Friday, August 22, 2008
Quick hits: Some good news for Loggerheads ... not so much for N.C. apples
Loggerheads nesting in bigger numbers
"Nearly two hours before dawn Wednesday, the beaches on Hilton Head Island are empty," writes Hilton Head Island Packet.
"The only sounds are of sloshing waves and the low hum of two all-terrain vehicles whose riders scan the 12 miles of beach for loggerhead hatchlings.
"This is a banner nesting year on Hilton Head, where 199 nests have been discovered. It is the second largest nesting season since 1985 – the year the local Sea Turtle Protection Project began.
"Loggerheads are setting records statewide and they're laying eggs in large numbers in North Carolina as well. Across South Carolina, more than 3,000 nests have been found and numbers are up in Georgia and Florida. But those numbers don't guarantee the species' continued survival.
"Despite strong nesting, biologists warn the population of these rare turtles, which can weigh up to 300 pounds and live to be 100 years old, is still at risk. ..."
Drought shrinks apple size
"The Henderson County apple crop could take a serious hit from the drought, with some growers estimating apple size will be down considerably," says the Asheville Citizen-Times.
"Apple processors and grocers want apples that are at least 2.5 inches in diameter, and growers usually have little trouble meeting that threshold. But the lack of rainfall this year has resulted in much smaller fruit in the county’s 6,146 acres of orchards.
" 'This year you’re probably looking at 70-80 percent of them that are going to be that size — at least 2 1/2 inches,' said Adam Pryor, president of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association. Pryor’s family grows 100 acres of apples in Henderson County’s Edneyville community.
" 'If we get a little bit of water in the next week or so, that could change. There’s still time for them to put some size on,' Pryor said.
"Marvin Owings, an extension agent and apple specialist with the Henderson County office of the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, said the extent of the small-sized crop will depend on how much growers thinned out their trees this spring. The more apples they thinned, the larger the remaining fruit. ..."
(Loggerhead turtle baby photo from Wikipedia)