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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

NMB Nest #4

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 
being relocated

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 
around her.

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.

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