Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivan's Island

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Nest #38 on IOP Inventoried

September 17, 2020

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Nest #38 on the Isle of Palms was found by Aubrey Schmidt, Peggy Klimecki and Trisha Hoff on July 27. The loggerhead had crawled all the way over the high primary dune at the 25th Avenue Path which is a berm bulldozed up after the last hurricane erosion damage several years ago. She laid her eggs near the flat ground on the landward side of it near a swimming pool under construction. We moved the 74 eggs back over to the ocean side so the hatchlings would have a chance in finding the right way which they did after 49 days of incubation. Eleven hatchlings came out during the day and were helped to the ocean. The inventory today showed 65 empty shells, 8 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings live or dead. Hatch Success was 87.8%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last Inventory on Sullivan's Island

September 17, 2020

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It’s been an up and down year for Sullivan’s Island loggerhead nests. Between the tide and coyotes, there have been mixed results. Putting screens on the nests was necessary and seemed to protect them, letting the hatchlings come up through the holes to get to the ocean in the middle of the night. The final one, Nest #8, was found on July 25 by Dave and Mae Peterseim with Paula Brady and Neil Hunt. It was moved higher away from the tide line where it was laid between Stations 17 and 18. It incubated for 51 days. Inventory today showed that 9 eggs failed to develop out of 108 laid with 2 dead and 5 live hatchlings still in the nest to be released. Hatch Success was 91.6%.

We have had such wonderful work done by volunteers on Sullivan’s this season and want to thank all of them for their dedication and hard work in spite of the fact that the Covid-10 pandemic made 2020 the first year that inventories were closed to onlookers. We are all looking forward to and hoping for a normal season in 2021.

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Season is almost over

Three Nests Inventoried

September 13, 2020

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Nest #35 was found at 7th Avenue on July 16 by Ed Peyser and Annie and Dan Vola. It contained 75 eggs and incubated for 52 days after being moved to 22nd Avenue. Inventory showed that only 4 eggs failed to develop and only one dead hatchling was left in the nest three days after the boil. Hatch Success was 93.3%.

Nest #36 produced turtles three days ago and was inventoried this morning. It was found near the 8A Access Path on July 17 by Joanne Robinson, Alice Williams and Eileen Dulany and relocated to 22nd Avenue. There were 114 eggs laid that incubated for 54 days. Today there were 63 empty shells, 50 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and 2 live hatchlings. Hatch Success was 55.2%. We are not sure why so many did not develop since there was no tidal wash over or ground water rising into the egg chamber. Sometimes this just happens.

Nest #5 at Station 25, on Sullivan's Island, failed to hatch. This nest was found by Cyndy Ewing on July 5 with the female loggerhead still crawling on the beach after laying her eggs. It was not moved so we did not know how many eggs were laid at the time. It was not overwashed by the tide when Hurricane Isaias came, but a little water might have risen into the bottom of the egg chamber. At the inventory we saw that there were 116 eggs laid and the very bottom ones were turning black which may have been caused by water. But the ones above it were still white or slightly discolored from age and none seemed to contain any developed embryos, only yolk and albumen. Every year we and other nesting projects seem to have a few nests like this that do not develop (Nests 8 and 31 on the IOP are the same way). Perhaps there is some other reason that is unknown. And perhaps when our genetics samples are read and reported, we can see if this turtle may have laid those other nests that had this problem as well since they were not flooded.

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Not many hatchlings found during inventories.....but some beautiful sunrises!

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Three Nests Inventoried

September 6, 2020

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Nest #29 which was found at Ocean Club Villas on July 7 by Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Paige Owens. The turtle laid 85 eggs that incubated for 55 days after being relocated to 23rd Avenue. There were 74 empty eggshells and 10 undeveloped eggs with no live or dead hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch and Emergence Success was 87%.

Nest #33 was found 4 days later on July 11 near 13 Beachwood East. The turtle was seen crawling on the beach near Barbara Bernstein’s house. She reported it to us and helped keep people away from the turtle while she laid her eggs. Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt patrolled in the morning when the 84 eggs were being moved to 23rd Avenue where they incubated for 51 days before producing hatchlings. There were only 5 eggs that did not develop and no hatchlings dead or alive left in the nest. Hatch and Emergence Success was a very good 92.8%.

Nest #34 was found by Lauri Ashmore and Wendy Thiel on July 12 near 24th Avenue. It was left to incubate where it was laid and produced hatchlings 52 days later. Today we found 69 empty hatched egg shells and 37 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchlings with no live ones left in the nest. It had been washed over by the tide at least two times, once during Hurricane Isaias and again on August 15. Since most of the undeveloped eggs were at the bottom of the clutch, it could also be that ground water got into the egg chamber and drowned the deepest eggs early in development because there was no development of the embryos. Hatch Success was 64.4% and Emergence Success was 63.5%

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Nest #32 Nest Inventoried

August 31, 2020

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Nest #32 was inventoried today. It was found on July 9 by Deborah Johnson and Linda Conrad near 15 Beachwood East in Wild Dunes. There were 119 eggs that incubated for 50 days. The inventory showed 80 empty eggshells, 38 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling left in the nest. Hatch Success was 67.2%.

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Three Nests Inventoried

August 29, 2020

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NEST # 6 at Station 16 produced hatchlings 3 days ago after 49 days of incubation and was inventoried this morning. This nest was found by Jenn Gragg and Diane Brumley on July 6 near the path at 16 and was not relocated. It did not get washed over by the tide. There were 90 empty eggshells and 13 undeveloped eggs. But there were also 21 dead hatchlings still in the nest which was very wet. We suspect that they hatched out but before they could emerge from the nest, a drenching rain came and flooded it causing them to drown. We have heard that this can happen. The Hatch Success was a respectable 86.5%, but because so many of those died in the nest, Emergence Success was only 66.3%

NEST #28 was found on July 4 by Laurie and Ty Willson near 21st Avenue and 86 eggs were moved higher on the beach because they were laid below the spring tide line. These eggs incubated for 53 days and hatchling tracks were found on the beach on Wednesday morning. Only four eggs did not develop in addition to the one used for genetics sampling. That means hatch success was 94.1%.

NEST #30 was laid on July 8 and found near 57th Avenue by Aelecia Rideout, Linda Thompson and Bev Miller. There were 129 eggs relocated to 23rd Avenue that incubated for 49 days until Wednesday morning. This one did not do so well for unknown reasons. There were 64 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and 1 live hatchling that was released. Hatch Success here was only 48.8%

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SI Nest Inventoried

August 25, 2020

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The nest near the lighthouse at Station 18 on Sullivan’s Island was found on July 3 by Kristin Zeaser-Sydow and Karen Britton. It was laid low on the beach and moved higher at that same location to avoid the tide. The timing was right and the same barnacle mark on her plastron made us think this might be the same loggerhead who laid Richard Hanf’s Nest #2 at Station 25 and False Crawl # 6 at Station 16. These 117 eggs incubated for 50 days. The inventory showed that 14 of them failed to develop and only one live hatchling was left in the nest. Hatch Success was 87.1% when we take into account that one egg was taken for genetics sampling. We still don’t have any results back from the DNA research study but hope to hear something before long to help identify our nesting females.

