Waties Island Nest Count

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why Were the Tracks Just Between the Tide Lines?

We were walking at the last high tide line and almost missed this crawl but for the sharp eyes of Dave Wurtz.   

 Except for the crawls between the two tide lines, there were no visible signs that this turtle had come ashore.  The first two pictures show the top of the visible part of the crawl looking toward the ocean.
 This picture shows the ocean side of the crawl looking toward the dunes.
The end of the dune side of the crawl.
The end of the dune side of the crawl from the side.
No tracks visible above the king tide line.
Crawl was exactly 36" (3 ft.)
Checked behind the dune.  Nothing definitive, but questionable because of the complete lack of any other tracks except just those visible between the two high tide lines  we decided to check. 
Kim, Kinsey and Robert did the checking.

After comparing the pictures of FC #4 and the pictures from today and checking the GPS readings from today against the GPS readings from FC #4, Barb and I have come to the conclusion that FC #4 & FC #5 are the same crawl.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sunday, June 17th, Nest #5 and False Crawl

Busy morning for the Sunday walkers.  Walker's on the "short end" had a nice crawl, nice body pit, and eggs were found with little difficulty.

Found the Egg Chamber

Nest 5

Sunday Walkers: Karen, Diane, Bob, Sharon, Leslie and Paulette behind the camera

Lots of Pelican flyovers this morning

The False Crawl was just below Marker 4 - she came in at low tide and left at low tide, long crawl, both tracks.  She make it to the top of the dune, slid down a little, turned and left, we think.  There was not a visible body pit, even though Paulette did probe, just to make sure.  She had an interesting pattern within her tracks.  At least this turtle did not slide down the backside of the dune

Long crawl

She turned at the top of the dune and slide down, before leaving
Probed on the downhill side of the dune
Interesting pattern on the bottom of her shell

Up the Dune

Probed on top of the dune

Friday, June 15, 2018

Thursday, June 14 - Nest #4

A lovely morning walk was rewarded by our fourth nest of the season. Up at the top end of the island between Marker 8 and 9, we found a crawl. See the photo below for the big difference in the incoming and outgoing crawls.

She was there for a long time - 36 inches wide too

It didn't take long to find the egg chamber because it was only about a foot below the surface.

Not too deep - about 12 inches
Ruthann and Sheri at their first nest!

The egg for the DNA sample
Ruthann has a big smile 

We were missing some regular Thursday 
volunteers but they were with us in spirit --

Nest 4 it is!

Thanks to Elaine for sharing her great pictures!


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Sunday, June 10th Nest #3

The Sunday team was fortunate again and we have a new nest right above Marker 5.

The nest was laid in the middle of the beach, and not above the spring high tide line, so we relocated the eggs to the base of the dunes, close to the original nest, just higher up on the beach.  She laid 83 eggs, deep nest, sand was thrown and a large pile of sand on top of the nest.  Her crawl width was 30 inches. There were several ghost crab holes and many ghost crab tracks at the body pit.  It was a classic crawl.

Along with the nest, Sharon found a "message in a bottle", made for an exciting morning.

Classic crawl
Nice defined body pit

Several ghost crab holes . . .
and tracks

Diane and Karen moving the eggs to the new nest

Sharon's find of the day, message in a bottle
 The Sunday team:  Diane, Bob, Leslie, Karen and Sharon, Paulette behind the camera.  Exciting for Diane and Bob, their first nest.  Many thanks to all for helping with this nest.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Friday, June 8 American White Pelicans

Today's walkers had the rare treat of following a flock of about 30 American White Pelicans up
the beach. These beauties were once uncommon  in SC. They have a nine foot wing span and weigh about 21 pounds. Our brown pelicans weigh 7 pounds! Florida is their normal home this
time of year. American White Pelicans feed close to shore and scoop fish in their huge bill, often
fishing in coordination as a group.
Thank you, Arlene for the pictures!!
Post by Paulette

Wednesday, June 6, 2018


 We found some very interesting items on the beach both yesterday, Tuesday, and today.

 In the first picture you will see little white strips that at first glance look like pieces of string.  But we saw this all along the two mile stretch of beach that we walked.  All basically the same size and color.  In the book, Florida's Living Beaches by Blair and Dawn Witherington, page 124, there is a picture identifying these as Plumed worm tubes. Plumed worms live within soda-straw-sized tubes (above) that project from the sand near the low-tide line.
One of our walkers questioned what this grass was.  She saw it growing on items on the beach.  Karen told us that it was not seaweed, but a colonial animal called a bryoan.  You can find more information on a link that Karen provided at

To the left and at the bottom we found what looked like at first glance a snake.  But when we took a closer look we  noticed the vertebrae.  This we do not know as Karen was not with us on Tuesday.  Also, there was only a partial (?)
Finding so many items on the beach that I know nothing about makes me realize that there is a whole other world out there that most of us know very little about.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Monday, June 4th - Nest #2

Beautiful drive across the causeway this morning, and sand artwork on the beach this morning, and we had a crawl and nesting sites..

Nest #2, right in front of Marker 7.  Clear crawl tracks coming in and leaving, but that was the end of the normal nesting behavior.  She had started a body pit, and than zigged-zagged along the dune, and created a second body pit, so which one do we start on?

Per Barb's guidance Leslie. Erin and Sarah started the probe effort.  The turtle whisper arrived, and he found the nest. Many thanks Steve.  The CCU students uncovered the nest, and the obligatory egg was taken for the DNA study.  Maddy did the honors, and eggshell was placed in the vial.

Many thanks to all on the Monday walking team, it was a village effort to get this nest worked.  So happy I drove back home yesterday.

Fist body Pit

Zigged and Zagged along the base of the dune
Second Body Pit and Nest

Second Body Pit

Monday Team