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Loggerhead sea turtles

Sea turtle nesting season runs from May until the end of October.
Lisa Peakes/WUSF

The number of sea turtle nests on Sarasota County beaches has hit a 38-year high.

The loggerhead turtle is the most common sea turtle found in Florida. Females return to their nesting beach every two or more years.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

By Cathy Carter

It's just after sunrise on Sarasota's Lido Beach and the start of sea turtle patrol for Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Senior Biologist Melissa Bernhard.

“We have a report of a possible nest a couple hundred feet down,” she said on a recent morning. ”We're just going to walk down to it and see if it is a nest and take some data on it, regardless."

Hatching loggerhead sea turtle
Longboat Key Turtle Watch

Loggerhead sea turtles spend most of their lives in the open ocean or shallow coastal waters, but soon thousands of female sea turtles will come ashore to begin their annual rite of spring.

May 1 marks the beginning of sea turtle nesting season on Florida's Gulf Coast.

Steve Newborn / WUSF Public Media

The Florida Aquarium cut the ribbon Wednesday on a sea turtle rehabilitation center in Apollo Beach. It will  expand efforts to save endangered turtles - and increase public awareness of them.

Researchers are reporting a spiking number of sea turtle deaths in Florida waters plagued by a red tide algae bloom.

A loggerhead sea turtle on the beach
FWC

Some of the first sea turtle nests of 2018 are already being discovered by Mote Marine Laboratory’s Sea Turtle Patrol. That’s right. The turtles are coming.

But it isn’t unusual for sea turtle nesting season to begin early, which officially runs May 1 to Oct. 31.

Devin Rodriguez/WUSF / WUSF News

As the sun rises over St. Pete Beach, Tracy Andrews walks across the sand searching for turtle crawls.

Researchers say sea turtles rebounded from a slump last year to deliver one of the strongest summer nesting seasons on record on beaches from the Carolinas to Florida.