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Three Nests Inventoried on IOP

August 22, 2020

 

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Nest #22 which was found by Miriam Hurt, Linda Snider and Laurie Willson on June 27 at 27th Avenue, was dug into by coyotes on August 12 and 65 eggs were destroyed. A screen was place on it for the rest of incubation which saved the remaining eggs. A few tracks were seen on August 16 and the inventory was done today. The number of eggs laid was 135. There were 11 undeveloped eggs and 58 empty shells. No hatchlings, dead or alive, were left in the nest. Because of the coyote damage Hatch Success was only 42.9%.

Nest #24 was laid on June 28 at the north end of Beach Club Villas in Wild Dunes and was found by Paige Hauff and Diane Troy. It contained 85 eggs and was relocated to 31st Avenue where it incubated for 52 days. The inventory showed 83 empty shells, one undeveloped egg and one live hatchling. Hatch Success was a great 97.6%.

Nest #25 was found by Rebecca Kaminsky, Sue White and Janis James-Rubin at Dunecrest Lane in Wild Dunes on June 29. The nest contained 147 eggs and was relocated to 31st Avenue for 51 days of incubation. There were 139 empty shells, 7 undeveloped eggs and 12 live hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch Success was 94.5%.

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We were hoping to show you a comparison of a green hatchling and one of our loggerhead hatchlings. When we inventoried our green nest, yesterday, there were not stragglers to photograph. This photo was taken at the SC Aquarium several years ago. What an amazing difference between the green on top and the loggerhead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Green Nest Inventoried on IOP

August 21, 2020

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In spite of the rain this morning, we were able to get an inventory of Nest #21 laid by a large green sea turtle, not a loggerhead, on June 24 which was found at Ocean Club Villas by Doug and Gina McQuilken. The turtles emerged from the sand 55 days later which was earlier than expected. Out of 101 eggs laid, one was cut open by the sharp shells in the sand from the renourishment project when it was laid and only 4 more failed to develop. We were hoping to see a green hatchling left in the nest, but they were all gone. There were no dead or live hatchlings in the very healthy and successful nest. Hatch and Emergence Success were a wonderful 95%.

 

 

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Three Inventories on IOP

August 19, 2020

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With rain clouds threatening, we inventoried Nest 23, 26 and 27 near 31st Avenue on the Isle of Palms today. Here are the results:

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Nest #23 was found on June 28 near 45th Avenue by Terri Stafford, Lori Nelson, Penny Portman and Rene Rivlin. There were 122 eggs in the nest that were relocated just south of 31st Avenue. After 48 days of incubation, it hatched and we found 19 undeveloped eggs and 5 live hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch Success was 83.6%

Nest #26 was found on June 30th in Wild Dunes at Port O’Call by Cindy Bergstrom and Paige Owens and 124 eggs were relocated to 31st Avenue. This nest has the lowest incubation time so far at only 47 days and we were surprised to see tracks on Sunday morning. Hatch success was 82.6% with 21 undeveloped eggs and 10 live hatchlings left in the nest.

Nest #27 was found on the same day as #26 by Leslee Gordon, Andrea St. Amand, Penny Lanigan and Kimberly Hood near the 30A Access Path. It was moved higher onto a dune closer to 31st and contained 121 eggs. It produced hatchlings also after 47 days, just like its twin #26. These nests are an example of what happened when the weather turned hot at the beginning of July shortening incubation times. We found 3 undeveloped eggs and 14 live hatchlings in the nest. Hatch Success was 96.6%

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One little guy had a rocky start while the others hussled to the water.

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Two Inventories on IOP

August 16, 2020

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Nest #17 was found on June 17 by Linda Thompson, Bev Miller and Aelecia Rideout near 56th Avenue in Wild Dunes. It contained 105 eggs that incubated for 57 days near 21st Avenue. We found 5 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch Success was 92.3%

Nest #19 was found on June 21 by Diane Troy and Paige Hauff near the Seascape and Port O’Call Condos in Wild Dunes. There were 100 eggs in it and incubation took 53 days. For some reason this nest did not develop well even though it was not washed over or damaged in any way. There was one live hatchling that was released and one live pipped hatchling that was returned to the nest to finish its’ incubation. So when we include the egg taken for genetics sampling, the Hatch Success was 30.3%

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Six Inventories on IOP and Sullivan's Island

August 14, 2020

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Nest #13 was found by Natalie Allard and her family, Ryan, Malin and Adlai at Summer Dunes Lane on June 11. It contained 111 eggs that were relocated to just north of the 23rd Ave path. After incubating for 63 days it finally produced hatchlings. The inventory showed us that 20 eggs failed to develop. One of the eggs had some very colorful magenta spots on it. This happens when there is bacterial growth on an undeveloped egg. There were one dead hatchling and no live ones left in the nest. Hatch Success was 81%.

Nest #15 was discovered on June 13 near Grand Pavilion in Wild Dunes by Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt. It was a large nest of 149 eggs that incubated for 55 days after being relocated to 23rd Avenue. This may have been the same turtle who laid Nest #6, another large clutch at the same place exactly 2 weeks before. No genetics results have come back yet. Inventory results were 8 undeveloped eggs, one live and one dead hatchling for a Hatch Success of 93.9%

Nest #16 was laid on June 16 near Shipwatch also in Wild Dunes and found by Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Paige Owens. There were 120 eggs that incubated for 55 days near 21st Avenue. At the inventory there were 5 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchling. Hatch Success was 95%.

Nest #18 was found by Susan Riley Chagrin and Jennifer Martin at 29th Avenue. It incubated there and hatched after 53 days. We counted 66 empty shells and 8 undeveloped eggs. This means that 75 eggs were laid. One dead and one live hatchling were still in the nest. Hatch Success was 88%.

Nest #20 was found by Jane Sorensen, Sue Harris and Madelaine Hairrell on June 22. This was the nest that was laid at the volleyball court post at the foot of a steep dune near 10th Avenue at the Windjammer. There were 125 eggs that were relocated to a dune near 21st Avenue and produced hatchlings after 50 days, earlier than most of our nests. In the nest we found 18 undeveloped eggs and 6 live hatchlings that were released. Hatch Success was 83.2%

Nest #2 on Sullivan’s Island was found on June 19 by Richard and Elizabeth Hanf at Sta 25. It was low near the tide line and was moved up onto a dune there. There were 145 eggs. It incubated for 52 days. Today we did the inventory and found 2 undeveloped eggs and 11 live healthy hatchlings that were released into the ocean. Hatch Success was 97.9% - a good healthy nest.

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Two Inventories and Some Coyote & Crab Action for IOP

August 11, 2020   

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Nest #14 was laid low on the beach at the 36A Path and discovered by Sue Hogan and Carol Jaworski on June 12. The eggs were moved up onto a dune at that same location. The turtle laid 137 eggs that incubated for 57 days before hatchlings came out. Today the inventory revealed that 99 of them were successful, 37 eggs did not develop and 18 live hatchlings were still in the nest. Hatch Success was 72.2%.    

