The final Sullivan’s Island nest produced hatchlings during the night on Wednesday pm/Thursday am. This was Nest #11 which was laid very high on the tall dune chosen by this loggerhead mom on July 24th and discovered by Jenn Gragg. Thanks to the location of the nest and what Idalia left on the beach, we had to do quite a bit of maintenance a few days before the hatchlings came out. This included putting a 7” tall board at the back of the triangle to keep them from possibly crawling downhill behind the primary dune and into the maritime forest at Station 16. The second precaution was to remove about 25 feet of built up spartina sticks that had formed a barrier between the nest and the ocean. To guide them to the opening we made, we used not only a strip of black lawn edging but also debris that washed up in the storm including boards and a creosote post. We were happy to see that because of all this, the tiny tracks Thursday morning appeared to head straight down the hill and into the cleared space where they made it out onto the wide beach after 52 days of incubation
Nest #11 was not relocated, so we did not know how many eggs were laid. The inventory showed us that a total of 95 eggs were laid with 81 empty eggshells, 13 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings still in the nest. This means the hatch and emergence successes were 85.2%.
We are so grateful to all Sullivan’s Island Turtle Team members who made this a successful year and especially to those who went above and beyond and kept checking the nests that were still incubating after regular patrol ended on August 15. Thanks for a great season!
The last three nests laid in July were inventoried this morning and there was one live hatchling in each of them to be released by Trisha Hoff and Paige Hauff.
Nest #41 was found by Ann Thompson near 50th Avenue on July 18th, contained 101 eggs and incubated for 50 days. Today we found 92 empty eggshells, 8 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and one live one that was released by Trisha Hoff. Hatch success was 91% and emergence was 88.1%.
Nest #42 was found on July 22nd by Julia Vanderpool and Nancy Willms at the 8A Access Path, contained 113 eggs and incubated for 49 days. This nest was washed over during Idalia’s storm surge on August 31st which left sticks and debris on it. Inventory revealed 106 empty eggshells, 6 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling released by Trisha Hoff. Hatch success was 93.8% and emergence was at 92.9%.
Nest #43 contained 91 eggs and was found by Paige Hauff and Diane Troy in Wild Dunes at Beach Club Villas on July 23rd. It incubated for 50 days. There were 74 empty eggshells, 16 undeveloped eggs, one dead and one live hatchling which was released by Paige. Hatch success was 81.3% and emergence was 79.1%.
Jo checks out the morning surfers before giving the last little hatchling a head start
Another beautiful sunrise
The season is almost over.....the last four nests in the IOP
Nest #10 of 119 eggs found by Mary Irene Delamater, Janet Kennedy and Aussie Geer July 19 at Station 21 on Sullivan’s Island was hit pretty hard by the storm surge from Tropical Storm Idalia which took several inches of sand off the surface and washed the sticks and sign into the sea oats. We looked about 50 feet back toward the elementary school where a huge lake of standing water had finally receded and found the orange screen that had been washed back there. Hatchling tracks were found coming out of this nest three days ago on Wednesday morning.
Today’s nest inventory revealed 79 empty eggshells, 38 unhatched eggs and three live hatchlings that were released by Mary Irene, Janet and Aussie. Most of the unhatched eggs appeared to be totally undeveloped but a few were pipped, which means the turtles were coming out of their shells when they died. Those few may have been Idalia casualties since we don’t usually see this, but it appeared that Idalia did not do major damage to the nest even though hatch percent was 66.3% and emergence success was 63.8%. We are just happy that the nest was not lost to the storm. We were hit by a rain shower coming onshore before we could get off the beach! While a cruise ship was heading to Charleston.
Three more inventories near 27th Avenue this morning of the nests that had hatchlings come out during the night that Tropical Storm Idalia was churning up the water off the Isle of Palms. Even though it was rough, they might not have to crawl very far to get to the ocean which was lapping at the base of the dunes where they all were. They did a good job of getting out of the nests because out of the 182 eggs that hatched, all but one turtle made it out of the three nests successfully and no live ones were found today, three days after the storm.
Nest #37 was laid on July 10th near the 36A Access Path and found by Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli and Liz Hartzell. The 82 eggs it contained were on the flat beach and relocated to this safe dune where they incubated for 52 days. Today we discovered 51 empty eggshells, 30 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch success and emergence success were 62.1%. This lower than usual hatch success had nothing to do with the storm because these eggs failed to develop for another unknown reason.
Nest #39 was found on July 12th two doors south of 6th Avenue by Karen Thompson and Marilyn Markel and contained 76 eggs that incubated for 50 days. Inventory revealed 68 empty eggshells, 9 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchling. Hatch success was 87.1% and emergence success was 85.8%.
Nest #40 was found on July 13th near Ocean Point when Allen Owens, Laura Lovins and Holly Barron patrolled the north end in Wild Dunes. The 85 eggs it contained incubated for 49 days. We found 76 empty eggshells, 8 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch and emergence successes were 89.4%.
Nest #38 found on July 12th by Gina and Dou McQuilken at Ocean Point was inventoried today after incubating for 51 days. It did not do as well as most of our others and had 44 eggs that did not develop. We also found 56 empty eggshells out of the 101 eggs that were laid and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch and emergence success were 55.4%. There were no hatchlings alive or dead, but it was a beautiful morning on the beach as the sun was rising.
Sullivan’s Island Nest #10 lost a few inches of sand during the storm surge from Tropical Storm Idalia and washed down the sticks and sign. The eggs were buried there when relocated on July 19. After the storm surge there are small mounds of dune that were chopped off leaving small escarpments and large lakes of standing water behind the slightly elevated spot where we put those 119 eggs hoping they would not be lost to flood tides. By gently probing in the area where we suspected the egg chamber without out piercing the top eggs, we found the clutch which is due to hatch before long. They are now about 6-8” deep instead of at the 10-12” as before the storm. They may still be viable and were not turgid (tight) anymore because in the final stage of incubation, the eggs lose moisture. Time will tell if the water covered them long enough to kill the developing loggerheads. But now we know the sign is placed correctly and that the screen is once again protecting them from coyote predation. Everyone is enjoying the cooler and drier post storm weather.
The individual houses on Folly Beach and the old Morris Island lighthouse which are usually clouded by a hot and humid haze are sharply visible today. Enjoy it while it lasts!
Nest #35 at 27th Ave was inventoried this morning. It was found on July 7th by Susan Chagrin and Tay Thompson and 80 eggs were moved higher off the flat beach at that same location. It was washed over by the storm surge from Idalia, but the hatchlings had already left the nest two days before that happened. Today we found 60 empty eggshells, 19 undeveloped eggs (another one was used on July 7th for the genetics sample) and one dead hatchlings. No live ones left in the nest. Hatch success was 75% and emergence success was 73.7%
Getting ready for the storm
With Hurricane Idalia bearing down on us at the same time as the full blue moon king tide during the night on Wednesday, we are not allowed to move any eggs or do any inventories ahead of time. However, we are putting tall sitcks marked with nest numbers and orange tape exactly 10 feet behind the remaining unhatched nests – 12 on IOP and 2 on SI – so that if erosion is severe, we will be able to see exactly where the nests were after the storm surge. We are grateful to John Garrels of Crunchy’s beach chair and umbrella rental company for lending us a large drill to make deep holes for our marking sticks. Fingers crossed that our nests will be safe.
Nests #9 Inventoried on Sullivan's
Nest #9 was found on July 7 when Heather Harden came upon a nesting loggerhead still on the beach who was very tired and took a long time getting back to the ocean after crawling a long way. She did look very healthy and well-nourished but was quite lethargic. We had to relocate her 131 eggs off the flat beach onto the primary dune where they incubated for 51 days. Today at the inventory we found 123 empty eggshells, 7 undeveloped eggs, 8 dead hatchlings and Heather released 7 live ones to crawl to the ocean. Hatch success was 93.8% and emergence success was 82.4%.
Nests #36 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #36 was found by Gillian and Richard Ellis along with Todd Murphy on July 9th near 53rd Avenue and had 137 eggs that incubated for 48 days. Today’s inventory revealed 124 empty eggshells, 12 undeveloped eggs, 18 dead hatchlings and 1 live hatchling that was released by Todd, Gillian and Richard to crawl to the water. Hatch success was 90.5% and emergence success was 76.6%.
Nests #32 and #34 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #32 found on July 3rd at 42nd Avenue by Linda Forslund, Liz Hartzell, Patti Porfelli and Lori Nelson had 118 eggs and incubated for 52 days. Today we found 108 empty eggshells, 8 undeveloped eggs, 5 dead hatchlings and no live hatchlings for a 91.5% hatch success and an 87.2% emergence success.
Nest #34 found on July 7th by Sallie Campbell, Joanne Robinson, Jeannie Yzquierdo and Helen Sullivan at 116 Ocean Blvd near Breach Inlet containing 122 eggs incubated for 49 days. Inventory revealed 109 empty eggshells, 12 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch and emergence successes were both 89.3%.
Three Nests #30, #31 & #33 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #30 found at 708 Ocean Blvd on July 3rd contained 139 eggs that incubated for 51 days. It was the nest where Meg Greiner and her family watched the turtle lay eggs around midnight and Trisha Hoff, Jane Solomon and Peggy Klimecki patrolled the next morning. The inventory revealed 117 empty eggshells, 21 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and 3 live hatchlings. Hatch success was 84.1% and emergence success was 80.5%.
