Last night I had a dream that we had to relocate a nest and sure enough the first nest was below the highest tide line.
This was great practice for our interns and I got to get updated photographs for our night walk. It is best if the turtle's nest can stay in situ, however, if the nest is below the high tide line it may not make it. The indicator of the high tide line in the photograph is the washed up cord grass.
When relocating we carefully pick up the eggs and make sure not to rotate them. We place them one by one into a relocation pail. We measure the old egg chamber and then make a new chamber on higher ground. We do our best to duplicate the one dug by the turtle.
Once our new egg cavity is dug, we place the eggs in one by one. When we relocate we also count the eggs. The nest we moved this morning had 121 eggs. This is an average clutch size for a loggerhead sea turtle.
Our second nest we came to was predated by a raccoon. This is the first time I have seen a nest on EBSP be predated before we were able to mark it off. We counted the 87 predated eggs and buried them back in the marsh. There were 52 eggs that were not predated. Therefore this turtle had a clutch size of 139! We moved these eggs away from the previous nest and in a new egg chamber.
We had two false crawls this morning as well.
Sea Turtle Biologist