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NEST # 8   

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Nest #8 has was laid 71 days ago and had still failed to produce any hatchlings. It was found by Sue White, Rebecca Kaminsky and Janis James-Rubin on June 1 near 55th Avenue and relocated to 23rd Avenue. The DNR allows us to inventory after 70 days if this happens but we have to wait that long. Just as expected we found that the 108 eggs that were put there were all undeveloped, collapsed and nonviable. It was not disturbed, washed over by tide, attacked by fire ants or invaded by roots so the cause for this is unknown. Sometimes a nest will do this for no known reason which is a disappointment. Hatch Success was 0%.

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And although Nest #18 at 29th Avenue was not damaged by coyotes, they did dig inside the triangle but did not find the egg chamber. So this does not count as predation by coyotes, but it was a close call. A live and a dead hatchling were found on the sand and reported by Michelle Ziegler on her final scheduled walk of the 2020 season. We repaired the hole where ghost crabs were investigating and put a self-releasing screen over the nest to keep the hatchlings safe until they come out. While we were out there to deal with the damaged nest, the wrack was cleared away.     

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Surprise....Nest #40 for IOP

August 10, 2020   

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Just when we thought there would be no more eggs laid, a loggerhead crawled up near Ocean Club Villas and nested. Cathy Harris and Kristen Ayers found Nest #40 on the very last Monday patrol of the season. Quite a surprise since the last time a new nest was found in August was in 2014. This year has been so strange in many ways. The turtle laid 92 eggs which were relocated to a dune just south of 21st Avenue. That area seems to be outside of the regular nightly patrol of the family of coyotes who live at 23rd Avenue. It will not hatch until sometime in October making for a very long season.   

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Three More Inventories

August 7, 2020   

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Nest #1 just north of the Sand Dunes Club was inventoried at first light. It was discovered by Jan Booth on June 11 and contained 122 eggs. There were showers all around but the beach was clear for the inventory. This is the nest that had hatchlings attacked by a red tailed hawk as they emerged from the sand at midday on Tuesday. When that happened we noticed a few “blond” hatchlings that were not albinos but were more beige in color than the regular loggerhead hatchling coloration. We found 38 undeveloped eggs, one live and one dead hatchling at the inventory. Hatch Success was 68% even though it was well above the tide line and had not been over washed during incubation. 

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Nest #12 was found at Beach Club Villas in Wild Dunes by Kristen Ayers, Carolyn Eshelman and Cathy Harris on June 8 and relocated to 23rd Avenue. It contained 120 eggs. They incubated for 57 days and came out of the nest on Tuesday. We found 28 undeveloped eggs with at least a half dozen eggs encased in roots and 5 live hatchlings for a Hatch Success of 75.8%

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The last of the 3 nests at 43rd Avenue was inventoried this morning. It was found near 54th Avenue by Mary and Dennis Frazier and Deborah Johnson on June 4 and relocated to 43rd Avenue that day. There were 105 eggs laid. The inventory revealed that 18 eggs failed to develop. There were one live and one dead hatchlings left in the nest. Hatch Success was 81.9% and Emergence Success was 80%.August 7, 2020  

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Nest #6 Inventoried on Isle of Palms

August 5, 2020   

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Nest #6 was found on May 30 by Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt near Grand Pavilion in Wild Dunes and moved to 23rd Avenue. It was a very large clutch of 153 eggs. There were 29 unhatched eggs and 10 live hatchlings left in the nest which incubated for 64 days. Hatch Success was 80.3%.

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Two inventories on Isle of Palms

August 3, 2020 

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Just before the rain from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Isaias we inventoried two nests at 43rd Avenue. It was good to send them on their way in the ocean where their chances of survival are probably better than the chance of getting drowned under the surface of the sand if it floods.

Nest #9 was found by Sue Googer, Linda Bettelli, Jane Powers and Barbara Allen on June 4 at that location and moved higher on the beach. It contained 144 eggs that incubated for 59 days. Today we found 12 unhatched eggs, 9 dead hatchlings and 9 live hatchlings which were released across the very large tide pool to crawl to the ocean. Hatch Success was 90.9%.

Nest #11 was found by Maryalice Morro, Diane Mullins and Sue Widhalm on June 5 at Beach Club Villas in Wild Dunes. There were 134 eggs at 43rd Ave that incubated for 56 days. For some reason 34 eggs failed to develop and 39 hatchlings were found dead in the nest. There were 11 hatchlings still alive to release. Hatch Success was only 73.8%.

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Small Surprise..After the Wild Nest

Two inventories on Isle of Palms

August 3, 2020 

 

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After relocating our Wild Nest, we checked the nests at 43rd Ave. These nests have been dribbling hatchlings for several days. Sure enough there was one set of tracks coming from the nest and heading directly to the ocean. The challenge for the little guy, besides loads of people on the beach, was a gully he had to swim through before even getting close to the ocean. He was a champ and moved directly through it and kept on heading to the water. There was a wedding photo shoot he was going to join when we decided to give him a lift.One of the young members of the wedding party decided to join us.

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Surprise...Wild Nest in Wild Dunes

August 1, 2020 

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We got a call from someone at the Wild Dunes Property Owners Beach House that over 100 turtle eggs were floating in the water. The Harrison family from Asheville NC had gotten them out and buried them in the sand in the dunes nearby. When a nest is missed or undetected, it is called a Wild Nest in our database. The surf was very rough and amazingly close to the building and the tide had eroded the normal high tide line where so many of our loggerheads laid nests this season. This is a good indication of what would have happened if we had not moved all of those nests laid there this season to safer parts of the island.

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We checked with SCDNR and they instructed us to rebury those eggs in a safe spot, so we took them to 5th Avenue where Nest #38 is located. This nest was laid about a week ago and from the appearance of the eggs, they might be about a week old. Their color and firmness are clues to the degree of development. We relocated them and marked them with a single nest sign instead of a triangle. This is what we have done in the past with eggs laid at the SC Aquarium by turtles in care there. We will give them about 70 days and then check to see if there was any development but are not optimistic that they are viable after what they have been through. At least we got a genetics sample from a broken one which is good information.

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Nest #7 on IOP Inventoried

August 1, 2020 

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We knew Nest #7 did well before the inventory because of the number of hatchling tracks 3 days ago. It was discovered by Aubrey Schmidt, Jane Solomon, Trisha Hoff and Peggy Klimecki near the 5A Access Path on Ocean Blvd on June 1 and incubated for 58 days. It was laid near the high tide line and was moved higher on a dune near that same spot. Even though one of the triangle sticks were attacked by termites and had to be thrown away, the nest was very healthy with only 4 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling left in the nest. Hatch Success was 95.6% and Emergence Success was 94.7% according to Seaturtle.org.

 

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Nest #3 & #4 on IOP Inventoried

July 31, 2020 

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Inventory of Nest #3: This nest was found on May 23 by Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt at the Property Owners Beach house in Wild Dunes. The 109 eggs were relocated to a spot just south of the 51st Avenue Path. It incubated for 66 days. We found 97 empty eggshells, 11 undeveloped eggs and 3 live hatchlings. Hatch Success was 88.9%.

