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Saturday, August 15, 2015

NMB Nest #4

 Wednesday night, August 5th, day 49, sand depresses, falls and a large hole appears.  One or two hatchlings are seen close to the top but not moving, not ready to emerge.  

Thursday night, no change in hole, no hatchlings emerge.

Around 10PM a thin layer of sand is place over the hole, covering the hatchlings from the anticipated hot sun the next day.  

Friday night, a hatchling appears on the surface around 7:30PM.  Soon two other hatchlings can be seen.  First hatchling emerges by itself just before dark and races to the water  Second hatchling follows a short time later.  Nest then appears very still as the rest of the hathclings gather just under the sand.  As darkness falls, the hole fills with hatchlings....Within the hour after darkness, the mass exit takes place.  Bad timing, low tide, surf is quiet, tide pool and sandbars makes their journey longer, but once the tide changes and sandbars are covered and tide pools deepen and connect to the waves, things change and all hatchlings disappear into the surf.   

Saturday night check and all is well with the nest,  no apparent activity, no new hatchlings.  Early  Sunday morning check,  Fox or dog has dug up the egg chamber, egg shells scattered all around.

Fox Track?

 A hatchling is found in the empty shells, struggling to climb out of the hole

It is pulled out and released on the beach

Three more live hatchlings are found at the bottom of the hole, covered in egg shells.

All are released on the beach and protected as they make their way to the ocean

Scheduled inventory is cancelled.  No way to determine how many eggs hatched, how many were broken open by the fox, although it appeared that only one or two were unhatched

136 eggs, 135 eggs were move to 42nd Ave N in Cherry Grove.  Hatchlings emerged on Friday night, August 7th around 10PM...52 days 

This nest was laid around 10 PM, on June 17th.  During a late evening walk, a NMB STP Volunteer came across the mother as she was laying eggs.  The nest was moved first thing the next morning, not only below the Spring High Tide line, but also in a private path from a rental cottage.

Thank you Carol for your picture, this picture was taken from behind as the mother was crawling back to the ocean

 1 egg taken for DNA.  DNA results showed that this mother has been nesting every 2 years, in 2011, she laid 3 nests, one on the Debidue Beach, one on Myrtle Beach and the last one on North Myrtle Beach.  In 2013 she nested 3 times, all on NMB.  This was her 2nd nest of 2015, both nests were in a block of each other in Cherry Grove.

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