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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Inventory Briarcliffe Nest #2

Braircliffe Nest #2 was discovered on July 4th.  Mother turtle came up the beach and quickly turned back into the water.  She came back a few yards South and crawled just below the dunes and nested.
Crawl was called in early the next morning... Eggs were relocated further up the dunes just behind the original nest. The water comes very high up on this beach, eggs were laid below the Spring High Tide Line.

Tuesday, September 2nd, 60 days later, a small depression was noticed when the nest was checked around 8PM.  A huge ghost crab ran into the depression, soon movement was seen and around 9PM a mass evacuation of the hatchlings.  All ran straight to the ocean.   2 straggler tracks were reported on Thursday morning, again going straight to the water.

Saturday night, July 6th. large depression often seen after a major emergence

Time to inventory the nest,  Larry starts digging

One lone hatchling is soon found, near the top of the egg chamber but burrowed into hard sand

3 whole, unhatched eggs are found, all still very white, little signs of bacterial decomposition.

When opened these eggs had failed to start to develop, yolk was still runny

Beach walkers stop to see what is going on.  Cindy shows them the hatchling and talks about the sea turtles.

Almost done

Hatchling is very active but is having trouble with left flipper


The empty holes are always so deep,   Larry's arm is completely in the hole, fingers just barely touching the bottom.

Hatchling is released on the beach and gently guided into the water.  She quickly disappears

A hang glider goes over as the hatchling is going in the water

Sun is setting.  Inventory is finished.  Last nest of the 2014 season for this beach

Inventory Results:

Nest was located on July 4th.  102 eggs, 101 were moved back, higher up the dunes, 1 egg was taken for DNA

Hatchlings emerged around 9PM on September 2nd, Day 60

102 eggs
1 egg taken for DNA
98 Hatched eggs
3 Unhatched or Whole eggs, all died in early development
1 live Hatchling in the Nest, No dead Hatchlings
97% Hatching success rate

DNA showed that both nest on Braircliffe, laid 11 days apart were by the same mother
DNA also showed that this same mother laid 5 nests on North Myrtle Beach in 2010

A Huge Thanks to Larry and Cindy for working this nest and the Inventory

A big thanks to all of the walkers on Braircliffe.  Short but great season!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Stranding on Myrtle Beach-Live Transport

Around 6PM on Tuesday, August 26, SC DNR called with a report of a live stranding on Myrtle Beach, 3 Ave S.  Transport needed to Sea  Turtle Hospital in Charleston.

Poor thing, front right flipper was badly damaged.  Old wound, bone exposed.

Shark Bite?  Boat Strike?

3 Myrtle Beach Beach Patrol Officers watched over
this turtle until helped arrive

Taken off the beach to a waiting car, carried in a large tarp to protect carapace

Arrival in SC Sea Turtle Hospital

Triage team is waiting and start working immediately

Pictures are taken



This little guy is in a lot of pain, pain killers are administered

Heart beat, very slow and irregular 

Lets hope for the best for this little turtle, very young juvenile, only about 50 pounds
Not only is flipper badly damaged, jaw is also compromised, missing section of
upper jaw with a barnacle settling into the void, indicating wound
is about 2 months old.  Later exam reveals damage to hind flipper as well as 

A hug thanks to the 3 Myrtle Beach Beach Patrol Officers and to any and all
who helped this poor turtle while on the beach.

A big thanks to NMB Sea Turtle Patrol Volunteer Maddy who helped transport to 
Charleston.  A 5 hour round trip, she kept me awake while driving the long, empty road, 
arriving back in NMB after 1 AM

Updates as they become available.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Inventory Briarcliffe Nest #1

Briarcliffe Nest #1 was found on the morning of June 23, just north of the "Crossover" on the Briarcliffe Beach.  This nest was laid just below the Spring High Tide Line, 108 eggs in original nest, 1 egg taken for DNA, 107 eggs moved higher up into the Dunes.

On Sunday, August 17, Day 55 of incubation, a crack forms around the egg chamber.  Hatchlings moving under the sand?

On Monday morning, August 18th, a major depression is found early in the morning.  But no tracks are
found to indicate a major emergence.  By the afternoon, beach is very windy and the hole is completely filled with sand.  Major thunder storm blows through around 7PM, heavy and cold rain

Tuesday Morning, small hole is noted around the egg chamber, a single track is noted around the egg chamber, did one or more hatchling emerge during the heavy rain?