Inventory of Nest #4: Nest #4 was found on May 25 near the Boardwalk Inn in the Grand Pavilion area of Wild Dunes by Sue White, Janis James-Rubin and Rebecca Kaminsky. It was also taken to 51st Avenue to incubate. There were 125 eggs in this one and it incubated for 64 days. Left in the nest were 115 empty shells, 9 undeveloped eggs and 3 live hatchlings. Hatch Success was 92%.

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Coyotes !!!!

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The Isle of Palms coyotes seem to have discovered our turtle nests. So far they have only damaged our nest markers. The Turtle Team has decided to be proactive and has installed protective screening to protect the nests. Fingers crossed. It seems like whole families of coyotes have been running over our nests. Note the tracks of different sizes in the pictures.

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Nest #5 on IOP Inventoried

July 27, 2020 

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Nest #5 was found by Paige Owens, Cindy Bergstrom and Patti Horton at Shipwatch in Wild Dunes on May 26 and relocated to a spot at Ocean Point. There were 135 eggs that incubated for 59 days and was inventoried this morning. As you are probably aware, DNR rules prohibit us from letting anyone but the very few people performing the inventory to be there which is very disappointing. Even many of us who are authorized under the permit are not allowed to go since we have to alternate. The results were: 122 empty eggshells, 12 unhatched eggs and 11 live hatchlings remaining in the nest which were released into the ocean. Hatch Success on this one was 90.3%

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Nest #38 for Isle of Palms

July 27, 2020 

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A late surprise nest #38 was found this morning by Peggy Klimecki, Trish Hoff and Aubrey Schmidt. A small loggerhead (18-19” tracks) crawled up onto the high primary dune that was bulldozed after the last hurricane in 2018 and then slid down the steep cliff behind it onto the area where the bestselling author Kathy Reichs is building a front beach house at the 5th Avenue Access Path. Normally when our turtles crawl down the back of this dune, they don’t nest but crawl back up and return to the ocean. At first we thought this had happened, but on closer inspection we noticed a disturbed area about 10 feet from where she came down and this was not far from the swimming pool under construction there which is exactly where the hatchlings would have gone when they hatched. The sand in the egg chamber was more dense and stuck to the eggs unlike beach sand making us think that it was perhaps from the construction site. It must have been her final clutch for the season because there were only 74 eggs and these were moved to the ocean side of the same dune for the safe travel of the hatchlings to the water in mid September.

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Nest #8 for Sullivan's Island

July 25, 2020 

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Just when we thought our turtles were finishing up their nesting for the season Dave and Mae Peterseim found tracks near the Station 18 path. Paula Brady and Neil Hunt soon joined them after walking up from the Fort. The body pit was very indistinct and the field signs blurred because the thrown sand was so dry and powdery, but the difference in the length of the incoming and outgoing tracks on the outgoing tide was very great. This was our clue that she had spent a long time up on the beach in one spot. The 108 eggs for Nest #8 were found right away in the only spot that was logical. Since they were below the spring tide line and this nest will be out there through hurricane season, we relocated them to a higher dune a few doors SW of Station 18 to incubate.

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Nest #37 for Isle of Palms

July 24, 2020 

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We think our well-traveled turtle who did false crawls along Dunecrest Lane in Wild Dunes yesterday returned last night and came ashore SIX times between Port O Call and the Property Owners' Beach House. This section was being covered by Debbie Kurtz and her daughter Amanda as well as Louise Martin. Maryalice Morro was patrolling the north end of Wild Dunes. Nest #37 was laid right at the junction of these two sections. Maryalice was busy and we appreciate her finding all of these tracks. There were five false crawls starting with one at Port O Call, two at Summer House, two at Shipwatch and FINALLY a nest at the Property Owners' Beach House. They all went barely above the high tide line, including the sixth and final crawl where she laid 95 eggs. As she kept moving south the tide was receding so the tracks became longer with the south most and final tracks being the longest where the eggs were. All measured 23-24 inches between rear flipper claws. She can finally rest because her job is done!

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By the time all 6 crawls were documented and the eggs relocated to a much safer location at 22nd Avenue, rental umbrellas had been stuck in the ground at the spot where the eggs had been removed. That is one of the reasons why we have to be out there to save these nests before they are destroyed. 

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Nest Inventory for Nest #1

(and a bunch of false crawls)

July 23, 2020 

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Nest #1 was found by Ellen Gower and Jodie Taylor Morgan on May 19th at 614 Ocean Blvd. It contained 147 eggs (minus our sample egg) and incubated for 62 days after being moved higher up on the beach from the tide line at a spot near 616 Ocean Blvd. We were concerned because there was never any evidence of a big “boil” of hatchlings coming out after they started emerging from the sand before dark the night of July 19th . We have not received any genetics information on this or any of our turtles at this time. After three more mornings of seeing only a few tracks, it was inventoried today and there was good news and bad news. The good news is that all but 10 of the eggs were successful in hatching (92.5%) but the bad news was that 24 of them were trapped underground in very hard sand from the constant rain earlier in the incubation time. The surface sand was very dry and powdery but not down deep in the nest. These trapped hatchlings appeared healthy and vigorous and without an inventory, they would probably have died without making it to the ocean. Emergence success from the nest was 74.8% but how great that they were helped out by caring hands in time to survive.

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Once again we want to say that we are sorry that DNR restrictions are causing only a very few authorized people under our nesting permit at the inventories and always feel that this is their reward for all the months of rising early and covering the beach and finding tracks under sometimes less than ideal conditions. But we hope that this description and the pictures will help make up for this year which is certainly not the normal season.

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Meanwhile up in Wild Dunes

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Even though we have not had a new nest on either island for 6 days, apparently two loggerheads made 3 false crawls this morning in Wild Dunes. Deborah Johnson and Linda Conrad reported a set of tracks at Seagrove Condos near the hotel and two more sets of tracks at #5 and #6 Dunecrest Lane. The Seagrove tracks were smaller but the two at Dunecrest Lane matched in size and were likely the same turtle. The ones at #6, the brown Asian house, amazingly went all the way up to the sand fence - over 100 yards - before turning around and going back to the ocean. She must have been very tired and we are perplexed at why she did not lay a nest after that long trek. Nest numbers in SC have dropped off dramatically in the last week on Seaturtle.org, so it's not just our turtles who are apparently running out of eggs.

 

 

 

 

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Nest Inventory for Nest #2

July 19, 2020 

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The second nest of the season laid on May 21 near the 2A path was inventoried this morning. We were disappointed to see that someone had apparently stolen the sign overnight. This nest was not relocated and we discovered that there were 100 eggs laid. Out of these 87 had hatched and gotten out of the nest. Then there were 12 unhatched plus the one used for genetics sampling. There were no live or dead hatchlings left in the nest and Hatch and Emergence Success were 87%.

It is indeed sad that during this pandemic season SCDNR has ruled that only 2 people (those who are performing the inventory) are allowed to be at inventories with a possible exception for one more to stand back on the beach and help with controlling possible dogs which can be off lease if necessary. We feel that our volunteers who have done so much to make our program successful should be there, but rules are rules and we don't want to jeopardize our permit during this very unusual season.