Nest #31 was laid the same night very close to Nest #31 at 702 Ocean Blvd found by Trisha, Jane and Peggy, and the hatchlings emerged the same night after both nests were relocated to 31st Avenue. This one contained 135 eggs. We found 127 empty eggshells, 7 undeveloped eggs and two live hatchlings for a 94% hatch success and a 92.5% emergence success.
Nest #33 came from Ocean Club Villas in Wild Dunes the next day on July 4th and was discovered by Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Tristi Lowther. It had 89 eggs in it and incubated for 50 days. This one contained 83 empty eggshells, 4 undeveloped eggs, one dead hatchling and one live hatchling for a 93.2% hatch success and a 91% emergence success.
All of the six hatchlings from these three nests were released by Thomas Morgan who is the grandson of Jodi Morgan who is on the Turtle Team. Five of them appeared to be very healthy, several were stuck in the wall of sand in their nest, and one had a deformity in its shell that made it difficult for it to crawl. But they all made it into the water.
Three Nests Inventoried on IOP & SI
The inventory of Nest #28 near the 30A Access Path found by Liz Firestone and Linda Tucker on July 1st revealed 106 empty eggshells and 10 undeveloped eggs. There were no hatchlings left in the nest after 3 days. Along with the genetics sample eggs, that means that the hatch and emergence success were 90.5%.
Nest #29 was also laid on July 1st and was found at Ocean Point in Wild Dunes by Nancy Evans, Penny Gorby and Laura Riley. It contained 142 eggs that incubated for 52 days, same as Nest #28. There were 133 empty shells, 8 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling that was released by Penny and Nancy. Hatch success was 93.6% and emergence success was 92.9%.
Just up the beach Nest 34 emerged overnight leaving better than 60 tracks and a huge crater.
Hatchlings or not it's always a beautiful way to start the day
Mean while on Sullivan's...You may have been wondering what ever happened with Nest #7 with 133 eggs that was laid north of the Sand Dunes Club path and moved south of it on June 16th. This nest was found by Karen Britton and Kristin Zeaser-Sydow. If a nest fails to produce hatchlings, we are required to wait at least 70 days to inventory it. Today was 70 days for that nest, so we dug into it and discovered that no turtles did ever come out of it. However, we did find two empty eggshells and one dead hatchling very deep in the clutch of undeveloped eggs. We suspect that there may have been another dead hatchling down deep but never found one. It would have been nearly impossible for one to dig out from that deep all by himself. Because of the two empty shells, the database does count this nest as having a hatch success of 1.5% and an emergence success of 0.7%.
Nests #25, #26 & #27 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #25 from Beach Club Villas, laid on June 27 and found by Cindy Bergstrom, Tristi Lowther and Patti Horton contained 120 eggs and incubated for 55 days. Today’s inventory revealed 26 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling. It was released by Karen Novak. Hatch success was 77.5% and emergence success was 76.6%.
Nest #26 which was found on June 27th and found by Annie Vola and Ed Peyser contained 114 eggs and incubated for 52 days. There were 8 undeveloped eggs and no live hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch and emergence success were 92.1%.
Nest #27 from 53rd Avenue and found by Linda Tucker and Liz Firestone on July 1st contained 78 eggs and incubated for 51 days. Inventory showed 4 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling left in the nest for a hatch success of 93.5% and emergence of 92.3%. This hatchling was also released by Karen Novak along with the one from Nest #25.
Nests #24 on IOP Inventoried
Nest #24 at 30A on the Isle of Palms was a great success with only 3 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings left. This one was found on June 26 by Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli and Linda Forslund at 42nd Avenue and incubated for 52 days. Hatch and emergence success were 95.6%.
No hatchlings, but lots of tracks and even a sharks tooth for the Adams-Tucker gang this AM
So if you see a bunch of women with red buckets and flashlights....it's just the team getting an early start
Nests #22 & #23 on IOP Inventoried
Nests 22 and 23 had excellent results at the inventories today. Both were found on June 25th.
Nest #22 had been laid near 42nd Avenue and was discovered by Ann Evans, Terri Stafford and Rene Rivlin and moved to 30A. The female turtle laid 111 eggs and we only found two that did not develop plus the genetics egg. There were no hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch and emergence success were 97.2%.
Nest #23 was reported by Todd Murphy at 15 Beachwood East in Wild Dunes and relocated to the same area on June 25th. It had 138 eggs laid. Only 5 eggs failed to develop in this one with no hatchlings remaining. Hatch and emergence success were both 95.6%.
Before the inventories, Todd discovered a hatchling on the beach that had come out of Nest #24 during the night. It was having a hard time making it down the beach to the ocean. So Rene, Terri and Ann released it closer to the water.
Nest #8 on Sullivan's Inventoried
This nest was found on June 25 by Joanne Lingerfelt and Tracy Doyle. This loggerhead had crawled up onto the primary dune and laid her eggs right next to the sea oats. We would not have chosen this spot because of the proximity to the roots which can damage the eggs. However, it was high enough above the tide line that we decided to leave it to incubate in situ. We did not find any eggs that were invaded by roots, but for some reason 55 of the 142 eggs that were laid failed to develop and hatch. There were 86 empty shells and one dead hatchling with no live ones left in the nest. When we factor in the genetics sample egg, that brings the total hatch percentage at 60.5% and emergence success at 59.8%
SURPRISE....Nest #47 for Isle of Palms
And just when we thought the egg laying part of nesting season was all finished with no nests being found since August 4th eleven days ago, a turtle laid eggs on the beach at the Asian style house in Wild Dunes on Dunecrest Lane. This was not reported by our volunteers but fortunately a man named Shafer from Omaha, Nebraska who was running on the beach told Christel about tracks in that section of Wild Dunes when she was documenting the false crawls farther north on the beach. There were 70 eggs in a nest that were relocated off the flat beach to a high safe dune at 28th Avenue. Shafer also helped keep count of the eggs while they were being removed from the nest.
Amazingly there were also five false crawls a little farther north that were reported by Patti Horton and her group who walked the north end of the IOP this morning. These tracks all were a close match to the ones where the eggs were laid, so it was possibly the same turtle. Some of them were very windblown and possibly from Sunday night. The false crawls were at Seascape, two at Ocean Club and two more at Ocean Point.
Nests Number 17 & 18 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #17 was found by Terri Stafford and Rene Rivlin on June 18 and moved up off the flat beach near 31st Avenue and contained 120 eggs. It incubated for 54 days before hatchlings came out. Today’s inventory revealed 110 empty hatched shells, 9 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings left dead or alive. Hatch and emergence success were 91.6%.
Nest #18 was also inventoried. It was found by Cindy Moore, Diane Troy, and Paige Hauff near the boardwalk at Ocean Point on June 18th and contained 136 eggs. It also boiled over with turtles after 54 days. We found 129 empty shells, 6 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchling still in the nest. Hatch success was 94.8% and emergence success was 94.1%.
Nests Number 19,20 & 21 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #19 at 6th Avenue found by Peggy Klimecki, Jane Solomon, Trisha Hoff and Jeannie Milota on June 19th was moved up off the flat beach at that location. There were 115 eggs that incubated for 53 days. We found 106 empty eggshells, 8 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling that was released to crawl to the water by Peggy, Jane and Trisha. Hatch Success was 92.1% and Emergence Success was 91.3%.
Nest #21 was found at Breach Inlet on June 22nd and relocated to 6th Avenue because it was on a dune that was washing away by erosion where there will soon be a renourishment project. It was a very large nest of 146 eggs where the mother turtle overflowed the hole she had dug and broke a few eggs that we found on the surface. Incubation lasted for 50 days. Here we found 78 empty eggshells, 62 undeveloped eggs with some roots growing into the egg chamber, and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch and Emergence Success here were only 53.4%.
Nest #20 was laid on June 21st just south of 21st Avenue was found by Michelle Blackstock, Linda Dunne and Becky Dale. There were 94 eggs that were moved up onto the dune there off the flat beach. They incubated for 51 days. Today we found 90 empty shells, 3 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchlings with no live ones left in the nest. Hatch Success was an excellent 95.7% and Emergence Success was 92.1%
Nest Number 6 Inventoried on Sullivan's
This nest was found on June 12th by Diane Brumley and Jenn Gragg when a loggerhead bumped into the dune escarpment trying to find a place to get up onto a dune. Instead she crawled into the Maritime Forest on Sullivan’s Island and laid 140 eggs. She is Loggerhead #12896 who also laid Nest #3 on Sullivan’s at Station 15 on May 23rd. The eggs were moved to a suitable spot between Station 17 and the Sand Dunes Club Path where they incubated for 57 days before hatchling 4 nights ago. We found 133 empty egg shells and 6 undeveloped eggs for a hatch and emergence success rate of 95%. It was a very healthy and successful effort on #12896’s part, and her hatchlings are swimming in the ocean. We watched a huge cruise ship and a huge container cargo ship entering and leaving Charleston harbor in the shipping channel just offshore and a group of bottle nosed dolphins swimming just beyond the beach.
