Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24--False Crawl 10: Get ready Saturday Walkers!

Today's walkers emerged on the island with great expectations for seeing a nest. This Friday marks fourteen days since nests 7 & 8, making this the prime time for at least one of those two turtles to return to lay another clutch of eggs.

 Unfortunately, there was no bodypit at the top of this crawl. Situated between markers seven and eight, this in-and-out crawl left no room for debate.

Measured very professionally with turtle monitor t-shirts (and feet) the track was 32 inches wide, matching one of the June 10th turtles.

    The curve of the crawl crested with the high tide line, so perhaps this turtle was delayed from laying by the lack of dry beach. We can't know for sure of course, but this small track gives an optimistic prospect to the other weekend walkers. She clearly intends to lay her eggs soon, so be on the look out!

X marks the spot! This crawl was intimated by a stick behind a plant, behind a sand-etched cross that will likely have been pulverized by the afternoon rains. But the general location of False Crawl 10 will soon be recorded with a GPS reading. 

Keep an eye out, weekend walkers! False Crawl 10 is just the harbinger for Nest 13, at least in this "old-time turtler's" opinion. Thanks to the Smitheys for transporting us in the back of their truck, to Paulette for making today's walk possible, and to all the Friday walkers!

(We'll get one next week. ;) )

Friday, June 17, 2016


    The season continues at a fiery pace with yet another confirmed sea turtle nest! Not far from nest 7, which was discovered last Friday, this obvious track was found etched into the sand past Mile Marker 6.

The crawl was thirty four inches wide, very defined and deliberate.

  The body pit, as seen below, gave walkers a lot to work with. The nest was spotted by long-end walkers Keela and Arlene, but ALL the walkers turned into Long-End walkers in order to reach this distant crawl. Once they got there, flies and thickly humid air didn't help the situation.

 This large body pit required a lot of digging.

 And digging.

Did we mention the digging?

However, these efforts ended in triumph! The egg chamber was located successfully by resilient and relentless Friday walkers. 

Since the nest was several feet above the high tide line, pressed firmly against the dunes, there was no need to relocate. As is custom, an egg was taken for DNA (pictured below)

Keela (Left) and Deb with sample tube containing freshly cracked eggshell from Nest Twelve

 This nest--if everyone can keep count!--is Nest Twelve of the 2016 season! Fortunately Waites never runs out of vacancies. Thanks to the Friday walkers for their hard work.
From Left: Arlene, Paulette and Deb announcing the 12 nest of the season the old fashioned way--with fingers

No thanks to the flies. They will be hearing from my bug repellant next Friday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15 Nest # 11

We found our eleventh nest of the season just above Marker 1.
The crawl was 32-33 inches long and the body pit was small
and neat. The eggs were found easily with
the help of a ghost crab hole.
The lower end walkers marked
the nest while the upper end
walkers kept trekking along.
Pictures by Nancy
Post by Paulette
A long crawl in the dry sand

A beautiful body pit

Close up of crawl with drag marks

Ghost crab hole showing us the way

Bob's first nest!!

Nancy believes this is the same signature
mark as our first nest crawl presented

Nancy, Deb and Bob

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Sunday June 12, 2016: one new nest; two stranded, dead turtles

Ghost crabs were caught mating during the arrival of a new day on Waties Island

Unfortunately we did not catch the thieving ghost crabs who removed an egg from Nest #9!

                 Sadly a stranded loggerhead was determined beyond our help near Hog's Inlet.

Another stranded turtle -- a Kemp's Ridley -- was determined dead near Marker 4.

The necessary observations and measurements were made on the stranded Kemp's Ridley to report to the seaturtle.org stranding database.

Later we returned to the stranded loggerhead to make, once again, the necessary observations and measurements to report to the seaturtle.org stranding datatbase.

           A tiny crab crawled from the posterior end of the stranded loggerhead's carapace.
        On a day tinged with sadness, happily ANOTHER crawl (near Marker 4) was discovered -- five  crawls on Waties Island in three days!

                                                          The probable nest is located.
                                    Robin, a visitor, begins a search for the egg chamber.
           The egg chamber is revealed!  The decision was made to leave Nest #10 in place although it might be in danger of extremely high tides.

                   Marge and Karen measure the width of the female loggerhead's tracks.

                  Nest #10 is celebrated by Margie, Robin, Karen, Marcelle, Emily, Barb, and Steve!!!!!

           Nick, Robin, Margie, Marcelle, Emily, Barb, and Steve posing at the happy site, #10!!!!!