Waties Island Nest Count

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Team Thursday

Hasn't been much for our team to post lately.  Today we headed out hoping for a new nest and thinking we might actually have an emergence but to quote Bill, "Nuttin"!

Nest #2 did not have a depression today but the sand was very windblown due to a delightful breeze that kept us slightly cool!

Nest #1 also showed no signs of emergence!

Both nests had no reed in place though.  We did not replace them.

Nest #10 had a huge hole right at the reed so we did place a GC trap on that location.

We also emptied the trap on nest 20 which lost three eggs yesterday.  There was a huge dead ghost crab in that one...probably due to overeating yesterday!

Also occurred to me that the huge GC holes in front of the soon to be emerging nests could be like pizza delivery to your door. We filled in a number of them today.  

Bill found a part of a large drum fish on the lower end of the island.

Finally a reminder of why we walk...the turtles but also the beauty!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Updates on Some of Our Nests

Nest #2 is now 55 days past.  It had a depression with a lot of Ghost Crab Tracks running through.

Nest #1 is now 59 days past. We found a hole with a lot of Ghost Crab tracks.  There were no hatchling tracks or hatchlings on the surface. With no sign of hatchling tracks anywhere from the nest sight to the ocean, it appears as though the hole was dug by the crabs.  Time will tell.  Both Nest #1 & #2 can hatch at any time.

At nest #20 we found a shallow hole and the reed marking the nest was down.  Looked like the crabs were trying to do a cover up. But even though the nest was not open, we collected shells from a wide area around this nest.

Due to the large number of egg shells that were found, we figured that we lost a total of 3 eggs.  We buried the shells so that they wouldn't be counted again. We smoothed out the nest sight and added more sand.  We also added a crab trap and replaced the reed.

Near #14.  Crabs must be getting hungry.  Nest #14 also showed signs of Ghost Crab activity.

Again, We only found the beginnings of a hole at the nest sight.  But we did find shells and lots of crab tracks.  These shell pieces were larger and we counted 2 lost eggs.  Wasn't surprised that we found crab activity at Nests #1 & #2, but it is discouraging to find them getting into other nests.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Our SNT Lays Another Nest !

Some very happy news from the beach this morning; our Special Needs Turtle was able to successfully lay another nest. This follows two days of failed attempts, all of which have been above Marker 5 (most above Marker 9). This makes Nest #22 for the season, keeping pace with our previous record year in 2016.

Today's nest was above Marker 9 just below Nest 19. This momma also made one earlier crawl just beyond the nest but after probing was declared to be a false crawl.

Bob checking our the nest site

Mario and Kinsey find the eggs

Gloves are important!

Retrieving the DNA sample

But more exciting news to share too: Our second nest of the season, which is currently 54 days old, had some ghost crab activity overnight. This is a pretty reliable sign that there is something going on down in the nest; those crabs are right there when they sense movement in a nest. We should seen an emergence in the next day or two.

Is Nest 2 ready to emerge?

Inventory season should be starting pretty soon!

Barb and Steve

Monday, July 15, 2019

Monday, July 15th - No new nests, but more False Crawls from our SNT

The day started out beautiful, but hot, not much breeze on the beach.  We discovered camping equipment by Nest #6R, below Marker #6.  No worries, Olivia is back for her summer visit.

Here comes the sun

Sea Oats are having a good growing season

Olivia is back - her camp site
Nest #1, which is 57 days old today showed no signs of hatching or emergence, but there was a Ghost Crab hole right by the DNR sign.  Do they know?

 A large Ghost Crab hole was found at Nest #20.  The Ghost Crab went right down the reed and found the egg chamber.  You can see some of the eggs when looking in the hole.  There were also flies around the nest.  We covered the hole and gently packed the sand.  A Ghost Crab trap may need to be placed at this nest.

Nest #1 - Do those pesky
 Ghost Crabs know something?

Nest #20 a new nest is being attacked!

The GC found the eggs, but we did not
 see any evidence that any were taken
Our Special Needs Turtle (SNT) is back and she is a determined lady.  There were three False Crawls today.  The first crawl tracks had been wind blown and faint.  She crawled up to a small tree that had washed in and attempted to dig, but ran into a buried tree limb, and left - this is located close to Marker 6 - FC #34

False Crawl #1 for the day

She started digging, ran into
trouble and returned to the ocean

Her second attempt for the day - quick in and out, tracks were faint.  This crawl was located below Marker7, close to Nest #9 - FC #35.

Between finding these crawls, we saw something flipping around on the wet sand, and rescued this small ray.  It was placed back into the surf so he could swim back where he belongs.

Third False Crawl of the day - her best attempt, she dug in three separate areas this time.  Looking at the tracks, we believe that we probably just missed her. She came in and left and  crawled over her incoming track.  We probed all areas, and spent the most time in the larger area.  Along with probing we did dig when we found soft sand.  He were so hoping to find an egg chamber.  This crawl located above Marker 8, FC #36.

Incoming and Outgoing Crawl

Her incoming is the faint track on the left,
lower corner of the picture,
 goes to first area she dug, along the base of the dune
Her first digging attempt

She turns and heads west back along the base of the dune

Her second attempt to dig - this is between the
 first and the third place she dug.
There looked like several places,
 and the best body pit, and thrown sand.

Another view of the second area she dug.

The third place she dug before
 heading back to the ocean.  This was the least disturbed area,
 but reeds were broken and there was thrown sand.
She may of  been resting before making the crawl back to the ocean.

I added Maddy's pictures to give a better/different angle on this crawl.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

July 14 More False Crawls from our SNT

The Sunday walkers found three false crawls made by our Special Needs Turtle. The crawls were between marker 4, 5, and 6. There was no attempt to nest. The sand was compacted due to yesterday's heavy rainfall.
Notice how she busted through this debris to
reach higher ground

This is her distinctive track
This shows how she just turned around and returned
to the sea

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Over the Dunes!

Busy morning on the island with a false crawl and a nest: The nest was just below Marker 6 but the problem was that the mother turtle went up and over the crest of the dune. Not what we wanted to see.

So the relocation process started. A pretty big nest - 142 eggs in all.

Found it!

Starting the move - 142 eggs were laid in the nest

Lots of eggs in there

Going into a new nest on the front side of the dunes

Careful work

Happiness :)

Almost finished
Saturday Team with Nest 21R

 Then there was the false crawl - maybe this mother will return tonight to lay. We'll see tomorrow...

False crawl near the dead tree

Barb and Steve