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Gnaraloo coast

Training in turtle tracking WA style

Hello from sunny warm Exmouth!

We completed our 4 day turtle tracking training course by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) (Western Australia) this morning (on Monday 12 November 2012) after completing an office based workshop session on Friday afternoon and two early morning beach patrols on Saturday and Sunday (9 – 11 November 2012) with experienced, qualified turtle trackers and trainers under the Ningaloo Turtle Program. You’ll be pleased to know that all the ‘Gnaraloo Turtles’ passed the field assessment with flying colours! We have been tested on aspects such as turtle species identification based on tracks, determination of turtle nesting success, ability to differentiate between the return and emerge track of nesting turtles, defining turtle hatching features and using GPS devices and UHF radios correctly!

While the DEC Exmouth training course focused primarily on green turtle nesting activities as it is their dominant species, we will be receiving a visitor very soon at Gnaraloo! Colin Valentine, an experienced turtle tracker and trainer under the Ningaloo Turtle Program, will travel to Gnaraloo during November 2012 to provide supplementary training to us in tracking of loggerhead nesting activities in the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery.

After one of our early mornings training sessions in Exmouth, we indulged in some adventure and took the Gnaraloo pastoral ute out to Cape Range National Park for a bit of exploration. After looking around, we stopped at Turquoise Bay for a snorkel. Some of the species we saw included Spangled Emperors (Lethrinus nebulous), Bridled Monocle Bream (Scolopsis bilineatus), Small-spotted Darts (Trachinotus bailonii) and several species of Parrotfish, Wrasse and Damsels (Scaridae, Labridae, Pomacentridae).

Tonight we will let our hair down a bit (knowing that we don’t have to get up at 4 AM tomorrow morning for beach training surveys!) and then we will head back to Gnaraloo on early Tuesday morning, 13 November 2012. We may even take a detour to Coral Bay for a spot of lunch and another snorkel… with permission from the boss of course, thanks Paul! Wednesday morning, 14 November 2012, will be business as usual at Gnaraloo, on the beach by 5 AM for turtle tracking and monitoring, but with a greater sense of confidence from the training we have received in Exmouth and hopefully with more nesting activities for us to record than observed during our first week of tracking in the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery during 2 – 8 November 2012!

Thanks again Chantelle Coots, Matt Prophet, Colin Valentine and Brooke, Derek and Dave (the DEC staff, trainers and volunteers under the Ningaloo Turtle Program) for your help, expertise and time training the Gnaraloo turtle crew! We really value it.

Activity tally in the Gnaraloo Bay Rookery (02/11/2012 – 13/11/2012): 4 Loggerhead Nests, 0 Unsuccessful Nesting Activities, 2 U Tracks


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