Protecting marine turtles and their habitat

2012 News

13 January 2013

The 2012  annual report is now available for viewing online.  To see it click here.

18 July –  Nests galore and scouts look forward to a winter of cage production!

Our nest count has now reached 18.  This is a new record for our beaches – let’s hope that it is matched by a record number of hatchlings coming out of them!  Two of the nests (both on Long Beach) are from Green turtles, the remainder are from Loggerheads.

The more eagle eyed of you have noticed “extra cages” on Tunnel – we are hoping that they might act as a bit of a decoy for the fox.  There are still several turtles trying to nest on all four beaches so do please continue to be diligent with your beach walking.  You can also help by looking at the nests you pass by and seeing if they are showing any signs of hatching or of being about to hatch.  We have a good idea of when hatching is likely to start for each but this is nature folks so nothing is certain.  Doing a check for us involves looking at the sand around the nest to see if there are any “mini” turtle prints – they are very similar to adult ones just an awful lot smaller.  You can also look in at the top of the nests to see if the sand has dipped down in a funnel like shape – this can indicate that the eggs in side have started to hatch and there is movement going on in the nest.

The link out for the night vigil rota has been sent out to active members.  If you have any problems accessing it please get in touch.  Please do also keep in mind the fact that the most vulnerable nests at the moment are situated on Curium and on the east side of Tunnel Beach.  Also bear in mind that you can help by doing a part of a night if not a full one.  Most importantly of all remember to read and observe the guidelines on night vigils.   There are turtles still trying to nest and it is important not to do anything that might scare them away.

Once again thanks to our volunteers for all their help – keep up the good work.!  A special thanks again goes to 53 St Barnabas Scout Group which has helped repair some of our existing cages and volunteered to make us 10 new ones over the winter.   Meanwhile folks taking to the water for the “Bay to Bay” swim on Friday should  keep an eye out for hatchlings – The Lemmings nests are unlikely to start hatching just yet but they do have a track record for trying to join the swim!

5 July – Nests all around and a hungry fox patrolling Tunnel

It might appear that we have been a little bit quiet of late but those of you who have been checking the rota can probably guess why.  The five nests that we reported on two weeks ago have rapidly expanded to 15 and we still have several turtles still coming ashore.  If any of them nest successfully this will certainly be a record year in terms of number of nests on our four beaches.

All our beaches now have nests on them.    There are eight on Tunnel (including two on the MTW side – well spotted Brendan for the second), three on Lemmings, three on Long (including it appears a green) and still one on Curium although several turtles have been trying very hard to add to it.   Well done to everybody who has contributed to finding them by taking part in the walking rota.  The rota still has some gaps going forward so please see if you are able to help by filling any of them.

Of course life can never be without a problem or two and this year it comes in the form of a very active fox nosing around on Tunnel Beach which has managed to predate two nests before the turtle had time to cover them up.  We are hoping to trap it but in the meantime people walking this beach can help by checking  on the nest cages as they pass them.  The bottom hoop of each should be completely buried below the level of the sand.  If it is exposed please recover it and fill in any “dug out” that the fox may have made beside it!

The flurry of nesting means that towards the end of July we should also start to see a flurry of hatchings.  We will shortly be posting the rota for this and sending you the link.  Please bear in mind that at the moment our most vulnerable nests are those on Curium and (until we trap the fox) Tunnel beaches and so if you would like to do a night vigil please consider nests on these beaches first.  In some circumstances (e.g. the first two nests on Lemmings) it will also be possible for one group of people to monitor two nests simultaneously.  If you do put your name down to do a night vigil please ensure that you read the guidelines on our website and adhere to them.  There is a very real chance of more nesting taking place at the same time as existing nests begin to hatch but only if you ensure that you are not creating a disturbance that will frighten away the mothers!  Remember you will be on the beach to assist the conservation effort not to hinder it!

13 June – Nests 2 to 5 and a load of old rubbish at Avdimou (no Frank – we don’t mean you!)

Nesting is now in full flow on our beaches. Nest 2 was found on Lemmings by Jess Sharman on 9th June whilst Nest 3 and Nest 4 were both deposited 12th June on Tunnel Beach and discovered the by Paul and Jenny Lewis.  Well done to all three of them.  Jenny and Paul were almost on a hat trick for the day as they also walked Curium and called in two fresh tracks there.   There was no nest at Curium that time but the Jim and Diane Wilson were able to call in nest 5 next to the lifeguard station the following morning!

All the partying turtles were loggerheads which is fairly normal for this stage of the season.   Generally greens begin laying around 2 weeks after the loggerheads become active although as we saw in 2011 they can occasionally be first off the mark.  Before everyone gets too envious of the Lewis team do bear in mind that as an additional bonus they had to help a charming Cypriot gentleman pull the co-ordinator’s car out of the pebbles at Curium when she forgot that she wasn’t in her RAV4!  Anybody passing might have thought that they were looking at a group of  coal miners!

Meanwhile Linda wasn’t the only one having fun and games that morning!  Anybody around Avdimou or Lemmings would have witnessed a hive of activity featuring staff and pupils of St Johns School with special guest star Frank Lindop.  The pupils did a great job this morning tackling the mound of rubbish which had accumulated on Avdimou beach and then moved across to Lemmings for a talk and quiz about turtles and turtlewatch (which was supposed to last 30minutes but was still going strong 90 minutes later thanks to the enthusiasm of all concerned).  Thanks to Frank, Liz and Ali for all their organisation

For those of you who are curious about the trip to Avdimou, it is in fact a turtle nesting beach which is walked and monitored by the SBA environment department rather than by us.   We decided to direct the clean up effort at Avdimou because it would make the most difference there.  Staff and pupils wanted to engage in a meaningful clean rather than a token one – and thanks to the many wombles amongst our members our beaches don’t offer much of a challenge at the moment!

5 June – Lemmings takes the lead with nest 1 of 2012

Loggerhead Nest 1 of 2012

We are delighted to say that our first nest of 2012 was laid last night by a Loggerhead turtle on Lemmings Beach.  Well done Paul and Jenny for spotting the tracks and thanks to Frank and

Loggerhead track

Nick for successfully locating the egg chamber and caging the nest.  Hopefully there will be more to come both from this turtle and a few others.

 

 

22 May – Men at work?!!

Our information stand is now safely reinstated at Curium Beach thanks to the application of Richard’s brainpower, Steve’s brawn and copious quantities of a well known brand of amber nectar.  Apparently there was also some concrete thrown into the mixture!  Anyway we thought that you’d like to see pictures of them working whilst you were all sunning yourselves.  A prize to the person who comes up with the best caption…….at the moment we’re favouring “Organ Grinder” and “Monkey”.

Richard

Steve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But seriously, thanks guys – that sign has been stuck in a bush for months.  You’ll also no doubt be pleased to learn that somebody was so impressed with your workmanship that they’ve knocked one down at Long Beach for you to play with!!

12 May 2012 – Turtlewatch joins in MCS “clean up a beach” weekend by getting down and dirty at Curium!

Curium Beach Clean 2012 - Ready for action!

Venture scouts take a quick water stop!

Saturday morning witnessed our 7th successful annual clean up of Curium Beach.  From 9am onwards over one hundred people gathered to help remove the debris of winter storms and the inevitable deliberate littering that had taken place in the area.  This year volunteers included representatives from St Barnabas 53rd Venture Scout Group and from Silverline School in Trachoni.  Thanks also go to Sodexo and IFM for supplying clean up materials and also to Episkopi Council for removing the mound of rubbish collected.  Highlights of the morning included Frank being sent off with a bunch of cones to find out what life would have been like had he joined the traffic police and Ian scouting out Ypsonas as a possible clean up venue for later in the year!

The Dumper Convoy!

Several hundred sacks of junk were removed from the beach as well as some rather nasty razor wire and numerous tires that had washed up onto the main nesting area of the beach during the winter.  Encouragingly, however, the overall condition of the beach continues to improve year on year – hopefully a sign that our efforts are having an effect on some people’s behaviour.  Normally this means that we push further along the beach each year but unfortunately, this year we were forced to stop at the newly build desalination plant because access beyond this had been blocked.  On the plus side this did allow us to ensure that we left the area that we did cover completely spotless and were able to retire for an early and well earned lunch.  Well done everybody and thanks to Richard for taking on the task of repairing one of our Curium Beach  information boards which was vandalised last season.

To see one of the many newspaper articles published about our efforts follow this link .

1May 2012 ABF Aphrodite Hills Run, Walk and Ramble –  Our Turtlewatchers show that they are no tortoises!

Steve, Gill,  Chocs and Evelyn power through to the finish!

Steve, Gill, Chocs and Evelyn power through to the finish!

Alex(1st), Nic (3rd) and Nick (2nd) help the aged!

A hot and humid May Day witnessed several of our volunteers putting their fitness to the test (and some wishing that they hadn’t!) by entering the various running and walking events organised to raise funds for the ABF.  St Barnabas Scouts again put in some star performances for Turtlewatch with Alex, Nic and Nick taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the boys under 17 10km run category.  Shame they got stuck with our co-ordinator as fourth team member really!  Sterling performances were also tendered by the Brobins and “Chocs” in the 10km walk with Gill impressively managing to take time out to help run the water stand part way around the course.  Well done too to Evelyn who took the “so near and yet so far” award for coming 4th in the 5km event – it was the dip at the line that needs work!

21 April 2012 – Spring Fete draws lots of new volunteers into the fold!

Frank rehearsing for wowing the kids!

Thank you to everybody who dropped by our stall to say hello at the St John’s School Fete and in particular to those of you who signed up to our mailing list for the first time.  The event was an excellent source of new recruits and as an added bonus we were also able to sell a few T shirts and raise €155 in the process.  The undoubted highlight, however, was Harold Rowe’s video of turtles hatching on Long Beach in 2011 which successfully lured both old and new members to our corner and gave Frank ample opportunity to perfect his child entertaining skills (coming soon to a school near you!)


21 February 2012 – Talking turtle with Limassol Ladies

Tuesday morning saw Linda being made very welcome by Limassol Ladies group at St Barnabas Church Hall.  The group had invited Turtlewatch along to talk about our activities and about turtles in general.  A very enjoyable hour was spent talking and answering questions and recruiting a few new members.  The Ladies are very friendly and do a lot of work for charity including sponsoring the education of young girls in Uganda and the meeting commenced with an update on their latest student who despite being described as not terribly academic was managing to maintain a position in the top 5% of her school.  Having heard about the challenges both the girls and the project faces it was both a pleasant surprise and a humbling experience to be presented with a €210 donation from the group at the conclusion of the meeting.  Thanks again Ladies and we hope to see you on the beaches this summer.

18 February 2012 – Kolossi 10km sees colossal victory for Ninja Scout and Chief “BC”!

Some of the teams pre warm up!

A rather windswept and chilly Saturday morning was braved by 20 intrepid turtlers plus dogs who turned out to support the ABF by walking or running 10km around Kolossi.  Heavy rain during the days leading up to the event resulted in plenty of soothing mud being splattered around to ease aching joints but did nothing to quell the spirits of those who participated.  Special mention must go to 53rd Scout group which managed to muster both a walking and a running team and produced medal winners in each event.  Well done to Joanne Christodoulou (team Patrick BC) for taking gold in the women’s walk and to Alex Ramsey (53rd Ninja Scouts) for bringing home a silver in the under 17 run.  An excellent performance too by Aaron Gaskell and Nic Demetriou who

Jo and Alex enjoy the sweet smell of victory!

also put in good run times – can’t wait to see them “running” the beach walks in summer!  For those of you wondering what the “BC” stands for in Patrick BC – I’m sorry but you’ll have to keep on wondering as I’ve been told that if I tell you his mother will have to kill me and possibly him!

The dogs by the way were Blue, Santa,Bella, Cleo,  Sky, Jack and Jade and we are checking the regulations to see if they can form a running team next year!!!

 

 

2 February – A G Leventis Foundation backs Episkopi Turtlewatch!

 

We are pleased to announce that the Board of Directors of the Anastasios G Leventis Foundation has awarded Episkopi Turtlewatch a grant of €2,500 to survey the turtle population foraging in Episkopi Bay.  The “A. G. Leventis” Foundation was established in 1979, following the death of Cypriot philanthropist Anastasios G. Leventis.  Being particularly fond of his homeland, Cyprus, Anastasios G. Leventis had provided help to a great number of sectors, wherever he felt it was necessary. Following his directions the Foundation’s activities are based on the threefold motto “Culture, Education, Charity”.  The Foundation lays special emphasis on the financing of programmes concerning the protection of the environment and also those which are rooted in the community.  We are privileged and grateful to have won its support and would like to thank both the Board and, in particular, Director Bakirtzis, for their understanding and guidance.  If you are not familiar with the many projects undertaken by the A G Leventis Foundation do please follow the link shown and take a look at its website.

On other fronts, our 2011 report is now available for online viewing.  Please feel free to give us your feedback.  We have unfortunately, already found two deliberately killed turtles on our beaches this year.  We are also aware of two having been recovered at Lady’s Mile and one being spotted but unfortunately not recovered at Avdimou.