 

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Also Nest #36 for IOP

July 17, 2020  

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During the night a loggerhead laid eggs near the 8A path and the tracks were reported by Joanne Robinson, Alice Williams and Eileen Dulany. People were on the beach in this very busy section near the Windjammer and police reported this turtle to us around 11 pm and calls were coming in until 2 am. But we always wait until dawn to investigate unless there is a problem with the public bothering the turtle. The 114 eggs were laid in the wrack line where they would have been flooded repeatedly. So the nest was taken to 22nd Avenue and put on a dune with proper elevation to incubate until September.

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Surprise ! Nest #2 Hatches

Also Nest #35 for IOP

July 16, 2020  

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This morning Ed Peyser and Annie & Dan Vola had an exciting walk at the south end of the Isle of Palms. First Ed discovered tracks at 7th Avenue. At first look, this appeared to be a false crawl, but on closer inspection eggs were found. Another small clutch of 75 eggs which were on the flat beach not far above the high tide line. These were moved to a safer spot between 22nd and 23rd Avenues to incubate. This is Nest #35.

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   When Annie and Dan checked Nest #2 at 208 Ocean Blvd at the 2A Access path, they saw dozens of hatchling tracks and an emergence crater within the triangle. Unfortunately at least 12 hatchlings had gone down behind the dune instead of following the majority down onto the beach and into the water. People, including Denny Vroomann with his two spaniels Charlie and Sadie, along with Kerrie Reichs with her two children, Hazel and Declan, helped us find and rescue the missing hatchlings.

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What do these people have in common?   

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They helped rescue loggerhead hatchlings that made it all the way to Ocean Blvd. 

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They then accompanied them to the ocean's edge and made sure they were safe. 

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Turtles were found in the front yards of the houses next to the 2A path and one was picked up a block away. That little guy was crawling down the middle of the road in front of 302 Ocean Blvd. They were found in post holes that were dug, ready for a new fence that was being constructed and along the edge of Ocean Blvd.

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We filed a Disorientation Report with Seaturtle.org and SCDNR, but it was not light disorientation that caused this. It was instead the downward slope of the artificial dune behind the nest. Hatchlings instinctively go downhill and to a light source to try to find the ocean, and this must have confused them. We believe they “boiled” out of the nest just before sunrise because the ones found were still very lively and vigorous. If the sky was getting light in the east, it probably helped guide them the right way. But a few were even crawling around on Ocean Blvd! We put black lawn edging around the nest to make sure any stragglers do not do the same thing in the next few nights. Wish we had done this sooner, but this was an unexpected and early event. We hope all were found and released.

What do these little guys have in common. After an unusual adventure, wandering around Ocean Blvd, they were delivered safely to the ocean.

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Nest #7 for Sullivan's

July 16, 2020  

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Deirdre McMurtry and Jan Booth were covering the southwest end of Sullivan’s Island today when Deirdre found tracks near Station 16. It was a small nest of 66 eggs, undoubtedly this turtle’s last nest of the season. Because it was laid down below the spring tide line, the nest was relocated to a spot just south of the Station 28 ½ path for incubation.

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Nest #34 for Isle of Palms

July 12, 2020  

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Nest #34 was found today by Lauri Ashmore near 24th Avenue. It was her first nest discovered as she patrolled along with Wendy Thiel who covered the north part of this section of beach. It was a very hot and humid morning but a beautiful sunrise photographed by Lauri. This nest was determined to be high enough on the beach to be left where it was laid near 24th Avenue, so it was marked there. The egg taken for the DNA sample had a double yolk which is quite unusual. Congratulations, Lauri!

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Nest #33 for Isle of Palms

July 11, 2020 

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A little after 10 pm Barbara Bernstein who lives at 13 Beachwood East reported a loggerhead crawling on the beach near her house. Barbara was making sure people were not turning on flashlights and were keeping a distance from the turtle. This is important and very much appreciated. Barb Gobien responded and monitored the turtle’s progress, measuring and scanning her as she returned to the water after laying her eggs. In the morning Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt patrolled and Stan reported the tracks. There were 84 eggs for a small late season clutch. These eggs were relocated to a safe spot south of the 23rd Avenue path.

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Nest #31 for Isle of Palms

July 9, 2020 

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Nest #31 was discovered by Kerrie Scott, Kelly Cobb and Dana Blasky along with Kerrie’s son and daughter, Kayden and Sydney. Today happens to be Sydney’s 19th birthday, so maybe she brought them good luck. They had their 3 dogs along including their puppy, Riggs. This nest was laid by a very small turtle with 17” tracks who overflowed the egg chamber she dug, laying 147 eggs in a low spot on the beach near the carpenter ant nest in a wooden box. Those ants attacked the hatchlings last year. The top eggs were scattered around just below the surface but were not damaged. We were lucky not to pierce any of those eggs when probing. The eggs were taken to a spot north of the 23rd Avenue path for incubation.

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Happy Birthday Sydney   

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Nest #32 for Isle of Palms

July 9, 2020 

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Nest #32 was found by Deborah Johnson and Linda Conrad at 15 Beachwood East in Wild Dunes. The tracks here measured 21-22”. The nest was barely above the current high tide line in this washed over area and contained 119 eggs. These were moved to a spot south of the 23rd Avenue path.

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Nest #30 for Isle of Palms

July 8, 2020 

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This morning Aelecia Rideout, Linda Thompson and Bev Miller had tracks near 57th Avenue. The nest was laid on the edge of the high tide line on the scarped or eroded edge of sand where the first storm or King Tide would have caused the eggs to be exposed and fall into the water. Some people on the beach had seen this loggerhead in the dark as she headed back to the ocean and took pictures of her. We are glad she had finished her nest because flash pictures are NOT ALLOWED and can keep a turtle from nesting if she has not started. The turtle laid 129 eggs which were moved to a spot just south of the 23rd Avenue path for safe incubation. Evidently the same turtle had come ashore earlier in the night 2-3 doors south of 49th Avenue and made a false crawl without laying eggs. Her tracks there were the exact measurement as Nest #30.

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Nest #29 for Isle of Palms

July 7, 2020 

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It was such a rainy morning that our volunteers got very wet, but Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Paige Owens braved the elements and found Nest #29 at the south end of Ocean Point at the end of the 18th fairway of the Links Golf Course in Wild Dunes. This was a very small turtle judging from her tracks – only 18” between rear flipper claws. She barely got above the high tide line, laid her eggs, and then wandered around on the beach as she went back out. One egg was found broken in the clutch in this very coarse sharp sand pumped in from offshore. This egg was used for our genetics sample, and there were 85 eggs laid, another smaller than average clutch.