Nest Number 16 Inventoried on Isle of Palms
Nest #16 at Mariner’s Walk was inventoried this morning. This nest was found by Sue Widhalm and Diane Mullins on June 16 between Ocean Club and Ocean Point and contained 103 eggs. They incubated for 52 days. We do not yet have any genetics information about this turtle. We found 4 undeveloped eggs, 98 empty eggshells, one dead hatchling and one live hatchling that was released by Maryalice Morro and Diane Mullins. The Hatch Success was 95.1% and Emergence Success was 93.2%
Three Nests Inventoried by the Turtle Team
Nest #12, found near the hotel in Wild Dunes by Linda Tucker and Liz Firestone on June 10th contained 145 eggs and was laid by Loggerhead #12133 who began nesting in 2019 in North Carolina. That year she laid eggs on Oak Island NC, North Island near Georgetown and then on the Isle of Palms. This was her first nest laid in 2023 while she returned to our island again after 4 years of no nests in the database. Four days after the turtles came out of the nest we found 127 empty shells, 17 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings in the nest. Hatch and emergence success were 87.5%.
Nest #15 was not relocated and was laid 3 doors north of the IOP County Park at the Beachside community. It was found by Karen Oldiges and Kathy Magruder on June 6th and incubated for 61 days before turtles came out of it on August 6th. This was Loggerhead #13379, a fairly young turtle who began nesting in 2020 when she nested on Hilton Head and then twice in North Carolina that year. This is her first Isle of Palms nest. We found 88 empty eggshells and 34 undeveloped eggs in this one. Again, no hatchlings left in the nest, dead or alive. Hatch and emergence success on tis one was 71.5%.
No hatchlings but a very small crab entertained the young crowd
Sullivan’s Island Nest #5 was inventoried and no hatchlings were left in the nest dead or alive. We found 90 empty eggshells from successful turtles who are now in the ocean. There were also 9 undeveloped eggs making the hatch and emergence success 90% when you add the genetics sample egg. This turtle started nesting in 2016 and has nested exclusively on Sullivan’s Island in 2016, 2019, 2021 and 2023. Maybe that is where she was hatched in the 1990’s.
Nest #14 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #14 was called the Taylor Swift nest because it was laid and relocated higher into the dunes near the large front beach house at the 38A Access Path where she stayed a few years ago on vacation. This nest was discovered on June 8th by Jane Powers, Linda Bettelli and Sue Googer. We do not have genetics results on the mother turtle here, but she laid 128 eggs after wandering extensively along the beach. We found 108 empty shells, 19 undeveloped eggs, 5 dead hatchlings and 3 live hatchlings. Jane Powers did the honors of releasing those three to crawl to the ocean much to the delight of the many small children who were there. One tiny turtle did not have good use of his left front flipper but still made it to the waves and swam away. Hatch success was 84.3% and emergence was 78.1%.
Nest #11 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #11 was laid in Dewees Inlet on June 4 and found by Paige Hauff, Cindy Moore and Diane Troy. It was laid by the super mom loggerhead who has nested in that neighborhood 30 times and now has 3 daughters who are full sisters who began nesting in 2018 and 2019. There were 127 eggs that incubated at 22nd Avenue for 60 days and came out of the nest 3 nights ago. We found an amazing 123 empty eggshells. That means in addition to our genetics sample egg, only 3 failed to develop and hatch for a super 96.8% rate of hatch and emergence from the sand. A super nest from a super mom indeed. All hatchlings had left the nest, so there were none to release. We did see a very young rabbit in the dunes who seemed to want to join us for the inventory. His parent was there too and didn’t seem to want him to be that close to us and the nests.
Nest #9 & #10 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #9 which was found on May 30th incubated for 60 days before producing hatchlings 6 days ago contained 121 eggs was found to contain 113 empty shells, 6 undeveloped eggs, 4 live hatchlings and 1 dead hatchling. The four live ones were released by Nora Marrone who attends Laurel Hill Elementary School in Mount Pleasant. They have the loggerhead turtle as their school mascot. Nora, with help from her mother Sarah, had a bake sale last spring, sold turtle cupcakes and raised over $100 which she donated to the Island Turtle Team. We are so grateful for that. The hatch success was 93.3% and emergence success was 89.2% for this very healthy nest.
Nest #10 was laid by the loggerhead who was still on the beach at 25th Avenue on June 1st and took her time getting back to the ocean that morning. Kerrie Scott and her family were on patrol that day along with Pam Bridges who attended the inventory. This nest also contained 121 eggs and incubated 61 days, producing hatchling 3 days ago. Here we found 99 empty shells, 21 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings live or dead. Hatch Success and emergence success were 81.8%.
One little hatchling needed a little help after he flipped on his back..Christel was there to help
In spite of thunderstorms threatening along the coast, we took a chance and were so lucky to be able to do the inventories of Nest 9 and Nest 10 without any rain this morning.
Nest #46 for the Isle of Palms
For the third day in a row a late nest has been laid in Wild Dunes. This is Nest #46 that was discovered by Debbie Kurtz and Nicki Rambeau just south of 57th Avenue. The sand there was coarse from the 2018 renourishment project and the body pit was rather atypical with lots of soft “puffy” sand piled up which kept collapsing. Not only were the inventory attendees and people performing the inventories lucky this morning, but all of our beach patrol volunteers who had to cover their sections of beach were glad that it was not pouring which can make the tracks hard to find and the walk hard to make. This was a small clutch of 72 eggs which needed to be on an elevated dune and not on the flat flood prone beach. Very often we see small clutches when a turtle is laying her last nest and running out of follicles for that season. These eggs were taken to 28th Avenue to incubate with the other August nests.
Getting ready to move eggs to 28th....................Team at 28th ready to relocate nest 46
Nest #45 for the Isle of Palms
Another late season nest was laid today in Wild Dunes at the Property Owners’ Beach House. Nest #45 was discovered by Bryan Stephens and Allen Owens while they were on patrol with Holly Barron and Laura Lovins. This turtle was seen laying her eggs there last night by Christine and Emily who unfortunately did not know that they should not be shining a white flashlight and flash photgraphy on the nesting turtle as she laid her eggs. But since she had already started dropping her eggs by the time they found her, she continued and laid 100 eggs. Otherwise she would have gone back into the ocean without nesting. The turtle team relocated the eggs from this spot very near the high tide wrack line to a safe dune at 28th Avenue for incubation.
Relocation at 28th Ave.
Nest #13 for the Isle of Palms Inventoried
123Nest #13, laid on June 7th had a large ghost crab in it when we started the inventory. This nest was discovered near the hotel at Grand Pavilion on the flat beach by Linda Thompson, Bev Miller, Aelecia Rideout and Cindy Keane and relocated to Mariner’s Walk. It turns out that his burrow went behind and away from the egg chamber and the hatchlings. He was not pleased to be taken out of the nest. The turtle who laid this nest laid eggs in North Carolina at Nag’s Head and then was not seen in the database for 9 years when she laid this nest in 2023. We wonder if she went to Florida during that time where her nest would not have been recorded. We found 91 empty shells, 14 undeveloped eggs, two dead hatchlings and 5 live turtles that were released by Bev and Aelecia with help from Linda and her granddaughter, Campbell to swim away. Hatch success was 87.5% emergence success was 80.7%.
The Sun and Moon in the Morning on the beach
Nest #44 for the Isle of Palms
Nest #44 – a late one for us. What a busy and exciting morning for Aelecia Rideout and Bev Miller. First they found Isle of Palms Nest #44 on the flat beach right at the wrackline a few doors north of the center path at Beachwood East in Wild Dunes. Then they came to the Inventory of the nest #13 at Mariner’s Walk which they found on June 13th and released 5 hatchlings along with Linda Tucker and her granddaughter, Campbell. Nest #44 contained 120 eggs which needed to be moved to a safe dune and they were taken to a spot at 28th Avenue to incubate during the peak of hurricane and storm season. They are not due to hatch until late in September. We normally get very few nests in August as the egg-laying season winds down. This could possibly be the last one, but we have quite a lot more to hatch.
Moving the nest to a safer spot at 28th Ave.
Nest #2 & #3 Inventoried on Sullivan's
Nest #2 at Station 20 which was found by Tita Massie, Karen Bartlett and Ginger Colvin, was not relocated when it was laid on May 23rd. It was laid by loggerhead 12897 who began nesting in 2020 when she laid 3 nests, twice on North Island near Georgetown and once on Sullivan’s. This was her first nest on Sullivan’s in 2023 and it incubated for 67 days. We discovered 15 undeveloped eggs, 3 live hatchlings and counted 98 empty eggshells from successful hatchlings. That means the hatch success was 85.9% and 83.3% emerged successfully. Tita Massie released the 3 little hatchlings to crawl to the water along with some little helpers.
Nest #3 was also laid on May 23rd and incubated for 65 days. It was not relocated from where it was laid near Station 15. It was laid by loggerhead 12896, only one number different in the genetics database from the mom of Nest #2 because they both started nesting in 2020. She also laid the first nest ever (Nest #6) in the maritime forest on June 12th. We were amazed to find that she laid a whopping 166 eggs when we include the genetics research egg! There were 159 empty eggshells, 6 undeveloped eggs and 9 healthy live hatchlings left in this very deep nest where ghost crabs had been going in on a regular basis. So it’s amazing that we found no crab damage at all. Her nest #6 in the maritime forest was also large at 140 eggs. The numbers here were an excellent 95.7% hatch success and a 90.3% emergence success! Diane and Joanne released the hatchlings around high tide for a very short walk into the water.
