October & November 2020 & Historical Basking Data
October & November 2020 Basking Narrative
The second full beach closure of 2020 ended on September 24th and Malama na Honu Guardians are back at work helping our “threatened” Honu peacefully bask on the beach at Laniakea.
With 2 full (April and May) and 3 partial (March, August and September) months when neither visitors nor Malama na Honu Guardians were permitted to legally be on the beach during 2020, our statistical record of the activity of the Laniakea Honu `Ohana this year has some serious holes in it. This will prevent any meaningful comparisons of this year’s basking occurrences with prior or future years. That said, there is still a lot of information we can impart regarding both current activity and comparisons with specific months for which we have data for 2020.
Currently, our statistics begin again with October and, hopefully, won’t experience any more COVID-19 breaks.
October saw 40 basking occurrences (compared to 46 last year) and November experienced 48 (compared to 55 in 2019). These were the first months of 2020 (for which we have records) that basking occurrences were below the 2019 level. For the full year in 2019, we had the highest basking numbers (741) since Brutus’s last full year at Laniakea in 2013. In the 6 months for which we have records, a turtle has hauled out onto the beach to bask 82 more times in 2020 than in 2019 (384 to 302).
While we’ll never know for sure, it seems likely that 2020’s numbers could have eclipsed 2019's numbers. This idea is buttressed by the fact that in 2 of the 5 months access to the beach was restricted and MnH did not have a presence there nearly every day, (or all day on any day someone was able to be there), the incomplete and unofficial records show March and September basking numbers also exceeded those from the prior year.
In October there were 8 days when no turtles graced our shore; in November there were 7 such days. Last year there were 9 and 7 respectively.
During October there were 11 different named turtles that hauled out to bask; in November there were also 11. These numbers are exactly the same as both months in the prior year. Last year there were no unidentifiable turtles over the 2 month period. This year there were 3 (2 in Oct., 1 in Nov.)
Our “top 4” baskers for October were Makana and Olivia-Dawn with 8 basking occurrences each and Kekoa with 6 times out. November saw Makana again leading the pack with 9 times hauling out, Kulihi with 8 and Kekoa with 6 appearances.
October had multiple turtles out 12 different times with the greatest exodus from the water happening 5 different times with a total of 3 turtles each.
November’s multiple turtle count stretched to 15 days with November 12th seeing the most activity with 5 turtles coming ashore to sun themselves.
The 11 different honu that appeared on the beach in October were: Hiwahiwa, Olivia-Dawn, Wooley-Bully, Punahele, Kekoa, Kulihi, JP, Maka Nui, Makana, Kaimana and Kaipua.
Nine of the same turtles as above appeared again in November with Mana and Keoki joining the group and Wooley-Bully and Maka Nui failing to show.
As mentioned above, due to beach closings and our inability to have a legal presence on the beach all day, every day for 5 months of this year, no meaningful figures comparing 2020 to 2019 exist.
Historical Year End 2019 Basking Narrative
(see the “Historical” section of the Basking Charts for graphic representation of some of this info)
Basking frequency at Laniakea took a distinct downturn in 2014 and 2015 with the disappearances of first Brutus (who had basked around 200 times per year) and then Kuhina (who hauled out 100 times or so annually). While we may never get back to the levels of 2013 and prior, the year 2019 represents a major upturn in Honu basking as we recorded an increase in basking occurrences for the second year in a row (and actually this was the first time in our reliable recorded history back to 2009 that this has happened!).
In 2019, 741 occurrences of basking took place by turtles that hauled out onto our shore. That represents a 12.6% increase from 2018 and 46.1% more than appeared in 2017. Even so, 2019 was an “odd” year. We currently “track” 20 turtles, 14 that bask only on the “beach” (north side of Laniakea) and 6 that bask only on the “shelf” (south side of Laniakea). Overall, only 7 turtles basked more in 2019 than in 2018 but the ones that did, basked so much more than last year that we ended up 83 basking occurrences on the plus side even with 3 turtles not showing up at all!
On the “beach” side, Punahele basked 64 more times in 2019 than in 2018. Maka Nui, in this honu’s first full year of basking, hauled out 40 more times, Olivia-Dawn appeared 7 more and Sapphire one. Missy was our worst performer, showing up 32 fewer times than the year before. Overall, the beach side had 4 turtles that increased their basking, and 10 that decreased (including 2 that never showed up at all….. Isabella and Hao).
On the “shelf,” Kaimana increased basking by 49 appearances, Makana by 36 and Kaipua by 12. On the downside, Keoki and Hilahila were short of last year and Tripod was totally absent.
Our statistics also tell us about comings and goings and the duration of time on the beach. Looking at the `Ohana overall, of the turtles that haul out, slightly more than half do so between 12:00 noon and 3:00 pm. When broken down between beach and shelf groups, the numbers change. The beach group comes out slightly later and the shelf group earlier. At the beach, 52.8% of the basking starts between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm whereas on the shelf it starts 64.2% of the time during the 3 hour period beginning at 11:00 am (and almost gets to half between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm with 47.4%).
Another interesting aspect of turtle basking is to see more than one turtle out on the beach at the same time. Every month in 2019, we had at least one day with 5 or more turtles up and one day in each of April, May and July with 8 turtles resting peacefully on the beach.
Individually, 4 turtles stayed overnight at least once 9 different times during the year (Wooley-Bully 4, Kulihi 2, Punahele 2, & Sapphire 1), with Punahele recording the earliest sunrise time at 5:49 am. Other than sunrise, Hiwahiwa clocked the earliest time out of the water at 7:30 am. The latest to emerge from the water was Oakley at 6:15 pm. Median times out for all the turtles (i.e. the mid-point in recorded times with half of the emergences occurring before that time and half occurring after) ranged from 11:23 am to 3:12 pm.
In regard to the duration of time individuals spend on the beach, they ranged from 0:02 minutes for Hiwahiwa to 13 hours and 22 minutes for Punahele on the day she “clocked in” at 5:49 am at sunrise and stayed on the beach through sunset. The range of “average duration of time out of the water” for our “beach” turtles is 1:58 for Maka Nui (in 61 appearances) to 4:21 for Oakley (in 36 appearances). On the “shelf” they ranged from 1:15 for Kaimana (with more than half of 83 appearances under 45 minutes) to 3:45 for “old timer” Keoki on 22 visits.
While we cannot reasonably monitor a turtle’s time on the beach after dark, we do measure how often a basking turtle stays past sunset.
During 2019 there were 735 separate appearances by members of our `ohana and 6 unidentified turtles. Discounting the unidentifieds, there were 370 times that a turtle that had hauled out (no matter what time of the day) was still on the beach at sunset. That was more than HALF the time (50.3%).
Our “top ten” individual baskers from March 2019 through February 2020, the last full consecutive 12 month period for which we have reliable records
|7) Maka Nui||64|
...and the bottom 3 of those actually hauling out during the year: