Friday, July 24, 2009

The Birthday Chimp Self-Actualizes

Friday, July 24, 2009
15 comments
Julie Zickefoose with a hatchling leatherback turtle

Today, July 24, is Julie Zickefoose's birthday. Last night, in a full-on assault on commemorating her special day, our band of birders went to Matura Beach here in Trinidad, to witness the nesting of the leatherback turtles. Being the Science Chimp that she is, this was a BIG DEAL to Zick.

Here are photos to document her night spent communing with these giants of the sea. We started off with a few hatchlings which the turtle nest monitors let us hold and examine. Then we walked up the beach to watch several adult females dig nests in the sand and lay their eggs. It was a magical experience and a good way to spend a birthday.

Zick got to see the laying female up close. Every so often she would grunt. By 'she,' of course, I mean the adult female leatherback turtle.

While the female turtles lay their eggs, they go into a kind of torpor where almost nothing will disturb them. During these minutes, it's possible to touch the turtles. Once the laying stops, so do the close human/turtle encounters


Special thanks to Jeff Bouton from Leica Sport Optics, for inviting us to visit Asa Wright and Trinidad on this Leica-sponsored trip.

Happy birthday, Jules!

15 comments:

On July 24, 2009 at 4:07 PM littleorangeguy said...

Wow, them things is huge! Very cool, especially after your post about the sweet little box turtle. I'm sure more of this will be coming to a nearby blog very soon!

On July 24, 2009 at 7:13 PM Heron said...

Happy Birthday Science Chimp ! And such a wonderful way to celebrate.

On July 24, 2009 at 8:25 PM Trixie said...

Dang-o! Bill, will you throw me a birthday bash? ;-)

On July 24, 2009 at 9:27 PM Mary said...

Bill, this is a real birthday treat. Happy Birthday to Julie!

On July 24, 2009 at 9:50 PM Peg said...

The two of you certainly know how to have a good time 2gether !
Congrats on that & the b.d.

On July 24, 2009 at 10:05 PM Laura said...

Awwww! I was there with you! I'm Laura (tall blonde) and my friend, Jen and I were at Asa Wright to go on the 1:30 tour. You were so kind to share your knowledge and cameras with us. I've never seen a hummingbird so closely!

How fun to see your pictures, especially the loggerheads. You may recall that we were going to go see the turtles that evening, but we didn't end up going. So, thank you for posting your special turtle moments for all of us to see. I hope the rest of your time in Trini was just wonderful!

PS. I was looking for you, Bill Thompson, on facebook, but how appropriate that you are on Twitter. Cute. Tweet, tweet.

On July 24, 2009 at 10:15 PM KGMom said...

Bill--I am certainly GLAD you clarified who was doing the grunting.
I confess--you made me laugh out loud at that.

On July 24, 2009 at 11:10 PM Endment said...

What an exciting day

Happy Birthday

On July 25, 2009 at 11:06 AM Caroline said...

I can't think of a cooler birthday present than to hold an infant turtle in my hand and then send it on its way into the world!
Happy Birthday, Julie

On July 25, 2009 at 11:50 AM Vickie said...

Happy Birthday Julie! Awesome way to celebrate. Thanks for this tribute, Bill!

On July 25, 2009 at 9:43 PM cyberthrush said...

Happy 39th JZ!! (...and may the tortoise be with you)

On July 26, 2009 at 10:29 AM Heather said...

Happy belated B-day, JZ! Looks like it was a super osssum day for you!

On July 26, 2009 at 2:55 PM Beth in NYC said...

To hold and touch leatherback turtles... What an amazing gift! Happy Birthday, Julie!

Is this the location with that wonderful local woman who saved thousands of these turtles from hunting? Unfortunately I can't remember her name...

On July 26, 2009 at 8:44 PM nina at Nature Remains. said...

That gift is priceless.
What a wonderful way to celebrate a BIRTHday!

On July 27, 2009 at 6:27 PM Mel said...

Wow, that is such an awesome birthday present, to be able to witness those big guys.


[BACK TO TOP]