Nest #8 Inventoried on IOP
We were once again joined by Gabrielle Fowler and her family from Charlotte with husband Anthony and daughters Vivian and Colette. They visit from Charlotte this time of year to see inventories. Vivian has a really strong interest in and love for sea turtles, a future marine biologist.
The inventory of Nest #8 at Mariner’s Walk in Wild Dunes showed us that out of 119 eggs laid on May 25 and moved higher there, 33 did not develop. When you add in the genetics sample egg, that means only about 63% hatched. We found 75 empty shells and one dead hatchlings. This is the third nest this weekend where all of the live ones had made it to the ocean. So there were none to release. There was one undeveloped egg that had been taken over by roots from the dune plants.
This loggerhead, known as CC4660 in the genetics research project was already nesting in 2012 near the beginning of this project. Until this season she always nested either on the Outer Banks of NC or at Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in northern SC. This was her first nest anywhere else.
Nest #1 & # 4 Inventoried on Sullivan's
Nest #1 found on May 21 near Station 17 by Joanne, Tracy and Alex contained 56 empty eggshells, 23 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings, dead or alive. Our genetics research results tell us that this loggerhead #9206 began nesting in 2016 and laid 4-6 nests mostly on the south end of Sullivan’s Island every season in 2016, 2019 and 2021. Besides laying the first SI nest of this season, she also laid Nest #5 at Station 15 near Fort Moultrie this year on June 9th. For this nest her hatch and emergence success were both 70%.
Nest #4 found on May 24 by Bob and Laurie Snyder contained 126 eggs which were relocated higher on the dune south of the Sand Dunes Club. We found 115 empty shells, 10 undeveloped eggs, 5 dead hatchlings and no live hatchlings. No genetics results have come back yet on this nest, so we don’t know who laid it. Hatch success was 91.2% and emergence success was 87.3%.
Some hearty souls came out to this morning’s inventories on Sullivan’s Island in the rain. And they got to see a closeup view of a huge cruise ship arriving in Charleston Harbor as a bonus!
Nest #5 & # 7 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #5 of 131 eggs from May 21st contained 13 undeveloped eggs, 3 dead hatchlings, and 6 live hatchlings that were released by Gillian and Richard Ellis and Todd Murphy to swim away. Hatch Success was 92.9% and Emergence Success was 75.3%.
Nest #7 of 108 eggs from May 24th had 24 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and 3 live hatchlings. These three were released by Bev Miller who found the nest with her group, Linda Thompson, Cindy Keane and Aelecia Rideout near 53rd Avenue. Hatch Success was 76.8% and Emergence Success was 72.2%.
Beautiful rainbow as we left the beach this morning
Nest #3 & # 6 Inventoried on IOP
Nest #6 was laid on May 23 and discovered by Janine Davis, Ann Thompson and Karen Novak. This turtle is known as CC#12084 who started nesting in 2019 and has laid nests in North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Beaufort and now for the first time on the Isle of Palms. This large nest of 135 eggs was found near Seagrove in Wild Dunes. We found 95 empty eggshells, 39 undeveloped eggs, 35 dead hatchlings in the nest and 15 live hatchlings that were released by Linda Tucker to crawl to the water. Hatch Success was 70.3%.
Nest #4 was found by Liz Firestone and Linda Tucker on May 20 and contained 114 eggs. This turtle is CC#5405 and has been nesting on Bulls Island many times since 2012 and possibly before. Today we found 106 empty eggshells, 7 eggs that did not develop, 18 dead hatchlings and 18 live hatchlings just under the surface who were mature and ready to go to the ocean. They were released by Liz Firestone and her family. Hatch Success was 92.9%.
Nest #3 Inventoried on IOP
The inventory of Nest #3 at 22nd Avenue was a good one, showing that all but 10 of the 111 eggs developed and hatched, and that all of those turtles made it out of the nest successfully. When we add in the one egg that was sacrificed for the required genetics sample, that means the hatch and emergence successes were both a very good 90% for this young loggerhead’s very first nest laid anywhere. We are honored to have young Loggerhead #15565 as part of the nesting population and hope that she will be returning to the Isle of Palms to lay more nests
Nest #2 Inventoried in Wild Dunes
Today’s Inventory of Nest #2 in Wild Dunes at Beach Club Villas was interesting because we had learned from our genetics research results that this loggerhead, known as CC002992 has been nesting at the north end of the IOP for many years and we’ve collected her DNA about 30 times. She probably has laid many more nests over the years before the research project began because she is known to have six daughters, all with the same father, and probably all hatched the same season. These daughters started nesting on other islands (not on IOP) in 2018 and 2019 mainly on Dewees Island, Pawley’s Island and Capers Island in South Carolina. She also laid Nest #11 on IOP this season at Ocean Point. Since she always lays 4 or 5 nests in her odd year nesting seasons, we will probably find out which of our other nests are hers when the rest of the samples are analyzed.
We found 10 unhatched eggs, 17 dead hatchlings who may have been killed by ants that were found in the nest, and 7 live hatchlings at the inventory. The live ones were released to crawl to the ocean by Sue White and Kathy Guatteri. This means there was a 92.2% hatch success. But the emergence success was only 75.3% because of the ones who died in the nest.
Nest #11 on Sullivan's Island
Nest #11 for Sullivan’s was found this morning by Jenn Gragg who was accompanied by her husband’s cousin Judy Hudson. They found loggerhead tracks just northeast of the Station 16 Access Path. This was a very exciting morning for a relative from Ohio who had never seen a turtle nest or egg. This nest was laid up against the dune grasses and was high enough to be left to incubate where it was laid. So we do not know how many eggs were in it as it was marked and left there to incubate.
Nest #43 on IOP in Wild Dunes
Nest #43 was found near the Beach Club Villas nests that are in the process of hatching. Diane Troy and Paige Hauff were on patrol along with Diane’s son, Michael and his friend Evan who are visiting from Los Angeles. Michael and Evan helped us get an accurate count for the 91 eggs which were relocated to 28th Avenue.
There was also a false crawl at Summer Dunes Lane where a loggerhead ran into the scarped dune and turned around. These tracks were exactly the same size as the ones at Nest #43, so possibly the same turtle.
The Good and The BAD on IOP
Nest #42 on IOP and Nest #1 Predated by Coyotes
Nest #1 at 622 Ocean Blvd produced hatchlings sometime during the night. But unfortunately coyotes discovered this after about 60 of them had gotten out of the nest. The coyotes dug up what was left in the nest leaving an empty hole almost 4 feet deep and scattering loggerhead eggshells all over the sand around the nest. We counted 91 hatched shells and 16 eggs or shells from ones that did not develop accounting for about 107 out of the total clutch of 138. When we followed the hatchling tracks all the way down to the ocean with the tide low, we counted over 50-60 faint tracks that made it to the water. Sorry to say there will be no inventory for this nest since it was already dug up. Since we cannot confirm the final numbers, we just have to take comfort in knowing that at least half of them made it to the water. This is the first coyote incident ever in this part of the beach and because of it we put protective screening over the two nests at 6th Avenue that are due around the 3rd week of August.
Good news dozens of hatchling tracks made it to the water
Nest #42 was discovered at the 8A path by Nancy Willms and Julia Vanderpool. This turtle did not make it above the spring tide wrack line but she did lay 113 eggs. They were relocated to a better spot near 28th Avenue for incubation.P
Nest #10 for Sullivan's Island
After a long dry spell for Sullivan’s and quite a few false crawl since Nest #9 was laid on July 6 at Station 26, Janet Kennedy, Mary Irene Delamater and Aussie Geer found Nest #10 this morning just north of Station 21. This was a tough one for the Turtle Team because of lack of field signs on the beach. We saw several disturbed places in the very soft sand in the wrackline at the base of eroded dunes there. The turtle at one point tried to crawl up over the dune and came back down. When the sand is this dry and soft, they can often push up mounds of sand because of getting bogged down while crawling. There was no defined body pit, no noticeable thrown sand, no buried or broken green vegetation, and the tracks were being washed away on the incoming tide. So we could not even tell how long she was on the beach since the tracks were the same length. After probing several spots, we were on the verge of giving up and calling it a false crawl when we finally found a spot that was softer deep down, and there were 119 eggs! A couple were broken, possibly from probing, but we took our required DNA sample from the broken ones and relocated the rest to a spot above the wrack line and away from severe erosion nearby close to the school at Station 20.
Nest #41 for Isle of Palms
This morning Nest #41 was discovered at 50th Avenue by Ann Thompson when she was on patrol with her friend Elaine Martin. The turtle dug one egg chamber leaving an empty hole and then moved farther on to another spot before laying 101 eggs. They were relocated off the flat beach to a good dune near 27th Avenue.
Nest #40 for Isle of Palms
Nest #40 was laid in the central part of the Ocean Point area at Dewees Inlet. Susan Fleishman first reported it, but Allen Owens, Laura Lovins and Holly Blair were on patrol as well. She laid 85 eggs that were relocated to 27th Avenue.
False Crawl #39 was found by Deborah Johnson at the north end of Dunecrest Lane where a turtle came up into the soft sand, got bogged down in it, threw some sand around but did not lay any eggs.
