February 2019 Basking
February basking continued being positive in spite of 8 straight days of no turtle appearances mid-month (2/9-2/16) presumably due, at least in part, to the enormous swells and horrible weather our state experienced during that period. Even so, as we’ve come to expect, basking began to noticeably pick up in the last half of the month with 19 basking occurrences in 4 days from February 20ththrough the 23rd. There were 37 total basking occurrences during the month compared to 33 last year and 34 the year before.
The February 2019 total was the most we’ve had since February 2014 when 54 appearances were made on the beach. Our total basking for the year is 17 more than last year!
The number of different turtles basking each month in 2018 was generally higher than 2017, and that trend is continuing so far into 2019. During February there were 12 different named turtles that hauled out onto the beach to bask. Last February there were only 9 and the year before only 7. In fact, it is important to note that this was the largest number of different turtles basking in January since 2014 (when there were also 12)! The last time there were more than 12 different turtles on the beach in February was way back in 2011 when there were 14 (and this group included Brutus, Scallop, Kuhina and Kaheka, all on hiatus from the beach for 3 years or more).
Our “top three” baskers for February were Kekoa with 7 appearances, JP with 5 and Olivia-Dawn with 4. February suffered 11 days without a turtle on the beach, up from the 7 such days experienced during the prior year but remember, there were also “special” circumstances this year and we still ended up with more basking occurrences this year.
February had multiple turtles only 8 different times but there were 7 different honu out on February 23rd!
Of our 20 “active” turtles, more than half (12) hauled out in February. Only Oakley and Missy from the “top ten” failed to appear. Hiwahiwa, Olivia-Dawn, Keoki, Kekoa, Kulihi, JP, Maka Nui Mana, Punahele, Wooley-Bully, Makana & Kaimana graced our shore with their presence.
Our “top ten” individual baskers for the past 12 months were
...and the bottom 3 were: