Approaching the record
As of June 29th, we have 168 nests on our 1.5 mile beach. Last year was the record with 178, so we only have 11 more nests until we surpass it and it's not even July!
I will definitely make a post when we do pass the record, I think it may be in the first week of July!
Night Walk 6/25
Another successful night walk! We walked all the way to Jeremy's Inlet before we saw a turtle. She had already finished nesting and was heading back to sea. Her nest is# 165. The ID number to adopt the nest is: 151886
When walking back to the day use area we came across 2 other crawls! The next morning we had 6 nests on our beach!
Night walk - 6/23
We had our first night walk where we didn't see a turtle. This week has been slower then the previous week for nesting. The following day after the night walk we only had one nest. So the chances of seeing a turtle was pretty slim. I'm sure it will pick up again soon!
We are currently at 146 nests and we have our nest #1 that has past the day 45 mark of incubation!
Daytime nesting turtle
I mentioned in an earlier post about the sea turtle we had nest during the day. Our interpretive ranger at the park took some great photos of her! Here is a slideshow of some of his photos:
Night walk - 6/21
Last night we walked to the very end of our state park beach without seeing a turtle but on our way back we had tracks! She was already laying her eggs so we got to come witness her finish laying, cover her eggs and then head back into the ocean. This nest is number 140 on our beach! If you are looking to adopt the nest it's ID # is: 148845
See the above header "adopt a nest" to learn how to adopt a nest from our beach!
Here are a couple photos from the dawn patrol of 6/22:
A tricky nest to find
On Tuesday, I was on patrol with Sherry. We had 4 nests and a false crawl. The one nest was a tricky one. The turtle came up into the dune grass turned around and left. It looked like a false crawl but we found eggs! The grass was still rooted and there wasn't a distinct body pit or thrown sand. This turtle must have been smaller! We were so excited to have found eggs here.
Here are a couple photos from this morning:
A Record Morning!
On Sunday, June 19th, we had our busiest morning ever recorded at the state park!
Ray and Ashby had a very busy morning with 10 loggerhead sea turtle nests!
Luckily with the high tides the night before they were all in situ, so none of the nests had to be relocated. This makes our total at 127 nests so far this season.
Night walk 6/21 - A Success!
So far we have been successful in seeing a loggerhead turtle on every night walk! On Saturday we walked to the end of the camping area and we saw a loggerhead finish spraying sand on top of the chamber and then quickly making her way to sea.
We turned around and started to make our way back when we saw another turtle up the beach. I was informed from the individuals already there that there was a 2nd turtle not too far down the way! The nest we watched lay was nest #122, the turtle we saw quickly head into the water was nest # 124. If you are looking to adopt either of these nests the ID number on the adopt page for these nests are:
Nest 122: 148484
Nest 124: 148491
See the header above to go to learn how to adopt a nest!
How-to adopt a nest!
I have mentioned in my night walk presentations that you can adopt a nest from our beach on seaturtle.org. Click the button below to be taken to the adoption page. From here you can choose our state park beach and can specifically choose the nest you would like to adopt!
I thought it showed the specific number of nest on our beach but instead it shows an act ID number. So for those on the previous night walk and looking to adopt the nest we saw, here are the ID numbers:
Tuesday June 14th: 146367 (nest #106)
Saturday June 11th: 146296 (nest #87)
Thursday June 9th: 143970 (nest #82)
Night Walk - June 14th
We were happy to have another successful night walk! We witnessed a loggerhead sea turtle finish laying her eggs and then head back into the water. It took her a while as it was fairly low tide. She was tired but she made it! The nest we saw on the night walk was 106 on our beach!
The following morning I was on patrol with Krystal. She was the sea turtle specialist at the state park when I was an intern here. We had the busiest morning yet with 8 nests and 5 false crawls. We relocated two of the nests as well. See below for a few photos from the morning patrol.
Night Walk - June 11th
We had a great time at our night walk last night watching a massive loggerhead turtle lay her eggs! This turtle had a carapace of 3.4 ft length and 3 ft width. This morning I was on dawn patrol and worked with an awesome volunteer, Ray, to mark off the nest. Here is a photo of the eggs and the nest all protected. This nest is number 87 on our beach.
