Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, September 19, 2014

Could We Have Another Nest? Time Will Tell.

We had a wonderful sunrise this morning as we made our way to check on Nest 7 and Nest 8.  There was nothing new with either nest.      
 As we walked back to the entrance, Dave suggested, since it was such a beautiful morning, that we check the false crawl that was below mm 2.
This is what we saw when we got there...just to the front and to the left of the pole we saw what just may be a depression. 

This false crawl was found on July 19th, 63 days ago.  Which would be right, if in fact we actually have a nest. 

Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Inventory of our Wild Nest

This nest was first discovered on the lower end of the island when shells were spotted on the sand at the edge of a dune along with a hatchling partially in its shell in the clutches of a Ghost Crab.  Because the nest would be definitely and heavily  washed over due to the expected high tide and its location, it was decided to relocate it.                                  

While Steve H. and Flossy dug up the nest, they found some of the shells in a hole that continued to the right.  Probably a Ghost Crab.

The relocated nest had 67 viable eggs in it.  Only 2 unhatched eggs were found at inventory today.  65 hatched!! These totals were added to the numbers collected over the past 11 days since we first discovered the nest to make up the totals below.
These totals were submitted to SCDNR today: 
106 eggs were laid in the original nest.
91 hatched and 15 were unhatched, for 80% success rate!!
We teased Dave that he was personally responsible for 65 of these turtles making it to the water!!
In addition to the new gate where the horses turn off to the left, we have another sign and two poles with a line stretching across the entrance to the beach.
Donna Lewis, from the Coastal Educational Foundation, met us at the shed this morning and joined Steve H., Flossy and Bill, Paulette, Karen (a new walker), Dave and I on the beach for the inventory.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

CCU Family Weekend on Waties Island on Saturday

Many thanks to Barb, Steve, Valerie, Flossie, Bill, Lyndsey and Kristin for helping with Family Weekend visitors on Waties Island yesterday. Despite the heat and unsettled weather, they did a great job teaching families about the Waties Island sea turtle monitoring program! Bill also showed his tremendous driving skills by getting the last van of the afternoon unstuck from the sand!

CCU students and volunteer monitors, Lyndsey and Kristin, share their knowledge with visiting families.

Flossie explaining to the group about nest #9 emerging again on Friday night and showing them the hatchling tracks.

About 11 a.m. a lone hatchling from Nest #9 decided to make a run for the ocean - such a treat to see for the visitors and us!

Almost everyone had phones out taking photos of this hatchling making a grand escape to the water!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thursday Morn. Great to be Back

Not a good day for Nest #9! Lot's of Ghost Crab holes/tracks, empty shells

Great Sunrise on the causeway

Even better on the beach

Love being........


'The Girls' going out

A Mollusk by any other name


See Ya!
Bill Chapman

Monday, September 8, 2014

1 of 3 Nest Inventories on Sunday

Nest #6 had the following inventory results: 110 hatched, 6 unhatched, 1 dead and 3 live hatchlings

Inventory being conducted on Nest #6
Tara and David pulling egg shells out of Nest #6
1 hatchling is swimming away while 2 others make their way to the water.

2 hatchlings moving toward the water

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wild Nest # 9 / Nest Number Dave!

 Our walk today would have been fairly uneventful were it not for the fact that Dave felt a little under the weather this morning and decided not to go the long-end. However, in the time that it took us to get to the final remaining nest on the upper stretch Dave went for a stroll towards the inlet, and discovered something no one was anticipating...

A scattering of eggshells indicated that there had indeed been a wild nest that we didn't know about that was actually laid BEFORE (south of) marker 1.

However, close examination of these eggshells (the color, texture) seemed to indicate that this nest was not yet ready to hatch. In fact, nest robbers (ghost crabs) seem to be the main perpetrators of the discovery.

This is the hole we believe leads into the egg chamber, because it was on the sand as opposed to the many crab holes on the bank. They all had eggshell fragments around them.

Startlingly, if there was any doubt of crabs thieving behind the scenes, it was erased by the sighting of this crab in the grass atop the dune. He had climbed up the precipitous sand bank (a product of severe erosion) dragging a turtle that was still in the egg with its yolk sack still attached. Unfortunately, it was too late for this hatchling. 

Another reason we believe this nest may be premature for hatching is that this turtle is clearly not fully developed.

His flipper was also badly torn from the drag (you can see the blood mixing with the yolk in the picture above).

The hatchling was buried near the supposed nest site.

^^^As evidenced by this erosion of dunes, you can see this is a precarious location for this nest.

If the wild nest was not enough, Dave also found us an injured seagull at the point who is a current resident of our bathtub at home. We jokingly named the nest "nest number Dave", but this makes a ninth nest for the season.

Thanks to Valerie for  taking so many good pictures, to Dave for an impossible knack for finding things, and to Paulette for being prepared for literally ANYTHING. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Nest #6 Emerged - 9/4/14

A great walk this morning on Waties Island with Karen Fuss, Regena, Elaine, Barb and Regena's grandsons! We also discovered Nest #6 emerged overnight. Storms around, but we didn't even get wet.

It has been a long spell of watching Nest 5 and 6 for some sign of activity or an emergence and this morning we were rewarded with what appears to be a classic emergence of Nest 6. This is Day 61 for this nest; a little longer than average but still in the expected range. Sometimes before a nest emerges a depression is noticed over the location of the nest indicating activity below the surface and that was not observed with this one. With Nest 5, an emergence was never observed (we may have missed it with the storms). According to SCDNR regulations, unless we observe an emergence, we must wait 75 days to do an inventory and Sunday marks that milestone.

Two Inventories Scheduled for Sunday, September 7.
All are invited to join us for inventories of Nests 5 and 6 on Sunday morning. These nests are bout 1.5 miles up the beach and because of the timing of the tide, we will be walking up the beach. Meet at the shed at 6:30 a.m. and we'll head out to the island. If there are thunderstorms, the inventories will be rescheduled for Monday morning.

Barb and Steve

Checking out the horseshoe crab.

You can see the storms brewing in North Myrtle Beach.

Our work for the day is done.