A Turtle Surprise

My lovely Laelia is going to be two in a week.  Two!  So, I wanted to take her to the beach to do some fun birthday pictures there.  She was quite photogenic today and I was snapping her precious little self with my camera.  When we were about done, the other two girls ran over to me and told me they had found a sea turtle nest that had hatched in the early morning.  I so love these turtles.  If you have been reading for a while, then you might already know that I love nesting season.  I love finding little babies and walking out to the water with them.  It’s tough to do that in the middle of the night, but every so often there is a straggler who gets left behind in the nest and that is what I love to find!

Today we checked out the hundred little turtle tracks that are so teeny tiny in the sand.  They look like little bitty tire tracks headed out to the ocean.  It is such a sweet sight.  If you have seen baby sea turtles who have just spotted their ocean oasis then you know how excited they get and how quickly their little legs move when they catch their first glimpse of it.  It calls to them.

Normally, we keep walking to check out the next nest down the beach, but today I asked the girls if they wanted to dig a little to see if there were any little guys left behind.  Silly question.  Of course they wanted to!

sea turtle nests, florida sea turtle nesting seasonSo we started digging lightly with our hands.  I scooped about 5 inches deep into the sand when I felt this tiny little turtle on the palm of my hand!  I can’t tell you how excited I was am.  I’ve been waiting for this moment all summer!

sea turtle nest, loggerhead sea turtle, sea turtle nesting season

I know the turtles dig for days to reach the surface and take frequent naps along the way.  I wonder if this little guy just napped a little too long and his siblings left the nest while he was out.

loggerhead sea turtles, imprinting, beach, treasure shores beach park

Well, you can imagine the excitement from three little girls (and me of course.  I’m the worst one!).  I held him for a few minutes while they each gently touched his tiny little shell and flippers and the top of his head.  He was just so precious!

sea turtle eggs

sea turtle flippersbaby loggerhead sea turtle, nature preserve, wildlife preserve, treasure shores beach park, enki education, homeschoolingThen we set the tiny sea turtle, who was named Fuzz Ball by Chloe, down in the sand and let him walk his very important walk out to the water.  This is a very special moment for them because it is when they learn their beach–the beach of their birth is imprinted in their memories forever and when they are grown the females come back to this very same beach to lay their eggs.  Fuzz Ball sure did hustle!  He knew what he wanted and he was planning to make it happen.  We cheered him on as he went.

Baby loggerhead sea turtle, turtle flippers, hatchlings, sea turtle hatchlingloggerhead sea turtle hatchling, beach imprintingWillow, baby loggerhead sea turtle, beach, sand, ocean, atlantic oceanlittle turtlehomeschooling adventures, family activities, homeschooling activities, waldorf homeschooling, enki educationchloe, willow, sea turtle, homeschooling activities, nature walk, outdoor adventures, outdoor activities, sand, beach, girls, little girlsAnd when the water scooped him up and washed him away it was such a fantastic feeling to know he was home!  Chloe was sure Fuzz Ball’s mama was waiting for him just beyond the breaking waves, but I told her that God didn’t make sea turtles to go back to their mamas.  He made them to live most of their lives alone.  She didn’t care for that information and her little eyes welled up with tears.  She’s a mama’s girl and I think it breaks her heart to think that the mama didn’t wait for her little ones to come and find her in the ocean.  I do like her version of the story though.  The mama lays her eggs and waits patiently for her babies to hatch and make their way out to her.  She waits for every last one and then they all swim together in the ocean and she takes care of each of her babies until they are all grown up.  Then they visit for holidays and special occasions and just because.

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