro Pork Trailer by Uncle Josh on the points.  The crank bait and spinner baits cast on the bank cover and slowly worked will get strikes.  Mid-day spinner baits down lake in the creeks are fair on cover using Stanley spinner baits with bright blades.  Later look for shallow strikes as the bass move to the creek banks and points during the day.

Clarks Hill (down 2.62 feet, 80’s) – Black bass are tight on creek bends down lake as well as main lake points.  The fish are biting but all presentations will need to be close to any wood and around docks.  Use the Zoom gourd green worm on a Texas rig in the tight bank cover.  Up the creeks, use a dark jig and pig combination and fish tight in any cover right on the bank.  The Lunker Lure Rattle Back jigs in the 3/8 ounce size in dark reds and blacks with a matching #11 Uncle Josh trailer will be best.  Add Real Craw scent and use it often casting to the same location.  Use a Leverage all white buzz bait and the spinner baits with willow leaf and Colorado blades in tandem on the wood and docks.  Be sure the skirts are bright colors in lime, white and chartreuse. Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 15, 2016”

Don Harrison of Waycross caught this oversized redfish from Crooked River on July 4th while casting a Sea Shad suspended under an Equalizer Float.

Georgia Fishing Report: July 8, 2016

North Georgia

Southeast Georgia

North Georgia

(Info provided by fisheries biologist Jeff Durniak and region fisheries staff)

 The heat continues and so do fair-weather anglers’ perceptions of limited fishing opportunities. Sure, it isn’t as easy nor as comfortable as April and May, but there’s plenty of summer fun to be found by “picnicking” in the right spots at the right times.  These include daytime river float trips that combine fishing and swimming, dawn boat launches on local lakes, midnight jugging for catfish, early morning hikes along high elevation trout streams, dusk canoeing around pond perimeters, and evening wades through our favorite bass shoals.  There’s still plenty of daylight to accommodate the entire range of north Georgia anglers, from early risers to nighthawks, so plan a picnic for the time and place that will make your summer vacation times memorable.  We sure are.  After all, when we slip and fall in right now, who cares?  We dry out in ten minutes!

Grab your bug spray, nylon fishing attire, and sunglasses, and give it a go.

  • Black and White for Bass

Dredger’s had a lot of fun with evening wet-wading trips for river bass of many flavors, from shoals and spots in-state, to redeyes on the eastern border, to smallies just to our north.  He’s touting the successful contrast of “black and white for success.”  During daylight hours he’s Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 8, 2016”

David Burgess of Nahunta caught this keeper trout out of Blythe Island Regional Park on Sunday before the storms. The trout bite should be good over the holiday weekend.

Georgia Fishing Report: July 1, 2016

Central Georgia

Southeast Georgia

Central Georgia

(Info provided by Fisheries biologist Steve Schleiger and region Fisheries staff; Reservoir Fishing Reports Courtesy of Southern Fishing with Ken Sturdivant)

Lake Russell (full, clear, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  The bass are mostly small spots.  The small Shad Raps in shad patterns and blue back are working and use light 8-pound test Sufix line.  Fish for spots with smaller baits and anything green in a soft plastic is  a spotted bass favorite.  Fish the dam area and work the shallow ledges.  Use Poe’s 400 Cedar Shad crank baits and large u tail worms.  The larger worms will take the better fish and get the smaller fish out of the way.  Black and other dark colors are working and add some red dye with crawfish scent on the tail end of the worm.  Night fishing around lighted docks down lake with a June bug Zoom trick worm is fair and use a tiny weight.

Clarks Hill (down 1.7 feet, 80’s) – Bass fishing is fair.  Several baits and patterns are Continue reading “Georgia Fishing Report: July 1, 2016”