The Turtle Team was doing an educational program called Sea Stroll and Learn, sponsored by the Isle of Palms Recreation Center, for about 20 participants. Those people got to see the process of nest relocation, marking and screening of the nest as well as taking the genetics sample egg.
A hectic and hot day on the beach. We weren’t all finished until 11 am after starting around 6. After the four sets of tracks, including a false crawl at 33A where some people followed the turtle with bright flashlights possibly causing her to go back to the ocean, we had two small dead turtles to deal with on Sullivan’s Island, a Kemps ridley near Ft. Moultrie at Station 14 and a green sea turtle at Station 10. Thank you to Bob Snyder and Diane Brumley for finding those. The Kemps ridley was put on ice taken to SCDNR at Ft. Johnson for a necropsy since it was fairly fresh with no obvious injuries.
Nest #38 for Isle of Palms
Nest #38 was found by Gina and Doug McQuilken near the south end of the Ocean Point houses, just north of Ocean Club Villas. This turtle started digging one egg chamber and then stopped and left it open, crawling a little farther on before digging another where she deposited 101 eggs. There was also a golf ball on the surface that looked VERY MUCH like a loggerhead egg from a distance. This stretch of beach is along the 18th fairway of the Wild Dunes Links golf course. This nest was below the spring tide line and relocated to a spot halfway between 27th and 28th Avenues
Nest #38 for Isle of Palms
Nest #39 was reported by Karen Thompson as she and Marilyn Markel covered the opposite end of the Isle of Palms near Breach Inlet. This nest was laid a couple of lots south of the 6th Avenue Access Path. The tracks measured 27” showing the possibility of a very large mother turtle. But she only laid 76 eggs in this very eroded section of the beach soon to have a renourishment. They were taken to a much safer spot next to Nest #38 from Wild Dunes.
Nest #37 for Isle of Palms
Nest #37 was found near the 36A Access Path by Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli and Liz Hartzell this morning. Our turtles never seem to crawl above the spring tide wrack line and instead lay their eggs on the flat flood prone part of the beach where the trucks drive. This was no exception. And ghost crabs had once again dug multiple holes that were lined up along the edge of the body pit. We were happy to see Natalie Podnar (in pink shirt), former Sullivan’s Island Turtle Team member who was visiting the Isle of Palms from her home in Columbus, Ohio. We are glad that she got to see a nest today. There were 82 eggs that were relocated to near the Access Path at 27th Avenue.
Nest #36 for Isle of Palms
Nest #36 was discovered by Gillian Ellis, Todd Murphy and Gillian’s dad Richard Ellis near 53rd Avenue in Wild Dunes. This loggerhead had gone into a large shallow hole dug by people who partially filled it in. About six ghost crabs had dug into the spot to investigate the disturbed area, and the sand was soft all around making probing for the “soft spot” where she dug more difficult. There were some sharp sea shells from the renourishment project down in the bottom of the clutch of 137 eggs which likely sliced open one of the first eggs to be dropped. This egg was used for our genetics research project. Because the spot was unsuitable on the flat beach at this vehicular access path, the eggs were relocated to 27th Avenue in the center of the island
Meanwhile at 27th Ave.
Penny Portman found the false crawl at the north end of her walk at the Citadel Beach House near 47th Avenue. It was an obvious U turn by the turtle where she went back into the ocean without digging to lay eggs.
Nest #34 for Isle of Palms
Nest #34 was found near Breach Inlet at 116 Ocean Blvd. by Sallie Campbell, Joanne Robinson, Jeannie Yzquierdo and Helen Sullivan on patrol. This is the area where erosion is so severe and the city is planning a renourishment project with trucked in sand later this month. It is sad to see how much property has been lost to the ocean there. This nest would not have survived at that location, so the 122 eggs we found were moved to a safe dune near the 31A Access Path.
Walking off the beach to relocate eggs, the Turtle Team passed "The Beach House"
Nest #35 for Isle of Palms
Nest #35 contained only 80 eggs and was laid near 2706 Palm Blvd between 27th and 28th Avenues. Susan Chagrin and Tay Thompson were on patrol in that section and are credited with this nest. Friend of the Turtle Team, Samantha reported the nest and even put a chair next to the nest to help us locate it. Since it was below the spring tide line, this nest was moved higher at that same location off the flat beach where service vehicles drive and onto a slightly elevated dune to incubate.
Nest #9 for Sullivan's Island
Nest #9 for Sullivan’s Island was laid by a very large, healthy fat mother loggerhead at Station 26. Heather Harden and her friend PJ Johnson saw her on the beach along with others on Sullivan’s this morning when the tide was quite low. This turtle had travelled all over the beach for about 100 yards sometimes going parallel to the ocean near the high tide line. She was still out of the water well after sunrise and appeared to be very tired and lethargic. We were able to measure her and found her shell to be 105.5 centimeters or 41 ½ inches. After a while she made it to the ocean and swam away to everyone’s relief. Although we had not followed her tracks when we first got there, we were sure she had laid eggs because her shell was covered with a thick layer of sand from having thrown it when she was covering a nest. We soon found 131 eggs and although they were above the high tide line, they were still on the flat beach below the spring tide line where the highest tides will go in coming weeks. They were relocated to the nearest suitable dune just north of the path at Station 26 and screened for coyotes. Several aggressive coyotes were seen by Heather near Station 24, and she warned people with off leash dogs about them
Nest #33 for Isle of Palms
Nest #33 It was a beautiful full moon at midnight, and a loggerhead crawled up near Ocean Club Villas which is a favorite spot for them to nest. This turtle celebrated Independence Day by laying 89 eggs there at the north end of Wild Dunes. A woman named Nicole who is visiting from Knoxville, Tennessee was able to photograph her without using a flash which could have frightened her away as she dug a deep body pit in spite of the lights that were visible even that late during the night. If hatchlings had seen those lights, they would have gone toward the buildings and may not have survived.
In the morning the Turtle Team patrol consisting of Patti Horton, Cindy Bergstrom, Tristi Lowther and Paige Owens came upon her large tracks and found four crab holes in the nest where she had dug. The crabs were removed, but two eggs were already broken. One was used for our genetics research project. The rest of the eggs were taken to the dunes around 31st Avenue. The area between 21st and 41st Avenues are part of a conservation district where the land is protected from development seaward of the houses there and lights are not a problem and the beach is not so flat and floodprone.
Relocation Crew at 30A
A busy night for our loggerheads. We hope that the crazy fireworks and crowds on the beach for the 4th of July celebration will not impact our nesting turtles as has happened in the past
Nest #30 & #31 for Isle of Palms
Nest #30 Meg Greiner and her family come every year for the week of the 4th of July. Around 11 pm Meg went out on the upstairs balcony and saw a loggerhead coming out of the ocean in the bright light of the full moon. She knew to keep people and lights away from this nesting female and they watched her lay a large clutch of 139 eggs at the edge of the eroded dune. In the morning Trisha Hoff, Jane Solomon and Peggy Klimecki did their patrol and were there to find this nest and also the one a couple of houses south of it.
Nest at the 7A Path ----------------------------- Nest at 7th Ave. Path
Nest #31 Another loggerhead also nested near the Greiner’s vacation house at the 7A path. This one was closer to the 7th Avenue Access path and contained 135 eggs and must have been laid later in the night. The same damaged section of the beach necessitated relocation, so this nest was taken to inclubate near 31st Avenue as well. It is also credited to Turtle Team members Trisha Hoff, Jane Solomon and Peggy Klimecki.
Nest #32 for Isle of Palms
Nest #32 Linda Forslund, Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli and Liz Hartzell found tracks near 42nd Avenue where a turtle had nested and laid 118 eggs. A ghost crab had dug into the body pit which is sometimes a clue as to where the eggs are located, sometimes not. Thes eggs were also taken to the area near 31st Avenue to incubate.
All Three Nests Relocated to a Safe Dune at 30A on IOP
Meg and her family helped us carry the supplies we needed to successfully relocate those eggs to a safe dune near 31st Avenue.
Three new nests found in Wild Dunes & a false crawl on Sullivan's
Nest #27 for Isle of Palms
Nest #27 was laid in the 53rd Avenue vehicular access path when some fishermen saw her on the beach around 11 pm. They reported it to the SCDNR Radio Room in Columbia as she crawled back to the ocean. The tracks were discovered by Linda Tucker as she and Liz Firestone patrolled the beach this morning. Fortunately people kept a respectful distance and let her nest in peace. Raye Ann Osborne encountered a large ghost crab while digging for the eggs! The turtle laid a small clutch of 78 eggs, one of which was found broken and used for the required genetics research sample. They were moved from the vehicle path to a safe and elevated dune near the 30A Access Path.
Nest #28 for Isle of Palms
Nest #28 was found near Seagrove Lane just north of the Boardwalk Inn Hotel at the Wild Dunes Resort. Liz Firestone and her family discovered the tracks there. The clutch of 117 eggs was taken to the 30A Access Path for safe incubation
Nest #29 for Isle of Palms
Nest #29 was laid in Dewees Inlet at Ocean Point. Along the way on the boardwalk, we saw two deer feeding in the dune vegetation near the 17th green. Another crab had tunneled into the spot where this egg chamber was but was gone, and no harm was done. They never go deep enough to reach the eggs in a new nest. Laura Riley, Nancy Evans and Penny Gorby braved the heat and the biting gnats to come upon these tracks and the nest which was laid well below the piles of spartina wrack from previous tides and seaward of a small escarpment. For these reasons, it also joined #27 and #28 at the 30A Access Path.
