The green turtle making its way back to the ocean after making a nest on Boambee Beach on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Paul Rogan
National Parks and Wildlife Services local officer Mick Phillips was left reeling by what he discovered during an early morning fishing trip.
Fishing before sunrise on Tuesday, Mr Phillips noticed turtle tracks leading from the surf up the beach.
“It was such a surprise to find the turtle tracks which looked like someone had rolled a large tractor tyre up the beach,” Mr Phillips said.
“The real pleasure however, was to see the turtle lay its eggs, cover the nest with sand then make its way safely back into the ocean.”
“I am really glad to be able to say, this was one that got away.”
Local NPWS ranger Ann Walton said the nesting event was exciting as there weren’t any recent records of turtles nesting on Boambee Beach.
“It is believed to be a green turtle which is a species at risk of extinction in NSW, so even one nest is highly significant,” Ms Walton said.
Ms Walton said the temperature of the sand determined the sex of the hatchlings.
“Warmer sand means most will be female and cooler temperatures mean more males will be hatched.
“A temperature logger has been buried with the nest to monitor sand temperatures throughout the incubation period.
“The area has been fenced off and will remain fenced until the eggs hatch.
“If the nest is undisturbed the hatchlings are expected to appear around Easter.”
Coffs Harbour NPWS ranger Mark Watt said turtles had been found to nest every few years on the Coffs Coast.
“The last successful one was in May 2014 up at Hearnes Lake Beach,” Mr Watt said.
He said the Coffs Coast was the most southern point where turtles nest.
“We get mainly male turtles (hatching) because it’s cooler sand,” he said.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation green turtles reach sexual maturity when about 33 years and lay between 70-110 eggs.
Mr Watt gave turtle hatchlings a one-in-a-thousand chance of reaching maturity because predatory birds often swooped them up before reaching the water.
If you find turtles nesting or their tracks, phone National Parks and Wildlife Service on 66520900.