April 2021 & Historical Basking Data
April 2021 Basking Narrative
April 2021 saw 87 basking occurrences, 30 more than March but 25 less than April of 2019’s total of 112 (the last April for which we have valid figures).
*Due to COVID beach closings, no direct comparison with April 2020 can be made nor can there be comparisons with “last year” in regard to the running total of total baskings for the year. So… the best we can do is compare monthly totals with last year when we have them (January, February, June, July and October through December) and with 2019 (March, April, May August and September) when we don’t. For April, we don’t! Keep in mind that 2019 was our biggest basking year since 2013 when Brutus was still around for the entire year (he was last observed on the beach at Laniakea on April 7, 2014, after sunset).
Hence, at this point in the year, we are 28 basking occurrences behind 2019, 246 to 218.
In April there were 4 days when no turtles graced our shore; for last year we don’t have totals but there was only 1 such day in 2019 and 3 in 2018.
During April there were 15 different named (or soon to be named – see below) turtles that hauled out to bask along with 1 that was not identifiable as one of our `Ohana; in the prior month there were 13 different turtles along with 1 unidentifiable honu. In the 2 years immediately prior to 2020, there were 16 named turtles in March 2019 and 14 in 2018.
April saw (apparently) a new juvenile/subadult turtle join our Honu `Ohana. The same, formerly “unidentifiable,” turtle hauled out on 3 separate occasions (24th, 27th and 29th) and stayed for over an hour each time (once until after sunset). Normally this type of activity would just cause us to watch closely for this turtle to reappear before jumping to such a conclusion but… we have photographic evidence that this turtle has joined us before, back in June and July of 2020. Several of our other turtles have started their tenure here in the same way (bask a few times, take a several month hiatus and then become a regular basker). Malama na Honu is currently in the process of naming this turtle.
And there is MORE good news! In May, one of our long absent turtles, on hiatus for 31 months, returned to bask at our beach. We are all thrilled!! She’s been back a number of times since. Who is it? Who do you think it is? Log on next month to find out (and you can even adopt her!).
Our “top 3” baskers for April were Kulihi with 15 appearances, Oakley with 12 and Wooley-Bully with 9 appearances each. This was the first month in 2021 that Oakley was recorded as hauling out at Laniakea (his last recorded appearance had been in June of 2020). This was also the first time in 2021 that Oakley or Kulihi ranked in the “top three” baskers for the month.
April had multiple turtles out on 21 different days, with the greatest exodus from the water happening on the 21st when 7 different turtles hauled out.
The 15 different honu that appeared on the beach in April were Hiwahiwa, Olivia-Dawn, Oakley, Wooley-Bully, Punahele, Keoki, Kekoa, Kulihi, JP, Hilahila, Kaimana, Kaipua Makana, Maka Nui and... the Newbie, KANOA!
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%).
2020 Basking- 1/1/20-3/15/20, 6/1/20-8/8/20 & 9/24/20-12/31/20 (beaches were closed to the public & Malama na Honu for 123 days when no activity could legally be recorded)
|8) Maka Nui||28|
...and 4 of those we routinely track were absent: