The start of July was the one month mark of our hawksbill monitoring season in Antigua. While over 29 years of monitoring (1987-2015) there has been a significant long-term increase in nesting numbers, June 2016 had a puzzlingly low amount of activity relative to previous Junes. We had 15 fewer nests than in June 2015 (24 vs. 39), as well as 8 fewer first time nesters recruiting into the nesting population, or “neophytes” (1 vs. 9).
While we have a few hypotheses as to what could be driving this trend (e.g. possible offseason foraging habitat degradation), we will evaluate them further as the season progresses. Other regional projects are not reporting the same trend to date. Moreover, the season is still quite young. We are hoping that July will bring an upswing in activity!