Another of my favorite places to be is the beach. I don’t get there as often as I would like to.
Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle hatchlings making their first trip to the ocean. Padre Island National Seashore.
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Paddling my kayak in the Laguna Madre between Padre Island National Seashore and the mainland on the Texas Coast.
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We took our kayaks and paddled in the serene waters of the Laguna Madre between the barrier island of Padre Island and the Texas mainland. No surf, light winds and smooth waters. It was a beautiful day.
Several years ago in June, we found ourselves in Corpus Christie, Texas. I had heard about the release of sea turtle hatchlings and found the number to call to find out when there would be a release because it was the right time of year. I found there would be a release a couple of mornings before we had to leave.
The turtles are Kemp’s Ridley turtles. They are on the endangered species list. They nest on Padre Island and if seen nesting, the eggs are dug up and kept safe until they hatch.
When baby turtles hatch and dig out of the sand nest, they face numerous predators on their way to the ocean, the most numerous being seagulls which gorge on the tiny morsels. (They are 2 to 2 1/2 inches long.) Padre Island also has raccoons and coyotes which will feast.
When the baby turtle are released from a rescued batch, they are taken to the beach at sunrise as they crawl toward the sun. Volunteers line both sides of their path to the sea to keep seagulls away from the hatchlings. We felt like we were doing our part to help these tiny turtles head out for a long life and maybe someday some of the turtles would return to the beach to lay their eggs and start the next generation.