Waties Island Nest Count

Saturday, May 20, 2017

And... We're Off! Our Nesting Season Has Started

Not one nest this morning, but two! AND the walkers even got to see one of the turtles returning to the ocean. No pictures though; she was very close to the water and got away before they could take any photos.

Nest #1 is between Marker 5 and 6 on the island. She laid it in the middle of the beach but above the high tide line, so we didn't move it, but we did place a cage over it to keep horses and ATV's from inflicting any damage.

Nest #1 in the middle of the beach

Steve looking for the nest

Part of the team - the rest were working on Nest #2

Then on to the other crawl (this is the one where the walkers saw the turtle entering the ocean). This nest is between Marker 4 and 5 and again, in the middle of the beach.  She took a meandering path on her way back to the ocean. We caged this one too to protect it from horses and ATV's. 

Nest #2 - Not a straight crawl back into the water!

The wandering return to the water

Thank you Nick and Steve for taking all the photos and to the whole team for all their help this morning!


Friday, April 28, 2017

The Season Begins!

On Thursday afternoon, a group of kayakers reported to SC Department of Natural Resources that they found a sea turtle on the lower end of Waties Island. Steve, Valerie and Barb responded. What we found was the biggest loggerhead turtle any of us had ever seen - it was over 40 inches in length and 37 inches across!

Unfortunately, it had been dead for some time. What made this turtle a bit unusual, other than the size, was that it had a long tail - indicating that it was a male. See the photo below; that's not a flipper on the left side.

Loggerheads are known for their large skulls and this animal was no exception.

We had help from the man who reported the stranding and were very glad to have him there. This was a heavy animal.

If your patrols take you on the lower end of the island, you will probably see the skeleton high up on the beach near Marker 1. It has red paint on the body indicating that it has already been reported and documented in the seaturtle.org stranding records.

Now for some live turtles! Let the nesting season begin.

Barb D

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Final Event of the Season

Yesterday, we had our year end celebration of this record breaking year. A picnic on our favorite beach!

Everyone brought a dish to share and Karen brought a BEAUTIFUL cake - Cakes by the Sea does amazing things with sugar and flour.

Karen gave a summary of the nesting season on Waties followed by the partial DNA results that have been reported to far. Ten of our 28 samples have been completed and when they are all finally in, we'll share the whole picture with everyone.

After lunch (some really yummy dishes!), people had a chance to check out what changes Hurricane Matthew made to the island. The lower end certainly looks different now.

Some trees no longer have anything covering their roots - 

These last two pictures are from a OLLI beach sweep that was conducted last Friday. Hurricane Matthew sure made changes to the upper end of the island too. Some dunes are totally missing now. But the island may look entirely different by next spring; we will see what Mother Nature has in store when we return for the next sea turtle season.

Thanks to Regena for sharing her photos from the picnic.

Look forward to seeing everyone again next season!

Barb and Steve

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday, September 23 Inventory

Friday, September 23, our last nest is inventoried!!
Nest 25 was laid on July 26 just below marker 5.
This nest emerged on Tuesday, September 23,
day 56. We found 55 hatched, 42 unhatched eggs,
a 56% hatch success. We had one triple egg, and
three double eggs!! The doubles were all hatched,
the triple had two hatched chambers and one
unhatched chamber!! Very interesting!!
Another wonderful day on Waties!
Pictures by Karen Fuss and Paulette
Post by Paulette
CCU students help Jingle dig


Watching the excavation

A pipped egg

Look at these!! Double and triple eggs!!

Close up of the oddities

Final count

Friday, September 16, 2016

Friday, September 16 Inventory Nest 17

Today we inventoried Nest 17 located at Marker 6. This nest was laid on
July 3 and never showed signs of emerging. So, on day 75 we dug up the
nest. Students from Coastal Carolina assisted. We found 16 hatched eggs
and 88 unhatched eggs in a very deep nest.  There were no live or dead

Students from Coastal Carolina -thank you!!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Monday, September 12 Inventory Nest 21

Monday, September 12 inventory of Nest 21
This nest was laid on July 12 near marker 4 and
emerged on September 9, day 59 of incubation.
The Monday walkers dug up the nest and counted
the eggs. 110 hatched and 4 unhatched, 2 dead 
hatchlings. Almost 96 % hatch success!!
Our best nest yet!! Good work, Monday Walkers!!
Pictures by Leslie
Post by Paulette

Sandy and Kim dug deep!!

Shirley sorted and counted

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Nest #22

Although we often see beautiful sunrises, today's was absolutely stunning (thank you Leslie for sharing).

Red sun in the morning...

Nest #22 near the overturned boat was inventoried: just below the surface we found a hatchling. It had a deformed right flipper and wasn't able to make it out of the nest. With a little help from friends, it was finally able to make it to the water and start the big swim.

Right flipper undersized

Hard work pays off

Of the 119 eggs originally laid, 92 were hatched, 26 unhatched and one was taken as the DNA sample. No dead hatchlings and two live ones were counted for a 71% hatch success ratio. Not bad!

Thanks, Leslie for sharing your pictures.