Some the locals on the way from the beach were interested in Mary's bucket of eggs and the others were more interested in the vegetation.
False Crawl #10 for Sullivan’s Island was reported by Eve Gentieu just NE of the Deadly Currents sign on the beach near Fort Moultrie. No eggs were found, but a plain stick with orange tape tied around it was left at the spot to be checked in late August.
Nest #26 for Isle of Palms
Nest #26 for the Isle of Palms was found by Annie Vola and Ed Peyser as they patrolled the south end of the island. This section will soon be getting some trucked in sand to repair the dunes damaged by erosion near Breach Inlet. We found that this turtle laid 114 eggs just south of the 4th Avenue path. A turtle whose tracks measured exactly the same size between rear flipper claws at 23” made a false crawl yesterday at 2nd Avenue, so it’s possible that the same one came back again. These eggs were taken out of the project area to a safe dune at the 31A path where we encountered Linda Bettelli, Jane Powers, Sue Googer, Barbara Allen and Debi Magee who were on patrol from 30th to 49th. They will be helping protect the new nest which is near the 31A path. A genetics sample was taken.
This mornings' core team at relocation...........Beach Patrol that will keep an eye on nests at 31A
Nest #25 for Isle of Palms
Nest #25 was found in Wild Dunes at Ocean Club Villa this morning by Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Tristi Lowther. It was well below the spring tide or flood tide line because there were many piles of spartina wrack on the landward side of the nest. This means it would likely flood with the next King Tide or storm. So 120 eggs were moved to a suitable dune near the 30A Access Path. There was some question about a set of tracks at 57 Ocean Point, but the GPS matched the false crawl there from two days ago and an X had been drawn across them. For this reason we did not record that one.
Nest #24 for Isle of Palms
Nest #24 for the Isle of Palms For the second day straight there has been a nest at the 42nd Avenue vehicular access path. This morning Linda Forslund, Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli and Liz Hartzell discovered tracks there where a loggerhead laid her nest of 80 eggs. They were relocated to a suitable dune near the 30A Access Path for incubation.
Nest #8 for Sullivan's Island
Nest #8 for Sullivan’s Island was discovered by Tracy Doyle and Joanne Lingerfelt near the Station 17 path AKA the Jungle Path. This turtle crawled just above the springe tide wrack line and laid her eggs close to some sea oats but far enough from their invasive roots that we left those eggs to incubate where they were laid. That means that half of the eight nests on Sullivan’s Island have been relocated and half are considered in situ.
A long, but successful morning for the Turtle Team
Nest # 23 on Isle of Palms
Nest #23 for the Isle of Palms was laid in Wild Dunes at 15 Beachwood East. Gillian Ellis and Todd Murphy patrolled that section and Todd reported these tracks where 138 eggs were found. They were also relocated to the 30A Access Path and screened for safe incubation.The other two loggerhead crawls were non-nesting events and were both also in Wild Dunes. The one at the Property Owners’ Beach House was reported by Todd Murphy and Cindy Moore, Diane Troy and Paige Hauff since it was right on the dividing line between their Wild Dunes sections. The second one was reported by Cindy’s group farther up into Dewees Inlet at 57 Ocean Point Drive where no eggs were laid and she turned around in the heavy wrack line.
Nest # 22 of Isle of Palms
Nest #22 for the Isle of Palms was reported by Ann Evans, Terri Stafford and Rene Rivlin at the 42nd Avenue Access Path. Since early morning hours are off leash time for dogs, a dog who was not under control by its owner ran across the nest and even had its foot sink in right where the eggs were located. One broken egg was found near the top of the nest, so we do not know if it was from the Turtle Team probing or the dog’s foot probing, but the empty shell was used for our DNA research project. There were 111 eggs in all that were relocated from this flat beach to a suitable dune near the 30A Access Path.
Nest # 21 on Isle of Palms
We felt sorry for the turtle who nested at the point of Breach Inlet last night. She had to crawl through a lot of piled up wrack and debris and then encountered rusty wire from the deteriorated sand fencing where she laid her eggs. She also failed to dig a large enough egg chamber for her extra large clutch of 146 eggs. This resulted in eggs strewn and broken at the surface of her nest. Six were broken above and just below the top of the sand where she covered, but three were still unbroken and added to the clutch of eggs. So this means 140 eggs were actually relocated away from this very erosional point at the south end of the Isle of Palms beach. There is a shoal or sandbar just offshore that will attach itself and perhaps heal some of the damage here, but until that happens the dunes are very unstable and washing away leaving steep cliffs. We noticed that the 1A path sign is missing and there is a high escarpment making this path unusable. The eggs were taken to a more suitable spot just south of the 6th Avenue path on a very windy morning just as rain was coming onshore. Dan Vola and Ed Peyser were responsible for patrol on this section today.
If it's not one thing it's another
Every summer a female diamondback terrapin crawls up from the marsh and travels to the house on Station 22 Street on Sullivan’s Island where Marshall Stith and Jessie Jacobs live. This is several lots away from the marsh, but this female for some reason always chooses their driveway, which is composed of hard packed pea gravel, as the place to lay her eggs.
Adult females of this marsh terrapin species are about 6-9 inches in shell length and males only about 4-5 ½ inches. There are so many places on that stretch she travels that would be so much easier to place her nest, including a historic cemetery on the other side of the road. In the past, we have sometimes had to relocate her eggs because they were laid where cars would crush them. At least once she nested in the flower bed adjacent to this driveway which was much better.
Today’s nest was laid between the bays of Marshall and Jessie’s garage. We could see that this was the only spot where the dirt and rocks had been disturbed. Because it wasn’t in the path of the cars as other nests have been, we decided to leave the eggs where they were laid to avoid disturbing or even breaking one because of the difficulty in finding and carefully removing them from the rocky nest. We used one of Jessie’s signs and some orange tape to mark and protect the exact spot near the garage. These terrapin eggs will probably incubate for 60-85 days depending on how much sun the ground gets at that spot. It’s amazing that the tiny hatchlings can find their way back to the marsh on their own with no help from their mother or anyone else. With nests laid later in the season, some terrapin hatchlings even overwinter in the nest and come out early in the spring. We are constantly amazed at the wonders of nature.
Nest # 20 on Isle of Palms
Nest #20 for the Isle of Palms was discovered this morning between County Park and 21st Avenue at the Beachside houses by Michelle Blackstock, Becky Dale and Linda Dunne. Although her tracks showed a normal sized turtle, the body pit was rather elongated instead of being round. We found 94 eggs in a deep egg chamber which unfortunately was laid right between tire tracks from service vehicles on the beach and below the spring tide line. At first we thought there were 93 eggs, but then we found one more and added it to the relocated clutch which was placed at that same location on an elevated and safe dune.
Nest # 19 on Isle of Palms
Nest #19 was found this morning at 6th Avenue. Jeannie Milota, Peggy Klimecki, Jane Solomon and Trisha Hoff were on patrol in the much-eroded southernmost section of the Isle of Palms when they found tracks and a body pit at the base of an approximately 6 foot chopped off dune. This is probably the same loggerhead with 24” between her rear flipper claw marks who tried to nest there one night earlier but gave up when she couldn’t scale the vertical ‘scarped dune. We found 115 eggs which were taken up on a dune very close by where the slope was safe enough for the tiny hatchlings to come down from the nest. We hope the erosion will not continue and that the eggs will be safe in their new location.
Two Nests on IOP
31th Ave. .......................................................................Wild Dunes
Tale of two nests one in the middle of the island at 30th Ave. and one in Wild Dunes
Looks like it might be the start of a busy week for our loggerheads. We started Sunday off with 4 different sets of tracks. The first one reported, however, was a false crawl reported by Susan Lipsey where a turtle came in near 6th Avenue and climbed partway up the steep eroded dune before she fell back down. She tried several more times to get up to the dry sand dunes before giving up and going back into the water. She just couldn’t climb that steep wall. However, her tracks matched the ones at Nest #17, so we hope she was successful later on in the night.
Nest #17 This nest was reported by Terri Stafford and Rene Rivlin near 31st Avenue. It was low on the flat part of the beach below the spring tide line and moved higher at that same location between the 30A and 31st Avenue paths. It contained 120 eggs.
Nest #18 Meanwhile at the north end of the Isle of Palms Cindy Moore, Diane Troy and Paige Hauff had a busy morning. First they found a false crawl at the south end of Ocean Point that measured 21” between rear flipper claw marks. Then they found more tracks that were 21” right at the Ocean Point boardwalk. This set of tracks led to a good body pit and thrown sand, the field marks we love to see. Several ghost crabs had burrowed into the disturbed mound of sand where the eggs were hidden, but none of them dug down as far as we did to find 136 loggerhead eggs. This nest was taken to 31st Avenue to incubate next to Nest #17.
Both relocated at 31th Ave.
Very Busy BUT No Nests Today
There were three sets of loggerhead tracks, all in Wild Dunes during the night. All were close in size and possible the from the same turtle searching for a good placed to lay her eggs.
