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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!!!

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