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Nest #6 for Sullivan's Island

July 6, 2020 

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Diane Dufour Brumley and Jenn Gragg found tracks a few dozen yards NE of the Station 16 Path this morning. There was no thrown sand, BUT there was a great difference in the length of the short incoming track and the long outgoing track telling us that she spent a long time up in the dunes during the outgoing tide. The eggs were found laid above the tide line, so the nest was marked to incubate in situ. The surface of the sand was treated with wolf urine to discourage the coyotes who live in the forest at Station 16

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Nest #5 for Sullivan's Island

July 5, 2020 

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Maryrose Stone called at 6 am to say that a loggerhead was laying eggs just south of Station 25 this morning. Cyndy Ewing and Amy Saltzhauer were patrolling that section today and Cyndy got to see the turtle finishing up her nest under the setting full moon since she lives at Station 25. It was decided that the nest was just high enough on the beach to avoid relocating the eggs. Always nice to see one of our turtles in person on the beach instead of just finding tracks.

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Photo by Christel Cothran

 

 

 

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Nest #28 for Isle of Palms

July 4, 2020 

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A loggerhead laid eggs several doors north of 21st Avenue during the night. Laurie Willson and her grandson Ty were checking the nests at 21st where the tracks were and helped us with the egg count. Miriam Hunt also walked this section. This turtle’s nest would have had tents and chairs and umbrellas set up on top of it with the Independence Day crowds if we had not been able to move it out of the flooding area below the spring tide line where it was laid. The 86 eggs were moved higher on the beach at that location to a suitable dune. Now that we are into July, we will most likely begin to see smaller clutches of eggs as the season begins to wind down in the next few weeks.

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Meanwhile, in Wild Dunes apparently a turtle was disturbed and moved away from an egg chamber she was digging. We hope anyone who encounters turtle at night will stay far away from her and NOT use flashlights.

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Nest #4 for Sullivan's Island

July 3, 2020 

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Just as we hoped, the loggerhead with a big barnacle on her belly and 24-25” tracks returned last night and laid 117 eggs at Station 18. Kristin Zeaser-Sydow and Karen Britton discovered her distinctive tracks near the lighthouse and now we are sure that yesterday’s attempt at Station 16 ½ was indeed a false crawl, so the stick there has been removed. The body pit was below the spring tide line, so the eggs were moved higher at that same location to incubate.

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Nest #3 for Sullivan's Island

June 30, 2020 

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Lots of turtle activity on Sullivan’s Island last night. Nest #3 was found by Natalie Podnar and Raye Ann Osborne who had her 8 year old granddaughter Mary Ann Adams with her this morning. This nest was laid near the “Jungle Path” at Station 17. We had a hard time finding the eggs which were laid high on the beach but finally found them and decided to leave the nest where it was laid to incubate.

Natalie and Raye Ann also found False Crawl #4 at the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse at Station 18. These tracks measured exactly the same as the nest one station away, so it was possibly the first try for this turtle a little later in the night. Both tracks were made before the tide was high around 4am.

Tita Massie and Mark and Mimi Lowman found False Crawl #5 below the high tide line between Station 26 and 26 ½, but these tracks quite a bit smaller than the ones at the Lighthouse and at Station 17, probably not the same turtle. .

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This beauty was on the beach with his "summer hair cut" I think he may be embarrassed with the pom pom left on his tail....he's a St.Bernard not a Poodle!!! 

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Nest #26 & #27 for IOP

June 30, 2020 

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NEST 26

Nest #26 was found by Cindy Bergstrom and Paige Owens at Tidewater/Port O Call in Wild Dunes this morning. There were 124 eggs that were relocated to a dune near the 31A path because they would have been flooded where they were laid.

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NEST 27

Nest #27 was laid at the 30A Access Path. Leslee Gordon, Andrea St. Amand, Penny Lanigan and Kimberly Hood thought the turtle tracks looked very small at 18-19” across diagonally between rear flipper claws, but it was within the range of a loggerhead size and the alternating crawl also was that of a loggerhead. Perhaps we have some smaller and younger females who are new to nesting this season because we are seeing that size quite often. This nest was laid only a few feet from the high tide line and well below the spring tide line. So the 121 eggs were moved higher near that location near previous nests at 31st Avenue.

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Nest #25 for Isle of Palms

June 29, 2020 

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Rebecca Kaminsky, Sue White and Janis James-Rubin found tracks in Wild Dunes at #7 Dunecrest Lane this morning. The tracks were rather faint. Perhaps the turtle laid her eggs early in the night and they got windblown. It was a large nest of 147 eggs and these were relocated farther south to the 31A Access Path.

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Nest #23 & #24 for Isle of Palms

June 28, 2020 

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Our loggerheads were very busy last night. There were SIX sets of tracks on the Isle of Palms beach this morning.

Nest #23 was found between 44th and 45th Avenues. This turtle was seen by people on the beach who reported it to the police before dawn as she crawled back to the water. She failed to crawl even to the spring tide line and laid 122 eggs in a place that would flood repeatedly. Terri Stafford, Penny Portman and Renee Rivlin also found the tracks before the nest was relocated to a safe spot near the 31A Access Path.

Nest #24 was in Wild Dunes at the north end of Beach Club Villas and was found by Paige Hauff and Diane Troy. It contained only 85 eggs in the impossibly flat renourished beach where there are no dunes. It was also taken to 31A for incubation.

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Once again HOLES on the beach are putting our nesting turtles in danger 

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Lots of action on the beach

False Crawl #15 was found by Kathy Kowalchick just south of 30th Avenue False Crawl #16 was found by Stan Schwab and Janine Davis near Seagrove/Beachwood East False Crawl #17 was found by Paige Hauff and Diane Troy near Tidewater/Port O Call False Crawl #18 was also found by Paige Hauff and Diane Troy at Ocean Point/Ocean Club

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Nest #22 for Isle of Palms

June 27, 2020 

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A loggerhead laid 135 eggs at 27th Avenue during the night. Miriam Hurt discovered the tracks first, but Linda Snider and Laurie Willson with her grandson Tyler were also on patrol in that section this morning. The weird “pinhole” sunrise from the Sahara Dust Cloud made a very strange looking sight at dawn. The turtle laid her nest down in the flat part of the beach that gets washed over, so the eggs were relocated to the nearest suitable dune at that same location. 

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Nest #21 for Isle of Palms

This Nest is a GREEN SEA TURTLE

June 24, 2020 

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This has not happened for a couple of decades. A huge green sea turtle crawled ashore twice in Wild Dunes and laid eggs on her second attempt near the Wild Dunes Property Owners Beach House. Her first tracks (the false crawl) were near Summer House. The tracks were 3 feet wide and there was a body pit that resembled a bomb crater, not at all typical of a loggerhead nest but very typical of a green turtle nest. The crawl marks were also typical of a green who crawls by doing the "butterfly stroke" on land instead of alternating her flippers which loggerheads do. There were 101 eggs which were so deep that they were almost unreachable. Gina and Doug McQuilken were on patrol at the north end and found both sets of tracks. They told us that a green turtle had false crawled recently in the Cape Romain Refuge where they are long time volunteers for the sea turtle program under USFWS. One egg was found broken near the bottom of the clutch from the sharp shell fragments in this coarse renourished sand, and it was used for a genetics sample. The nest was relocated between 21st and 22nd Avenues. 

