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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of July Nest

Cherry Grove-Fourth of July Celebrations-Fireworks on the Cherry Grove Pier-Beach is packed with people celebrating with their friends and families. Nest #1 showing signs of emerging.  Members of the Patrol gathered on the beach near Nest 1, just in case the hatchlings would decide to make an appearance during the festivities.  After the major fireworks display from the Pier, John got restless and decided to take a walk.  Just before midnight, he ran into a huge turtle crawl, not very far from where all the fireworks had gone off.  Looking up the beach, he discovered the nesting turtle was still on shore, up in the dunes.  This turtle must have come ashore either during the fireworks display or just after.  How it remained undetected by anyone until John saw her is a mystery.  She was huge, over 36 inch wide crawl, massive head.

She crawled up one dune, turned around on the top and slide down the face, 

crawled parallel to the ocean to another dune.

Crawled up this dune, and again slid down, turning and going back to the ocean.  Big mystery, where and if she ever nested.  This area was roped off for the night until it could be probed and searched.

 John and Betty were back early to start hunting for the nest. Regular Tuesday walkers Steve, Bobby, Debbie were soon on the scene as well.  

Another crawl was discovered a few yards from the original.  Mystery, same turtle, different?  Crawl width was measure,  almost the same.

No defined body pit was apparent in the first crawl.  But several suspicious spots were probed with no luck.  The second crawl ended with a good size body pit, when this was probed

The egg cavity was soon discovered.

Debbie and her granddaughters Mackenzie and Hannah searched and soon found the eggs.

The girls chose the egg to be taken for the DNA study and helped put into the vial.

The nest was in a great spot, at the base of the dune so was left natural.  This mother had a busy, noisy night but she finally found the right spot.

Thank you John and Betty.  And a big thanks to the Tuesday Segment A walkers Steve, Bobby and Debbie.  Thanks to Mackenzie and Hannah for helping.  A great way to end the 4th of July Celebration.

Nest #11

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