September 2019 Basking
September continued the normal downturn pattern in basking over the course of a calendar year with fewer turtles appearing on the beach than last month... but not many fewer! That said, there were 60 basking occurrences compared to 63 in August. As it was for last month, this was our most active September since 2013, the last September our beloved Brutus basked at Laniakea. While we were down 3 appearances from August (63), our increase of 15 over last September managed to put us 35 basking occurrences ahead of last year at this time. That is significant given that as I write this, we have already surpassed last October’s total for this year.
In September, there was only 1 day when no turtle came out of the water. During the past 5 years (2014-2018), September has averaged 8 days with no turtles out. For the previous 5 years (2009-2013) the average was less than 2 (again, Brutus was still with us)! Over the past 12 months, we’ve had at least 1 turtle haul out on 76.2% of the days.
During September there were 12 different named turtles that hauled out to bask. That is 1 fewer than both last month and last September. This month we had no unidentifiable turtle visit.
Our “top three” baskers for September (4 with a tie for third place) were Makana with 11 appearances, Kulihi with 9 and both Maka Nui and Kaimana with 6 each.
September had multiple turtles out 16 different times with September 6th and 29thexperiencing the greatest exodus from the water with 6 different honu hauling out onto the beach on each of those days.
All of our 12 month “top ten” baskers appeared on the beach in September. Overall, Hiwahiwa, Olivia-Dawn, Kekoa, JP, Maka Nui, Punahele, Makana, Kaimana, Wooley-Bully, Kulihi, Oakley and Kaipua graced our shore with their presence.
Unfortunately, this month is the 3rd in a row that becomes a potential milestone in the membership of our basking `ohana. July saw us reach the one year mark in not having Hilahila (part of the class of 2015) appear on the beach. Last month, Tripod (first appearing in 2004 or 2005) passed that same mark and September has seen Isabella (first appearing prior to 2003) and Hao (joining in 2010 as Hao`okanaka) added to the group that has not been sighted at Laniakea in over a year. Isabella is known for accumulating large numbers of barnacles, once counted at well over 100. Hao had to undergo a name change because the English translation of her original name, Ironman, was no longer appropriate when “she” matured into a female turtle. Hao also had an unfortunate run-in with a watercraft in 2015 that, while it left her shell severely scarred, apparently did not cause any permanent damage.
Our “top ten” individual baskers for the past 12 months were
|6) Maka Nui||60|
...and the bottom 3 of those actually hauling out during the year: