Our night walk on Tuesday was for the Tour De Turtles participants. In the fall of 2021, South Carolina State Parks offered a new program called "Tour De Turtles". This paid and pre-registration program, let participants visit the coastal parks of South Carolina to experience different ranger-led sea turtle programs. At Edisto Beach State Park, the program feature was the Night Walk program.
The pressure was on last night as the two previous programs held at Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park proved to be successful in sea turtle sightings. Thankfully the loggerheads did not disappoint on our beach as just a short walk down the beach, following the program, there was a sea turtle emerging! We witnessed her through the night vision monocular until she was in a safer stage. As a permitted walk, we then were able to guide participants in a way to ensure the sea turtle was not disturbed.
As we were witnessing the nesting sea turtle, there was an individual walking the beach with a white light, not associated with our group. After going to tell him to turn the lights off, there were two straggler hatchlings emerging from nest 59! We witnessed as they made their made dash down the beach and into the ocean.
The following morning we documented three new nests, one false crawl and no new nest emergences. The nest witnessed during our night walk program is marked as nest 332 on our state park beach. This nest was too low to the tide line and in need of relocation. This nest had 99 eggs that are now in a safer location. See below for several photos taken during the dawn patrol the next morning.
Sea Turtle Specialist