Turtle Tracks but No Turtles

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Rich and I celebrated our anniversary with a trip to the beach. Our goal was to see nesting Loggerhead and/or Green Sea Turtles. We headed to the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, a 20-mile stretch of beach where thousands of turtles nest each year. Turtles nest at night, but sometimes you can see them in the late evenings and early mornings. And sometimes you strike out and just enjoy a nice walk on the beach with your hubby!

Sunset Walk on the Beach
Sunset Walk on the Beach

On our evening walk, we hoped to see turtles in the surf. They sometimes wait in the shallow parts until nightfall. We found lots of tracks, but no turtles.

The next morning, we were at the beach about half an hour before sunrise. We searched the dunes for mother turtles that might still be laying their eggs. Alas, all we found were the tracks of the turtles that had nested during the night.

Turtle Tracks at Sunrise
Turtle Tracks at Sunrise

There were an unusual (to us at least) number of false crawls that morning. False crawls are the tracks left by turtles that come onshore, then decide to circle back to the ocean without nesting.

False Crawl
False Crawl

When there are no turtles, I take more landscape photos than usual. I liked the yellow beach sunflowers growing up in the dunes. The only thing that would have made them more photogenic would have been a turtle… ;-)

Beach Sunflowers
Beach Sunflowers

Rich and I decided that we’ll be back!

Want to learn more about nature photography at Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge?

Check out my Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!

Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!

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