First call came from Linda Tucker at 56th Avenue where there was a questionable area that may have contained eggs. However, after probing and close examination, it was documented as false crawl #1.
After that Aelecia Rideout reported tracks at 49th Avenue where a turtle came ashore twice and looped all around with no possible nest site – false crawl #2.
Finally, Laura Riley found tracks at Summer Dunes Lane where a turtle got just above the high tide line, made a disturbed area, pushed and threw sand to both sides of the track as if she got bogged down, but did not lay eggs there either. Someone might have seen her or seen her tracks before we arrived because they wrote “TURTLE” in the sand using spartina sticks to make the letters – false crawl #3. We hope this turtle (or possibly two turtles) will come back tonight and have a more successful trip onto the beach leaving eggs behind.
Nest #7 for Sullivan's Island
In honor of World Sea Turtle Day which is today, June 16, two loggerheads left eggs buried on the beach during the night. Sullivan’s Island Nest #7 was first seen by the SIPD and reported to the Turtle Team at 2 am. POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS tape was put around the body pit, so it was easy for us to find at dawn. Kristin Zeaser Sydow with her dog Rio and Karen Britton were on patrol were surprised to find how the police had marked this nest. It was laid very close to where Nest #6 was laid in the maritime forest near the northeast end of the Sand Dunes Club property a few days ago. But this one was even lower in that eroded and flood prone part of the beach. Some of the eggs were close to the surface and we are glad that none of them were broken from probing. The total here was 133 eggs, and they were relocated to the same dune southwest of the Sand Dunes Club path as Nests #4 and #6. A coyote was seen on the Sand Dunes Club path as one of us was leaving. It was reported to the Town Administrator.
Mary found the clutch of eggs, while Coco kept watch for coyotes
Nest #16 for Isle of Palms
Isle of Palms Nest #16 between Ocean Point and Ocean Club Villas in Wild Dunes was discovered by Sue Widhalm and Diane Mullins with her dog, Saylor. This nest was below the spring tide wrack line and near last night’s high tide line in a spot where they would probably not have survived to hatch. There were 103 in this clutch and they were relocated to Mariner’s Walk also in Wild Dunes.
Nest #6 for Sullivan's Island
Jenn Gragg and Diane Brumley reported tracks from a large loggerhead that came up on the beach northeast of the Sand Dunes Club path and crawled through the dead “boneyard” type trees bumping into the ‘scarped dune for about 40 yards before she finally made it into the maritime forest, knocking down dog fennel, digging up dewberry vines and other forest plants. Even there the tide had gone beyond that spot carrying spartina wrack which was also in thick rows along the beach. Finding the egg chamber was not easy because of all the debris, but a large clutch of 140 eggs was the prize. However, the bottom of the hole contained wet dirt, telling us that the water table would be a problem for incubation. We relocated the eggs to the nearest suitable spot which was on the same dune southwest of the Sand Dunes Club path where Nest #4 was moved higher on May 24. We are glad that this turtle persisted through the obstacle course where she travelled last night and that we were able to save these eggs.
Unfortunately, Diane and Jenn also reported a dead juvenile loggerhead washed up at Station 16 with its head missing. At least it wasn’t one of our nesting females
Nest #15 for Isle of Palms
Liz Firestone and Linda Tucker were lucky to see a large loggerhead returning to the ocean near the hotel at Grand Pavilion in Wild Dunes this morning. Her carapace measured 104 cms and she had just finished laying 145 eggs on the flat beach. They were relocated to a safe spot near 22nd Avenue for incubation.
Meanwhile at 22nd Ave..... the core team move the eggs to a safe dune.
At 42nd Avenue there was a false crawl and several holes left on the beach where the tracks skirted dangerously close to one of the deep holes. This is an ongoing problem in spite of the signs at the access paths and now on the message board near the Wild Dunes gate at 46th Avenue. Now that the beach season is in full swing, our volunteers are unfortunately finding and reporting multiple holes which are a danger to turtles as well as people
Nest #5 for Sullivan's Island
Sullivan’s Island Nest #5 was a very unusual find. Kristin Zeaser-Sydow and her sweet dog Rio found tracks near Station 15 going back to the water, but incoming tracks were washed away by the tide. This turtle managed to climb up the small cliff of a scarped dune to the spot where Nest #4 was found two weeks and two days ago. Of course, Kristin always does her “turtle dance” with happiness when she finds a nest, so we were treated to that!
It is possible from the track size and the interval since Nest #4 was laid right there that these hatchings could be siblings in Nest #5 which would be amazing. A loggerhead will nest about every two weeks during the season, and perhaps this one really is faithful to that spot? We may or may not find out for sure depending on whether the genetics samples are read in time, but these two nests are so close that their mesh screens just about overlapped. We were worried about placing the short backup sticks behind the new nest because they were close to the egg chamber of Nest #4, but it worked out all right. What an amazing coincidence that they are so close together. Our only worry is that the ghost crab population there near Fort Moultrie is huge and the hatchlings will have to run the gauntlet of dozens of hungry nocturnal crabs on their way to the ocean.
Nest #14 for Isle of Palms
We are calling IOP Nest #14 near the 38A Access path the Taylor Swift nest because it was laid at the large house with multiple chimneys on front beach where Taylor vacationed several years ago. Cindy Judy of Mt. Pleasant was on the beach and first spotted the tracks. She called the SCDNR hotline 800 number to report them. They came out of the water at 38th Avenue, led to a nice body pit and then wandered on up the beach for another block near 39th Avenue before going back to the ocean. Jane Powers, Linda Bettelli and Sue Googer were on patrol, soon came across these long tracks and called them in. The nest contained 128 eggs but was laid low on the flood prone part of the beach below the spring tide line and in the path of truck tracks on the beach. For these reasons they were moved higher on the beach at that some location at Taylor’s vacation house.
Nest #13 for Isle of Palms
A loggerhead laid eggs at the very busy and crowded part of the flat washed over beach at the Boardwalk/Inn Grand Pavilion area of Wild Dunes. The hotel had already set up chairs on top of the tracks. When they were asked to move them, more people put their own chairs on the tracks. Fortunately they did not put umbrellas down into the egg chamber – definitely not a good spot for a nest. This was discovered by Linda Thompson, Cindy Keane, Bev Miller and Aelecia Rideout on patrol this morning. There were 104 eggs in the nest with one found broken deep in the clutch which was used for our genetics sample for this turtle. The eggs were relocated to a safer spot also in Wild Dunes at Mariner’s Walk near Nest # 8 laid on May 25th.
Nest #12 for Isle of Palms
FINALLY, a loggerhead made it up into the dunes to lay her eggs and we did not have to relocate it! Karen Oldiges and Kathy Magruder were on patrol when Karen spotted the tracks. Nest #12 for the Isle of Palms was laid just north of County Park in front of the 3rd house in the Beachside Community last night. The tracks indicated that this turtle might have had an injury or abnormality of a right flipper. But she got to a good spot to nest after crawling a very long distance. We took a genetics sample, recorded the GPS location and marked the nest with a sign and a protective screen. We found an empty bag of Mott’s Fruit Snacks on top of the nest. It was either litter or the turtle was snacking while nesting!
Nest #11 for Isle of Palms
The eleventh Isle of Palms nest was discovered this morning by Cindy Moore, Paige Hauff and Diane Troy. It was near Dewees Inlet at Ocean Point along the 18th fairway in Wild Dunes and contained 127 eggs. The wind was howling, so the field signs were not clear in the blowing sand, but the eggs were discovered and relocated to a safer spot between 21st and 22nd Avenue. Seven of these eleven nests have been laid in the Wild Dunes area, but this is the first one near Dewees Inlet along the Links Golf Course.
Nest #10 for Isle of Palms
A new beginning for "Enzo" the eight week old golden puppy and a melancholy last trip to the beach for "Luna" before she crosses the "Rainbow Bridge"
Luna and her family were the first ones' to see the turtle and allerted the IOP Police. This is turtle number 10 for this year but although we don't name our turtles I think this one will always be Luna and her 121 eggs laid are a new beginning.
The police called about a loggerhead “stuck in the sand” at 25th Avenue at 5:45 this morning. When we arrived, they were about to lift her to help her get up to the dunes off the flat beach where the trucks drive at this vehicular access path. They were asked to leave her alone because she was just covering her eggs low on the beach where tide and trucks would destroy the eggs and was doing the normal post laying routine which can take 30 minutes or more – moving her rear flippers, inching forward, and throwing sand around to disguise her nest spot. We were able to scan her for embedded chips and measure her shell as she returned to the ocean after laying 121 eggs.
Kerrie Scott, along with her son Caden and her daughter Sydney and Sydney’s 8 week old golden retriever puppy Enzo were excited to see all of this on their Thursday morning patrol from 9th to 30th. The eggs were moved to a safe location between 21st and 22nd Avenue, near Nest #9 laid two days ago.
This morning's loggerhead on the beach at 25th
Nest #9 for Isle of Palms
This morning Katie Donohoe, Andres St. Armand and Penny Lanigan found Nest #9 for the Isle of Palms just north of the 36A Access Path. Tracks measured almost the same as the 4 false crawls in Wild Dunes day before yesterday, so maybe she finally found a spot she liked for her eggs. This nest was laid on the flat beach, below the spring tide line far from the ocean. There were 121 eggs that were relocated to a suitable dune 4 doors north of 21st Avenue.
