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Friday, September 21, 2012

Inventory Nest #8-Briarcliffe

July 23, Cindy and Larry find an adult loggerhead sea turtle on the beach when they arrive around 6AM.  Was she coming or going?  They quietly observed her as the turtle sat in a tide pool, she then raised her head, looked around and crawled to the ocean.

It soon became apparent why she was resting.  A long, long crawl was traced back to where she had nested.  The crawl was estimated to be about 1,750 yards from start to finish.

55 Days later, Sept. 16th, the hatchling quietly and quickly, unseen by anyone,  emerge from the sand.  The only evidence is found by Larry the next morning, a shallow depression and lots of tracks going straight to the ocean.

The depression deepens as the day goes on, eggs settling or more hatchlings getting ready to emerge?

Four days later, depression is almost gone, filled in by the blowing sands.  No tracks are visible.

Time to dig up and see what was in this nest.  A Natural or in situ nest, Maddy and Rob dig deep ......

Finally, EGG SHELLS!! 
Unhatched and hatched shells are slowly pulled from the egg chamber.  

Cindy watches.  She has been looking after this nest for a long time.

Larry starts to sort and count,

 separating the whole unhatched from the hatched.

To make counting easier, he places the hatched shells into piles of 10..

 Time to open the unhatched is recorded

These eggs never started to develop, runny yolk is still present

This egg died in late development, hatchling fully formed.  Look at the size of the yolk sac!!

Another egg died in late development.  Hatchling is further along in development, yolk sac is smaller.

After counting and data recorded, empty shells are returned to the original hole and covered up

Sun is setting, inventory is finished.  Last of six nests on the Briarcliffe Beach has successfully emerged.

Inventory results:

Nest was located on July 23, after the mother was seen on the beach at sunrise
Left in situ, 1 egg was taken for DNA Study, egg chamber covered and protected

Hatchlings emerged on Sept. 16th  Day 55

Nest was Inventoried on Sept 20th

108 Hatched eggs
10 whole or unhatched of which 8 died in early development, 2 died late development
No live or dead hatchlings were found in the egg chamber
Total 119 eggs laid,  118 incubated

91.5% hatchling success rate!!

A huge thanks to Larry, Cindy, Laura, Pat, Cherie, Judy E, Judy C and the rest of the Briarcliffe Community who helped all summer find and protect the 6 nests found on this beautiful beach.  All emerged, all had a great success rate and all the hatchlings ran to the ocean without any interference.

Thank you Larry and Julie for your pictures!!!

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