No change on Wednesday morning, Day 58.  But late in the afternoon a call comes in on the NMB STP Hotline, "there is a big crack and movement, hatchlings can be seen."  Afraid the hatchlings will emerge during the extreme heat of the afternoon, sand is still very hot, Sherry and Cindy go to the nest, ready to grab the hatchlings as they come out to keep off the hot sand.  No hatchlings emerge before a thunder storm again chases them off the beach.

Cindy, Larry, Judy and other Briarcliffe STP come back to the nest after the storm. Around 8PM another crack and then a hole forms.   Just as dark is descending, 5 hatchlings emerge from the nest and make their way to the water.  No other activity is reported and the group leaves for the night.

Check of the nest early Thursday morning, day 59,  deep hole and tracks all over the beach, all heading for the water.  YES, finally evidence of a major emergence.  

Inventory is conducted on Sunday, the 4th night after the major emergence.  Larry digs up the egg 

And soon finds empty shells

One dead hatchling is found at the bottom of the egg chamber

One live hatchlings is found

Then, as a hatched shell is laid on the sand, another live hatchling tumbles out of the shell.

Was this it's egg shell or did it just crawl into an empty shell?

Hatchling is weak, neck is crooked.

Soon all egg shells are removed from the egg cavity, separated between whole, unhatched and hatched shells

The two live hatchlings are released on the beach and helped into the water

Thank you Larry, Cindy and Judy for the pictures.

Results of the Inventory

108 eggs laid  on June 23rd, 1 egg taken for DNA Study, 107 eggs relocated above 
the Spring HTL

Major emergence on August 21st, day 59

102 Hatched eggs
5 Unhatched, all died in early development
2 dead hatchlings found in the egg chamber
2 live hatchlings found and released on the beach

95% Hatchling Success Rate!!!

A huge thanks to all of the Briarcliffe Volunteers

Monday, August 18, 2014

Inventory NMB Nest #1

NMB Nest #1 was found by NMB STP Volunteer, Donna on June 12th.  The mother was still on the beach, sand was being thrown when Donna started her walk just before sunrise at the swash separating NMB from Briarcliffe.  Donna watched quietly as the turtle finished and slowly crawled back into the water.  Because the nest was laid on a very active beach and below the spring HTL, the nest was relocated to 50th Ave N, a darker quieter spot.  109 eggs were originally laid, 108 eggs were relocated, 1 egg was taken for the DNA sample.

62 days later, August 13th, hatchling emerge around 10PM, high tide, full moon has not appeared yet, sand falls, large hole forms and hatchlings immediately boil out.  All run straight to the ocean.

2 stragglers emerged around mid-night and crawled straight to the ocean, guided by the light of the moon.  A third hatchling emerged late the next afternoon and crawled across the hot, dry sand.  She was found in a tide pool, hot, exhausted and dehydrated.  She was keep on moist sand for a few hours and released near the water line at sunset. She immediately started her journey, swimming quickly away.

Inventory is conducted on Sunday, August 17th.  Crowd starts to gather, all wondering what is really under that sand.

NMB STP volunteers Jeannie and Stephanie along with Rob, dig into the hole, looking for eggs.  Soon one whole, unhatched egg is found, then handfuls of hatched eggs are pulled out of the hole. 

Younger NMB STP Volunteers trying to take a spin around the beach

2014 NMB Sea Turtle Patrol Volunteers

NMB Nest #1

Laid on June 12th, early morning, mother still on beach around 5:30AM

Nest laid South of 48th Ave S, below the spring HTL

Nest is relocated from a very busy, lighted section of the beach to a darker quieter section 
at 50th Ave N

109 Eggs in Nest
108 eggs relocated
1 egg taken for DNA Study

Hatchlings boiled out of nest on Wed. August 13th around 10PM, Day 62

Inventory on Sunday, August 17th

102 Hatch eggs
6 unhatched or whole eggs, all died in early development
0 dead hatchlings, 0 live hatchlings

94% Hatchling Success Rate

A Thank you to Donna to finding this nest
A Thank you to Sherry, Arlene and Connie for watching over this nest from day 50 until the hatchlings emerged on Day 62 of incubation
A huge thanks to Julie for her great pictures

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