"False Crawl Jubilee!"
This morning was like "herding cats" for team leader Mary Pringle
Last night was a big night for turtles who did not feel like laying any eggs, it seems. We had a total of six non-nesting crawls on the Isle of Palms and two on Sullivan’s Island. None of these tracks let to a body pit, the indicator that a hole was dug and eggs were laid and covered up. This does happen often, but we can’t remember one night when it happened eight times on our islands. It kept the Turtle Team hopping!
False Crawl #9 was in Wild Dunes at 11 Beachwood East behind the sand fencing. False Crawl #10 was next door to #9 at 10 Beachwood East. False Crawl # 11 was near 52nd Avenue along with False Crawl #12 nearby at 53rd Avenue. All four of these crawls measured 21,” so there is a good chance that they were made by the same turtle who was very picky about choosing her spot. False Crawl #13 was near the 30A Access path made by a slightly smaller turtle. And the final IOP crawl was at 43rd Avenue made by a turtle who seemed to be larger than the Wild Dunes one and the 30A one.
FOR SI: False Crawl #5 for Sullivan’s was at the Station 17 Jungle path and another crawl was just NE of Station 21. These track measurements were with an inch of being the same size, possibly the same loggerhead.
Nest #8 for Isle of Palms
A nice surprise for Bryan Stephens whose birthday is Saturday. This morning he and Allen Owens found Nest #8 at Mariner’s Walk in Wild Dunes. Laura Lovins and Holly Barron were also in patrol in that section. There were 119 eggs that were moved to a higher and safer location off the flat beach near that spot and still at Mariner’s Walk.
Two More Nests for the Turtle Team
Nest #4 for Sullivan's
Bob and Laurie Snyder found Nest #4 for Sullivan’s Island this morning. It was laid a few hundred yards SW of the Sand Dunes Club path where the erosion is extreme in some places with some steeply ‘scarped dunes. It was a good find because the tide had erased all but a couple of feet of the turtle’s tracks. The nest was laid close to the edge of the eroded dune in a very precarious spot. For this reason we moved the 126 eggs farther back away from the edge at that same location for a safer incubation. Sullivan’s sometimes doesn’t get its first nest until the first week of June. So this is a continuation of the early season start there.
NOTES FROM THE BEACH MAY 24
Nest #7 for Isle of Palms
Another nest in the Wild Dunes area of the Isle of Palms was laid on the flat beach just north of 53rd Avenue this morning. It was discovered by Linda Thompson, Bev Miller, Cindy Keane and Aelecia Rideout along with there dogs Harbor and Morgan. There were 108 eggs in this one which were relocated to a place near the 56th Avenue path near Nest #5 from three days ago.
Nest #2 & #3 for Sullivan's Island
Nest # 2 at Station 20.......................................... Nest #3 at Station 15
SULLIVAN’s ISLAND Nests #2 and #3: It’s unusual for Sullivan’s to get many nests in May, but there were two laid there last night which means it might be a bountiful year for our loggerheads in 2023. First Ginger Colvin, Tita Massie and Karen Bartlett reported tracks at the Sullivan’s Island Elementary School at Station 20. The outgoing tracks on the receding tide were much longer than the incoming ones which means she spent a while up in the dunes. But the really unusual thing about this nest was that there were NO TRACKS up in the dunes because the wind had completely erased them. We call this the “flying turtle” syndrome because it looks like she did not crawl on the ground to where the nest was laid. We were able to find a spot on the secondary dune line where there was a circular area of broken sea rocket plants because this turtle damaged, broke and buried the vegetation as she dug her nest and then covered it. We were able to locate the egg chamber and marked the nest where it was laid. We will find out how many eggs are in it when we do the inventory in late July.
The third Sullivan’s Island nest of the season was discovered by Diane Brumley and Joanne Staton near Station 15. There is no public access path there between the fort and Station 16. The beach is in really rough shape from erosion in most of that stretch, but this turtle managed to crawl back to an elevated dune to lay her eggs. Again, we felt that this spot was safe from anything but extreme storm erosion and so we marked the spot with a sign and a screen to keep coyotes away just like Nest #2. It might produce hatchlings at the same time as Nest #2.
NOTES FROM THE BEACH MAY 23
Nest #6 for IOP
ISLE OF PALMS NEST #6:Janine Davis, Ann Thompson and Karen Novak were on patrol in Wild Dunes this morning when they found tracks at Seagrove, just north of the hotel at Grand Pavilion. This loggerhead laid 135 eggs which were moved out of the flood prone area to Beach Club Villas near the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House.
Nest #5 for IOP
ISLE OF PALMS NEST #5: On the Isle of Palms, again the extreme high tides showed us that Nest #5 found this morning by Gillian Ellis along with her father Richard and Todd Murphy, a new Turtle Team member, was also at the extreme high tide line and on the flat beach in this Wild Dunes section just north of the 56th Avenue beach access path. There were 131 eggs here that were relocated to the closest safe dune which was two doors south of the 56th Avenue path and screened for coyotes.
TURTLE TEAM EXTRA NOTES FROM TODAY!
Nest #1 for Sullivan's Island
SULLIVAN’S ISLAND NEST #1: After two false crawls the first nest was laid on Sullivan’s Island last night. It was in the same section as yesterday’s false crawl, but the tracks were not the same measurement between rear flipper claw marks. Tracy Doyle, Alex Garcia and Joanne Lingerfelt were on patrol along with Alex’s friend Grace Johnston when they found long tracks between the paths for Station 16 and 17. Even though it was high on the flat beach, because of the extreme tides we are having and the wake of huge ships that pass by just offshore and flood the beach, it was also in a spot where the tide frequently comes when the moon is full or new. It was a small clutch of only 80 eggs in an oddly shaped body pit because the turtle crawled back over this field sign. We were visited by a new member of the SIPD named Monty who saw his first loggerhead tracks and eggs after stopping his patrol car. The eggs were moved to a slightly elevated dune close by at the Station 17 “Jungle Path” for incubation and it was screened for coyotes.
Nest #4 for IOP
This morning Liz Firestone discovered two sets of tracks, both measuring the same 21” diagonally. They were both at Beachwood East not far from Liz’s house. Linda Tucker was also out on patrol. One set was a false crawl almost exactly where yesterday’s false crawl was and the other led to a nest that contained 114 eggs. These were relocated off the flat beach onto a dune at Beach Club Villas just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House.
Meanwhile on Sullivan’s Island, Paula Brady, Neil Hunt and Maureen McNichols discovered that a loggerhead had crawled ashore between Station 18 and the Sand Dunes Club where there is extreme erosion damage to the dunes. This poor turtle bumped up against the escarpment wall three different times trying to get up onto a suitable nesting site before giving up and going back to the ocean without laying eggs. This was False Crawl #2 for Sullivan’s. She could hardly have picked a worse spot to try to nest. We hope she will succeed next time.
Meanwhile on Sullivan's Island
Nest #3 for IOP
We had two sets of tracks this morning on the Isle of Palms. Michelle Blackstock found some near 27th Avenue where a loggerhead turned around without laying any eggs and went back to the ocean. And then Barbara Jervey reported more tracks just north of 45th Avenue. This turtle was still on the beach throwing sand after laying her eggs. Several large dogs starting bothering her in spite of Barbara’s attempts to keep them away as the turtle crawled back to the ocean. Her tracks matched the ones Michelle found, so it was possibly the same nesting female making both tracks. She did not get above the spring tide wrack line on this wide part of the beach to nest, so the 111 eggs were relocated farther south on the beach at 2204 Palm Blvd between 22nd and 23rd Avenues on a safe and suitable dune
Counting eggs with a little help from a furry friend.
Nest #2 for IOP
Eggs were found and moved to Property Owners Beach House. Mary and Jo went straight to the Beach House to get the nest ready.
The first Wild Dunes nest and Nest #2 for the Turtle Team was found this morning by Sue White, Kathy Guatteri and Rebecca Kaminski at 7 Dunecrest Lane. The turtle did not crawl up to the dune line and laid on the flat beach. From the track marks it appeared that she had a possibly problem with her left rear flipper which made digging difficult on that side resulting in an irregularity in the shape of the egg chamber she dug. However, she did lay a bumper crop of 142 eggs which were moved up onto a dune at Beach Club Villas north of the WD Property Owners Beach House for safe incubation.
First Nest of Season for IOP
138 Eggs...Great Start to Season
A beautiful morning for the first nest of the season on the Isle of Palms. At dawn Sallie Campbell, Jeannie Yzquierdo, Joanne Robinson, Eileen Dulany and Helen Sullivan discovered tracks right at the 7th Avenue Path. There were 138 eggs laid and these were moved above the eroded dune line and out of the heavily travelled path to a dune very close by at 622 Ocean Blvd to incubate for a possible 138 tiny turtles to come out sometime in July.
Meanwhile on Sullivan’s Island Molly Shea also found short loggerhead tracks made before high tide just north of the Station 21 path. After extensive probing for eggs, we determined that this turtle went back to the ocean without laying any. Perhaps she will return tonight. The spot was marked with a plain stick showing that no eggs were found. But we can still confirm that by checking it at the time IOP Nest 1 produces hatchlings.