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Our normal nesting turtle on the Isle of Palms is the Loggerhead. This morning we had an unsual visitor....a GREEN sea turtle. Over the years I've gotten photos of these two species of sea turtle on the beach. They are quite different in size and anatomy. The Green is slightly bigger than the Loggerhead, but note the different sized heads of these two girls.

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Nest #20 for Isle of Palms

June 22, 2020 

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   . . . It was Jane Sorensen, Sue Harris and Madelaine Hairrell’s day to patrol from 9th to 30th when Jane spotted very long tracks that came up from the water near the Windjammer, passed through multiple volleyball courts on the beach and ended up at the “Pink Flamingo” rental house at 912 Ocean Blvd. We wondered if this was the turtle who has nested before in these courts. She climbed to the top of the very high dune and then crawled back down to the volleyball post on the flat beach where she laid 125 eggs. The strong fabric tape that holds the net was even in the hole where the eggs were – not a good spot at all. So those eggs were relocated to a safe spot north of 21st Avenue for incubation. 

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 While the Turtle Team was locating the nest at 9th, another team member went to 2nd Ave.to check out another set to tracks. What was found was a false crawl. Every crawl is measured. The track size was the same as the nest found at 9th. We can safely assume it was the same turtle. She crawled up at 2nd first, went back into the ocean and then went to 9th to nest. This was the 12th false crawl on IOP and was found by Aubrey Schmidt.

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Nest #19 for Isle of Palms

June 21, 2020 

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Diane Troy and Paige Hauff (Paige's first nest) found tracks between Port O Call and Seascape in Wild Dunes this morning. This is Nest #19 and it contained 102 eggs. Because the beach was impossibly wide and flat and prone to flooding, it was moved to a dune just north of 21st Avenue for incubation. 

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Nest #18 for Isle of Palms

June 19, 2020 

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A little after 6 am the IOPPD Dispatch called to tell us that a loggerhead was laying eggs on the beach. The location was just south of the 29th Avenue Access Path. Susan Chagrin and Jennifer Martin were on patrol and are credited with this nest which was just high enough above the spring tide line to avoid relocation. Since it was not moved, we do not know the egg count, but a genetics sample was taken for the ongoing research project.

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Nest #2 for Sullivan's Island

June 19, 2020 

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Richard Hanf and his daughter Elizabeth found tracks near the sign on the beach at Station 25 this morning. This turtle apparently had a large barnacle on her plastron which showed in her tracks. She laid 145 eggs low on the beach at the spring tide line near a very low area where ground water would have invaded the nest. They were relocated just a little higher at that same place. We’re so happy that there is now a nest in the upper section of Sullivan’s Island in addition to the one at Station 18 near the lighthouse.

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Nest #17 for Isle of Palms

June 17, 2020 

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Once again our loggerheads have chosen the lower section of Wild Dunes to lay eggs in Nest #17. Linda Thompson, Bev Miller and Aelecia Rideout were on patrol and found tracks near 56th Avenue where there is a huge gully lake and a flat beach that goes on forever and nested near the tide line. We think this is the same turtle with a missing left rear flipper claw that crawled up twice near here on the previous night without laying her eggs. This time she left 105 eggs and these were moved to 21st Avenue.

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Penny Huebsch and Marilyn Markel reported loggerhead tracks one door north of the 7A path this morning. Unfortunately this turtle encountered two holes that were about a foot deep when she tried to get to a dune to lay her eggs and also when she was returning to the ocean. She did climb up onto the primary dune but failed to lay her eggs. We hope she will try again to nest. It was such a shame that she had to go through this obstacle course on the beach and illustrates what happens when people fail to fill in the holes that they dig.

IF YOU DIG HOLES ON THE BEACH, FILL THEM IN BEFORE YOU LEAVE....THANK YOU, "THE TURTLE TEAM"

 

 

 

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Grey morning but still beautiful on the beach.

 

 

 

 

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Nest #16 for Isle of Palms

June 16, 2020 

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During the night four sets of loggerhead tracks were made. All of them wandered extensively parallel to the ocean covering a lot of territory. Only one led to a body pit and eggs. All were in Wild Dunes. It was nice to have a morning without rain even though most of our beach access paths are severely flooded. The first call came from Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Paige Owens to report turtle activity at Shipwatch condominiums. There was a good body pit there and the egg chamber contained 120 eggs. These were relocated to a safe dune just north of 21st Avenue

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Nest #15 for Isle of Palms

June 13, 2020 

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Once again Stan Schwab, the turtle whisperer, had a loggerhead lay eggs on his day! He and April Nesbitt covered their section of Wild Dunes this morning. This time it was at the south end of Grand Pavilion just north of 57th Avenue in Wild Dunes. This could be the same turtle who laid Nest #6 of 153 eggs there two weeks ago – same size tracks and a very large clutch of 149 eggs. The period between nests for loggerheads is 2 weeks. On May 30th there was a nest of 153 eggs also at Grand Pavilion. This nest was relocated to 23rd Avenue. That makes 4 nests in the last 3 days.

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Nest #14 for Isle of Palms

June 12, 2020 

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A loggerhead nested near the 36A path last night, getting just above the high tide line but not the spring/King tide line on the beach. Sue Hogan and Carol Jaworski were on patrol along with Sue’s dog Sasha. Patty Wager was also running on the beach at 5:15 and saw these tracks. We had a hard time getting out to the beach there because the access path was so deep in water most of the way. But we found 137 eggs that were moved higher at that same location.

   

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Big Morning for the Turtle Team

June 11, 2020 

Nest #1 for Sullivan's Island

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It was a showery morning but Jan Booth found tracks and a body pit between the Sand Dunes Club path and Station 18. It was just northeast of a dead tree with some interesting painted designs and messages on it. They were on the wide flat beach where they most likely would have been destroyed by tide, so we moved them up onto a small dune at that same location. This turtle laid 122 eggs and her tracks matched a False Crawl below the high tide line near Station 26 reported by Sheri Scarlett. So maybe she made two attempts and succeeded the second time. We are so happy that Sullivan's Island has its first nest along with 3 false crawls!

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Photo by Christol Cothran

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Nest #13 for Isle of Palms

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Natalie Allard and her husband Ryan and two children Malin and Adlai covered the north end of the Isle of Palms in the rain showers today and did a great job of finding a faint body pit near Summer Dunes Lane in Wild Dunes. It was a challenge for the Turtle Team to locate eggs there because the wind and rain and heavily trafficked sand made field signs obscure. But 111 eggs were discovered with one broken deep in the clutch that was used for the genetics sample. Because this is a less than safe spot for a nest to survive, these eggs were taken to a good place just north of the 23rd Avenue beach access path to incubate.

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Nest #12 for Isle of Palms

June 8, 2020

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Around 9:00 pm Sgt Derrick Ambas of the IOPPD reported that a loggerhead was laying eggs at Beach Club Villas in Wild Dunes. The turtle was protected from lights and disturbances so she could nest successfully. As she returned to the ocean, her shell was measured and she was checked for flipper tags and embedded chips or PIT tags but she had none. After dawn we relocated her 120 eggs that were laid in this flat washover area with no dunes to a safe dune at the 23rd Avenue path farther south. This nest is attributed to Kristen Ayers, Carolyn Eshelman and Cathy Harris who patrolled that section this morning.

