Tuesday, July 29, 2014
After investigating two false crawls Monday morning, hope was the turtle was not to traumatized and would be back to nest. Didn't have to wait to long. NMB Dispatch calls the NMB STP around 10:15PM, report just came in of a large turtle on the beach. Only 5 blocks south from where the turtle was harassed the night before. Sure enough, turtle was in the middle of the beach, throwing sand and finishing the nesting process. But, turtle was surrounded by a group of people, flashlights shining from all sides. Request was quickly made to turn the lights off, let her finish in the dark. Everyone watched in the dark as she finished and slowly crawled back into the ocean.
Next morning, only a short length of her outgoing crawl remained down by the water line. Incoming crawl had been completely erased from all of the people walking around and watching her.
Sun just starting to rise, beach has already been raked
Short outgoing crawl in the wet sand
Beach had already been raked at 6AM so crawl ended in the raked area
In the deeper, dryer sand near the body pit, outgoing crawl is barely visible among all of the human tracks
Body Pit. Turtle nested in the middle of this wide beach. Soft layer of sand was only inches deep,
sand under this layer is very dense and hard packed
No incoming track is left after being completely wiped out by all people walking around as the turtle nested.
Egg cavity is difficult to locate. This turtle had a strange body pit with piles of sand.
lots of thrown sand, egg chamber was finally found but not where initially thought to be
Two spacer eggs, more common in Leatherback Turtle Nests than
in Loggerhead Nests are found. Placed next to a golf ball (about the size of a normal
loggerhead egg) to show size. No known reason for these little eggs, though
might be excess calcium mother is getting rid of
One egg taken for DNA. Being examined by a NMB STP
Because the nest is located in the middle of this busy beach, in the way of Sanitation, NMB Beach Patrol and beach users, the nest is relocated to a quieter part of the beach
116 eggs, 1 egg taken for DNA, 115 eggs being relocated
Empty Egg Chamber
Processing the DNA Egg
Relocating eggs to a new home
Youngest volunteers decide to dig in the sand as the eggs are
Poles going up
Eggs are resting in new home
Poles and orange DNR sign are up marking the nest
A huge thanks to all who helped this brave mother nest last night. Although
not a relaxed, dark environment, she was determined and accepted all the people hovering
A thanks to Jake, Mike and Bob for calling NMB Dispatch and then calling the NMB STP. Thanks for your pictures.
A special thanks to the family who met me on the beach by following my red light and showed me where the nest was. My initial location was 4 or 5 blocks off so I walked a good distance before finding the nest.
Thanks to all of the Tuesday Volunteers who walked their assigned segment and then helped with the nest. Thanks to the other NMB STP Volunteers who came on their time off and helped.
Thank you Sue for the pictures.
Posted by NMB Sea Turtle Patrol at 7:19 PM
Monday, July 28, 2014
Sunday night...Call came in around 10:30PM, Turtle on the beach, think she is nesting but a large group of people, 40 or more, are harassing her, touching her, taking flash pictures, shining bright lights on her. Very loud...have chased her up into the narrow beach access/walkover of a busy high rise.
Tracks left on the beach Monday morning
Turtle was chased up this narrow walkover
Turtle stop at the top of the walkway and tried to crawl into the adjacent dunes.
She was stopped by this old sand fence.
Vegetation was trampled down by her large body
Trying to turn back to the ocean, turtle went a few feet up this handicapped ramp
People coming down the ramp were asked to use the stairs, they refused,
stepping over the turtle instead
Once turned in this shallow walkway, turtle sped down to the ocean
Police and the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol arrive on the scene but the poor
turtle has already been chased back into the water
Later, in the early morning hours, a NMB Patrol Officer, patrolling the beach comes across a long incoming and out going crawl.....about 19 blocks North of earlier activity. This time a quiet, dark part of the beach. Turtle crawls up the wide beach to the dunes, crawls up a dune, slipping and sliding in the soft sand, runs into dense vegetation which she plows through and turns back toward the water sliding down the dune.
As the sun rises, NMB STP Volunteers start to work the crawl
Incoming and outgoing crawl
Outgoing crawl is slightly longer than incoming, could be an indication of a nest
Beach is very wide, both crawls are very long
Crawling up the dune, sand is deep but very soft. On the left
it can be seen where the sand collapsed onto her
She crawled through this dense vegetation, trampling and breaking some of the dune grass
The area was probed and probed but no egg chamber was found
False crawl #5
This large hole was found in an adjacent dune....Fox Den???
Hole was much to large to be ghost crab, different appearance as well
Stan and Mary check out the crawl
Monday, Segment C walkers
False Crawls #4 and #5
This poor turtle was harassed. All she wants is to lay her eggs in peace. It was surprising she
came back a second time that night.
A huge thanks to the two people who took the time and cared enough to call the police and the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol
A big thanks to the NMB Police
Copy of a report filed with SC DNR
Posted by NMB Sea Turtle Patrol at 6:24 PM
Friday, July 25, 2014
Exactly 3 weeks since NMB Nest #2 was located, NMB STP Volunteer, Jill was stopped as she entered the beach this morning by NMB Sanitation. "Think we might have a turtle nest a few blocks north!" Jill quickly went to the location, sure enough, a crawl up and down the beach, incoming crawl ended in the dunes. Lots of thrown sand and uprooted vegetation. The word spread and other volunteers quickly arrived on the scene.
Incoming tracks crossed over by Sanitation truck, middle portion of tracks erased by
Turtle tracks com-mingled with truck tracks
View of both incoming and outgoing tracks as seen from the dunes, looking toward the ocean
Turtle crawled over sections of incoming crawl on her way back to the ocean
Body pit in the dunes, dune grass is trampled down and broken in spots
Body pit is probed and soft sand, egg chamber is quickly found. Probe marks the spot
Preparing to dig carefully to uncover the egg chamber
Sand is soft, broken roots are exposed an indication the turtle was digging in this spot
Yes, eggs are uncovered
Although in a seemly good spot, high on a dune and protected by dune grass, the nest was laid in the center of a private walkway from a rental cottage. Decision is made to relocate the nest away from the walkway.
Eggs are carefully moved, one by one to a bucket for transport to new location
Dune Grass that was broken or uprooted as the mother dug her hole and then tried to hide the egg cavity.
One egg is taken for the DNA Study. Interested NMB STP Volunteers are very interested and allowed to hold this one egg
Egg is processed for the DNA Study, Yolk is released into the ocean, shell is placed in a vial for transport for analysis
Pam shows how deep the original egg cavity is
GPS position of original nest is taken
All eggs are removed from egg chamber and the hole is covered up
112 eggs less one egg taken for DNA Study
New egg chamber is quickly dug with a cockleshell, Pam measures it with her arm
Eggs are carefully taken from bucket and placed, one by one in new hole
Poles go up around the new egg chamber to keep people out
A very hot and humid morning, but a very satisfying morning for the volunteers who worked with this nest
Thanks Pam and Jill
Weeks of walking have finally paid off
NMB Nest #3 is Official
A huge thanks to Jill and Pam, regular walkers on this segment
Thanks to Donna and Maddy for helping this morning
Thanks to Michael for his pictures
Posted by NMB Sea Turtle Patrol at 6:28 PM