Fourth endangered sea turtle nest found on Matagorda Island
Matagorda Island volunteers are extending their turtle patrol season by six days after a fourth Kemp's ridley sea turtle nest was found Tuesday.
The patrols were set to end July 1, before the endangered turtle nest with 98 eggs was excavated and sent to Padre Island to incubate. The newest find marks the fourth nest located on the island since the volunteers began patrolling in mid-May.
Recent high tides and high winds blew sargassum, a brown seaweed, over the path the patrollers were using earlier in the season to search for turtles.
"It makes it a lot more difficult to find tracks that way, so we were fortunate we had some of our top eyes on the beach," said Mike Burnett, a member of the Texas Master Naturalist Midcoast Chapter, who has participated in the patrols since 2005.
Volunteers Donna McKinney and Julianne Thompson found the nest.
In the more than 10-year history of turtle patrols on Matagorda Island, a nest has never been found as late as June 30.
"This is the latest one we've ever found. Before that, it was like mid-June," Burnett said. "We're hoping for a July find."