Waties Island Nest Count

Monday, October 31, 2011

Beach Sweep on Saturday, October 29

A cold, windy start to the day -- but the afternoon cleared up and the sun came out.  Nineteen volunteers gathered at the cottage to tackle the cleanup project.  We had some first time volunteers from CCU and we were glad to have them join us.

Mary, the photographer from Inlet Point Plantation, was kind enough to take a picture of the group and more of the volunteers in action.  Thanks, Mary! (click on any photo to see it larger)

Waties Island Beach Sweep Volunteers
Steve and Debbie filling their bags

Paulette and Diane with one of the 4 tires

There was an amazing amount of stuff we collected - we estimated the weight to be in the neighborhood of 1000 pounds.

- 40 bags of miscellaneous trash - plastic bags, balloons, cans, bottles, food wrappers, clothing, shoes, sunglasses, fishing line, ropes, cigarette lighters, light bulbs, toys and other unidentifiable items
- 4 tires (one was a HUGE tire)
- 2 crab traps
- several oversize plastic bottles and buckets

Bryan took photos of the HUGE tire project at the upper end of the island - 

Chance, Brady and Brandy working on that tire

and more digging...

Finally got it out
And last, but not least, the trip to the Solid Waste Authority to get rid of all that stuff --

Steve with the haul

Feels good to get it done!  Thanks, all, and see you in the spring,

Barb and Steve

Sunday, October 16, 2011

End of the Season Photos

Tracks at P2 today!  But not hatchling tracks; deer tracks.  No sign of any turtle type activity at the site so we will call it a false crawl.

Tracks at P2 nest site

But deer tracks, not turtle tracks

There were two otters in the marsh this morning chasing schools of small fish around.  First time we've ever seen otters there.  Exciting!

Just a little head above the water

But an otter for sure
And another beautiful sunrise too -

So our official monitoring season comes to a close with the removal of the last sign.  

P2 comes down

This has been a great season made possible by all you wonderful volunteers.  Hope to see you all back again next season,

Barb and Steve

Monday, September 12, 2011

More Turtles on Their Way Overnight

The Monday walkers found that Nest 17 (the one right next to the entrance) emerged overnight.  There were lots and lots of hatchling tracks heading for the water.  One little turtle made a wrong turn and ended up behind the dunes somehow.  The walkers followed the tracks and found the turtle.  This one didn't make it, but it sure looks like lots of others did.

Check back on Friday for the inventory results!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Digging Up The Nests

Sunday was cool and sunny on the beach and we set out to conduct two inventories, Nest 9 and the newest emergence, Nest 19.  We had the exact location of the nest for #9 and it was our best outcome yet:  125 hatched egg shells and only 5 unhatched eggs.  Including the shell taken initially for the DNA project makes a total of 131 eggs laid and a 95.4% hatch success ratio.  Amanda's mom was on hand to help out along with Diane and Paulette.

Janet, Paulette and Diane

125 hatched and only 5 unhatched
In the meantime, Dave, Judy, Amanda, Valerie, Dave and Steve were looking for the egg chamber for Nest 19. This one was very tough to find - it was fairly close to the sign showing the general vicinity of where we thought the nest might be (more good luck than good management), but even so we dug for almost two hours without finding it.

Judy, Dave and Amanda start the hunt
Where is it??

So Monday morning, we asked Chris (she was on hand the morning the tracks were found) to help locate the nest.  And a very good thing too; she was able to zero in on the location after only a little bit of digging.  She dug in by hand and found a live hatchling right at the top of the nest.  Guest walker Betty did the escort duties this morning.

Trying to keep it somewhat shaded

Only two didn't make it - we used one for the DNA sample

Paulette, Betty, Bob, Chris, Dave and Barb
Again, a very good outcome with 80 hatched shells, 6 unhatched, 1 live hatchling and two dead ones.

Persistence paid off in locating this nest - thanks to everyone who helped out!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Possible Nest" 1 Emergence!!!!!!!!

What a difference a couple of days make!
 It was a beautiful, crisp morning!

Hole is about five feet to the right of the marker

Many many tracks!  Valerie you were right!!!! It's a nest!

These tracks lead all the way down to the water.
 We must have just missed the boil!

Surprise! Keela found this little one turned over on its back.
She righted him and he took off!

And away he goes! Well...it took a few more minutes :)

Submitted by Chris

Monday,August 29 First day back from storm

Erosion of the dunes about midway to jetty

Kim showing the scale of erosion.
 If any one knows how to rotate pictures on this blog, please shoot me an email!
Submitted by Chris

Nest 12 Emergence Thursday,August 25

We counted 31 tracks

dead center of the reed!

Hurricane marker

They went every which way!

Sky the day before the storm
submitted by Chris- sorry for delay!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

More News from the Island

On Wednesday, we did two inventories, Nest 8 and Nest 11.  The outcome from Nest 8 was disappointing; 109 unhatched eggs and only 27 hatched.  We also found 5 dead hatchlings in the nest and they had been in there a while.  There were also lots and lots of roots in this nest.

Roots growing right through the egg

We've gotten some initial DNA results on the mother who laid this nest on June 18; she laid her first nest on North Myrtle Beach (their Nest 3) at 11th Avenue S.  She laid 139 eggs on NMB and 137 on Waties.

Then on to Nest #11:  Slightly better outcome here - 36 hatched egg shells, 22 unhatched and only 2 dead hatchlings.
Reburying the nest contents

Karen sorting the egg shells

We also have DNA results on this nest too.

This mother laid her first nest on NMB on 5/13, their first nest of the season with 109 eggs.
Then she laid her second nest on Waties on 5/29, our Nest #1, with 100 eggs.
Her third nest was again on Waties on 6/11, our Nest #4, with 96 eggs.
This nest represents her fourth of the season, our Nest #11, with 58 eggs.

She may have laid more nests during the season and future DNA results will give us the answers.

Barb and Steve

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Preparing for Hurricane Irene

It was a bit of work this morning and a very big thanks to Steve Huggins, Valerie and Dave Way and Karen Fuss who came out to help clear the island of signs and nesting materials.  All the cages and signs have been stored in the shed.

Steve placing a new marker in front of the nest site

In the place of the original signs, you will now see a small wooden post, sprayed with fluorescent yellow paint and marked with the nest number.  Well behind the dunes are two additional markers which should help us relocate the nest if the wooden stake is washed away in the high tides and storm surge.  They won't be quite as easy to see from a distance like the orange nest signs, but safer and will create less marine debris.

The new nest markers

And on the middle of the beach this morning was a skull - looks like an adult fox skull.  Quite a set of teeth on this critter!  Sometimes I miss those foxes; they may have helped to keep the ghost crabs from taking over the beaches.

It is looking more likely that we will only get the edges of Hurricane Irene now, but she's a big storm and we'll probably see some effects on our beaches.  Hope any damage is minimal.

Barb and Steve