We had a total of four nests and one false crawl on our beach. Two of the turtles decided to nest right beside two of our previous nests. Thanks Ray for all the help this morning!
Night Walk - June 9th
We had another successful night walk and this time got to see her lay her eggs. When I first approached her she was just digging her egg chamber so we gave her about 15-minutes and then I checked on her again. Sure enough, she was laying her eggs!
The next morning we marked it off and protected the nest. This marks nest #82!
This morning we found a total of six nests, making our total 86.
Here are the photos of nest # 82, the one from the night walk:
Lots of Excitement!
Our first night walk of the season went very well! We walked to the end of the campground when we saw a sea turtle. From the looks of things, she had been there for a while and she was not nesting, so we assumed she had finished laying her eggs. She was one of the largest loggerhead sea turtles I have ever seen! I wish I could have measured her carapace!
We watched her eventually make her way back to the ocean. There was a bright white light at one of the campsites, that seemed to disorientate her a little bit as her route to the ocean wasn't as direct.
In the morning I got a text at 6:30 am from Nicole that there was a nesting sea turtle! She came up at 5:45 am and was discovered by a camper. Luckily, nothing spooked her and she continued to lay her eggs. Here is a few photos of her heading back to the ocean.
Nicole and Nancy had notified me that they were unable to find the eggs in the body pit of the nest from the night walk. I walked up the beach further and searched for two hours looking for the eggs. I removed a layer of sand and probed the sand again. I then proceeded to use my hands to feel for softer spots and dig and dig and dig. It is hard leaving a body pit without finding the eggs.
We have listed the nest that we saw during the night walk as PN# 2. Meaning that this is a possible nest (and the second possible nest of the season). We have roped it off and will keep an eye on it around the 45-60 day mark to see if there were indeed eggs hidden. She may have fooled us or perhaps she didn't nest at all and we witnessed the end of her false crawl. There was a bright white light at one of the campsites, that may have caused her to be scared out of nesting.
Here is the body pit from PN#2:
Photos from the night walk presentation:
73 Nests & Tropical Storms
As of June 7th we have 73 nests on our state park beach! We are off to a great start and are currently ahead of last year's record by this time.
We have our first public night walk tonight that we are excited for! I give a 45-minute presentation to 30 participants and then we walk our 1.5 mile beach looking for a nesting loggerhead sea turtle. I will update the blog tomorrow on how we made out!
This past weekend we had another tropical storm, Colin, hit us. It formed in the Gulf, so we mainly had a lot of rain. Unfortunately, we also had a King Tide hit us this weekend so a few of our nests are not too happy.
A nest can be washed over several times but too many wash overs will drown a nest. The tide created a pool on top of nest 4, but I am trying to stay positive that there will still be hatchlings that make it. I went for a walk during the highest tide on Saturday night and jotted down the nest numbers that had been washed over. We record this information into seaturtle.org, as well as notify DNR.
I am hoping that the tropical storms stay away for a little while!
We had a total of 5 nests that were washed over. Some were only a little bit, so they will be fine. A few had a pretty rough time with the water. When a sea turtle nests, we see if it is below or above the current high tide, if it is below then we move it. But if it is above, then we leave it. Unfortunately, you cannot predict what the weather will do to our beach.
Here are a couple photos of some washed over nests that I took while walking the beach at the highest tide:
A Successful Night Walk
Last night we had a run-through of our sea turtle night walk with the staff of EBSP. I gave a presentation on the loggerhead sea turtle and then we went to the beach to begin our walk.
During the night walk, I walk ahead of the group to spot a turtle. I found one just meters down the beach and she had started laying her eggs already. We all gathered behind her to watch her nesting process. We watched her for an hour as she finished laying, covered up her egg chamber, and then finally headed back to sea.
We were so thrilled we saw her nest last night! We are hoping for the same success on our public night walks that begin Tuesday June 7th.
I was on patrol this morning with one of our volunteers, Kathy. We had 4 nests and two false crawls. Kathy found the eggs with the probe for the first time for nest 58 and found the eggs in nest 59! Here are a couple photos from today's patrol:
What a start to June!
This morning Nicole went on a patrol with two volunteers, Skip & Susan, and boy were they busy! There were seven nests this morning and two false crawls, making our total nest count to 48.
Here are some photos from this morning:
Sea Turtle Biologist