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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nest #17!!!

This nesting female came ashore around 9PM.  Phyllis was walking along the beach and saw something at the water line.  At first she thought it was a person, then a mound of sand, thought maybe a log, then it moved!  A huge turtle raising out of the water.  She watched the turtle crawl up the shore and head up the beach.  Some kids came around, shining lights and taking pictures.  Halfway up the beach, the turtle turned, appeared to be heading back to the water, but stopped and started digging.  Phyllis called the authorities, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources called the NMB Sea Turtle Patrol.  Rob, Donita and Linda went to investigate.  Sure enough, a nesting loggerhead.  By this time, the beach was dark and quiet with only a handful of observers.  The turtle was facing toward the ocean as she dug her nest and laid the eggs.  When she was finished, we could see her cover the eggs, pat down the egg cavity and throw sand several times into the air.  She then turned parallel to the ocean and rested a short time.  Then she turned back toward the ocean and crawled back into the water. We could almost hear her sigh as she hit the wet sand.  She rested a few moments and the disappeared into the surf.  We followed  her dark shape as she swam out along a sand bar to the white breakers.

Rob and Linda were back at the nest first thing in the morning, meeting up with the Wednesday Walkers.

Allison, Jill and Terry, under Rob's guidance, uncovered the eggs.

78 eggs!!  
The nest was in the middle of the beach, so the eggs were moved back, closer to the dunes.

Lizzie, visiting from N.C. stopped by to see what was going on.  She quickly volunteered to help process the DNA egg.

Thank you Phyllis for placing that phone call and then staying with the turtle to make sure she was not disturbed while she nested.

Thank you Wednesday Walkers for coming after finishing your segment and helping with the relocation.

Nest #17!!!!

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