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Nest #11 for Isle of Palms

June 5, 2020

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Maryalice Morro, Diane Mullins and Sue Widhalm covered the north end of the Isle of Palms. On their patrol there were two sets of loggerhead tracks. The first ones were at the north end of Beach Club Villas where the second “body pit” contained 134 eggs that were smaller than the usual loggerhead size. These were relocated to 43rd Avenue near yesterday’s nests. The second set of tracks was at Ocean Point where the turtle wandered extensively and went back into the ocean without digging. This is False Crawl #4. Frances and Philip Levin encountered a turtle returning to the ocean last night at Ocean Point. This turtle wandered around Ocean Point but did not nest.

Ocean Point turtle and part of her false crawl

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Nest #9 & #10 for Isle of Palms

June 4, 2020

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Nest #9: It was an active night for our Isle of Palms loggerheads. The first call came from Sue Googer who found tracks at 43rd Avenue. This nest contained 144 eggs, but the turtle did not make it to the dune and instead laid her eggs on the flat beach where it would have been flooded repeatedly. The eggs were relocated higher to the primary dune there at 43rd Avenue.

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Nest #10: Mary and Dennis Frazier were covering part of the section from 49th Avenue to the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House while Deborah Johnson covered the rest of the section. They found tracks near 54th Avenue which were right at the high tide line just like Nest #8 at 55th Avenue three days ago. This nest of 105 eggs was taken to 43rd Avenue to incubate on a dune near Nest #9 at 43rd Avenue.

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Nest #7 & #8 for Isle of Palms

June 1, 2020

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Now that it's the first day of June, things are starting to pick up with two nests and a false crawl on the Isle of Palms this morning. Aubrey Schmidt was the first to report tracks near 514 Ocean Blvd just north of the 5A path. Jane Solomon, Peggy Klimecki and Trisha Hoff joined her after starting at Breach Inlet. The turtle did not make it to the dune and laid 115 eggs low on the beach. They were moved to the dune near that spot to incubate.

Sue White also found a body pit near 55th Avenue in the Wild Dunes section. Rebecca Kaminsky and Janis James-Rubin were walking separately and found it soon afterwards. This one was laid at the high tide line just as Sunday's Nest #6 in that section. It was a smaller than normal nest with 109 eggs in it, laid in the coarse sand from the renourishment project a couple of years ago. It was taken from this unsafe area which would flood to 23rd Avenue for incubation. There was also a false crawl in the same area. We believe it was the same turtle that then nested at 55th.

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Nest #6 on Isle of Palms

May 30, 2020

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A loggerhead laid eggs near the high tide line on the flood prone flat beach at the north end of the Grand Pavilion area in Wild Dunes near the hotel in a similar spot as last Saturday's nest. Stan Schwab's email address starts with “luckystan” and now we know why. His sea turtle tattoos seem to lure turtles on his day and his patrol – at least for the last 2 weeks. April Nesbitt walked the north end of this section and came upon the nest as well. Because of the poor outcome for this nest location if left alone, it was moved to a safe dune near the 23rd Avenue path for the 153 eggs to incubate. So now there is a nest in the 9th-30th Avenue section as well. It is always amazing and sad that our nesting turtles ignore the best areas of beach on a regular basis.

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First Turtle of the Season Comes Ashore on Sullivan's

May 29, 2020

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The first loggerhead came ashore on SI near Station 14 1/2 during the night, but unfortunately she turned around below the high tide line without digging or laying eggs. See attached picture. If the tide cycle had been different, we might not have known she did this because the tracks would have been covered with water. Thanks to Karen Britton and Kristin Zeaser-Sydow, experienced turtle ladies, we were able to document this crawl and put Sullivan's on the map for the season for the first activity. Let's hope she returns tonight or in the near future and completes the job. It is not unusual for our turtles to wait until June to begin nesting on Sullivan's.

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Nest #5 for Isle of Palms

May 26, 2020

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It was a dreary morning with drizzling rain, but Gillian Ellis spotted tracks at Seagrove Condos at the south end of Beachwood East in Wild Dunes. This was an obvious false crawl which was documented. However, Paige Owens found tracks at the Shipwatch Condos farther north in Wild Dunes. We are proud of our walkers for observing the Social Distancing guidelines and either not walking together at all or keeping at least 6 feet from one another while surveying the beach. Paige was the one to see the Shipwatch tracks even though Cindy Bergstrom and Patti Horton were elsewhere covering that part of the beach. There was a body pit with 135 eggs. Once again in this very flat washover area created by the 2018 renourishment project it was a nest where the eggs would be destroyed by the first King Tide after it was laid. A more suitable place nearby along the 18th fairway about midway between the Ocean Point pool and boardwalk path was chosen for relocation.

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Nest #4 for Isle of Palms

May 25, 2020

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   On Memorial Day a loggerhead decided to lay 125 eggs right at the Boardwalk Inn at the Wild Dunes Resort. The nest was at the small scarp at the high tide line in one of the heaviest tourist locations on the island on what could be the busiest holiday of the year. People had not even taken their beach towels back to the hotel and the turtle had to skirt around them, such a shame. The tracks were spotted at dawn and we knew we had to get the eggs to safety not only before the tide came in but also before it was trampled by holiday tourists. Credit for this nest goes to Sue White, Rebecca Kaminsky and Janis James-Rubin who were on patrol this morning. The eggs were moved higher on the beach at 51st Avenue.

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Nest #3 for Isle of Palms

May 23, 2020

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    The third Isle of Palms nest was laid just south of the Property Owners' Beach House in Wild Dunes. Stan Schwab and April Nesbitt were on patrol and Stan spotted tracks that climbed up a dune scarped by the tide and back down again on the way out. However, in spite of her crawling up on the beach, the nest was laid in the flat frequently washed over sand in this very wide renourished area. There were 109 eggs that were moved to a safer spot near the 51st Avenue Path.

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Nest #2 for Isle of Palms

May 21, 2020

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   The second Isle of Palms nest was found this morning in front of the pink house at 208 Ocean Blvd. Ed Peyser spotted tracks that led up to the primary dune where the loggerhead had laid her eggs. A genetics sample was taken and the nest was marked to incubate in situ.

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First Nest for Isle of Palms

May 19, 2020

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   Just when we were starting to think our turtles had decided not to nest this season, Ellen Gower and Jodie Taylor Morgan discovered tracks low on the beach near the 6A path on the Isle of Palms this morning. The tide has washed away all but a short section above the high tide line, but there was an unmistakable body pit and thrown sand, good signs that eggs were laid. AND there was a ping pong ball in the spartina wrack that looked very much like a loggerhead egg. Because the eggs were laid near the high tide line, right where the vehicle that travels on the beach in the dark to empty the trash barrels drives and well below the higher up spring tide line, it was determined that the nest should be moved higher if it was to survive. There were 147 beautiful eggs laid and one was taken as a genetics sample. Congratulations to Ellen who also found the first nest last season very close to this spot on May 7, 2019. We are hoping for more nests very soon.

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