Waties Island Nest Count

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nest #11 Today!!

Today's nest discovery brought the grand total to 11 on Waites, as well as the finding of our seventh false crawl! Its an amazing privelege to be able to see God's plan glorified through these amazing sea turtles. :)

Turtles weren't all that we saw....the undeniably angelic looking pelicans as well as the not so angelic Portuguese man of war jellyfish made it into the blog.

Probing and digging for the well hidden sea turtle nesting pit.

                                                A group shot in front of our beloved new nest.


The newly revised map of nests!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

10th Nest 6-21-2011

The Waties Island Turtle

 Chelsey and Lacey with "the Egg"

 Washed and ready for DNA sample
 28", just a youngster
The Tuesday walkers, Shirley, Sandy, Chelsey, Bob, Lacey and Rita

Monday, June 20, 2011

Number Nine, Number Nine...

Wasn't there a Beatle song with lyrics like that??  Well, the Monday team had to really work for today's nest:  Two false crawls to investigate along with the nest itself.

False crawl #4 was just above the entrance where the turtle crawled to the top of the dune before turning around and literally sliding back down (skid marks on the dune).  Then she made her way back to the ocean.  Track width measured 36", a pretty big momma.

The second crawl looked very promising with what appeared to be a nesting pit.  Crawl lengths were equal, but she could have nested before the high tide came in around 11 p.m.  We looked and looked, but weren't able to locate any eggs.  Same track width as the first false crawl too.  FC #5 

A rose for FC #5

Will the third crawl be the one?

Then on to the third crawl of the morning.  This one looked like the real thing:  the crawl lengths were very different indicating she had been on the beach for a while.  This track width was 36" too; if it was the same turtle, she had to be tired.

Donna and Sherry are checking out a soft spot.  Sure enough, the eggs were there. 

Nest #9 of the season --

The Monday team of Bob, Kim, Donna and Sherry
 (missing Sandy and Chris today!)
Great job everyone!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Update from Yesterday and Today

We are now 8 for the season!!  Yesterday morning, there was a crawl at the jetty - as far away from the entrance as you can get.  It looked like she actually tried to nest up on the hillside, but there are lots of rocks just under the sand there.  So she came back down and Nest 7 was laid just above the wrack line.
A long crawl up the beach

It's a loggerhead - see the alternating flipper marks?
The Friday crew working Nest 7

Arlene and Paulette uncovering the eggs

This morning, Patrick, Arlene, Jackie, Amanda, Ashley and Seth set off with Steve for another stroll on the beach.  But... right above Marker 5, there were the telltale tracks crossing the beach.  While Steve went for supplies and a cage, the others continued up the island to check for more crawls and monitor the other nests.

Perfect location up on the dune

Sure enough, it was a nest - Nest #8.  The tracks looked pretty big, but measured just 31", fairly average for a loggerhead.

This one was 31" wide

Seth, Amanda, Ashley, Steve, Patrick, Jackie and Arlene
Patrick's first nest ever and might be Jackie's first too.

This year, we've had ghost crabs at several nests and yesterday's nest at the jetty was no exception.  New crab trap is now in place and we'll see if we can catch this one.

Nest 7 with Fripp Island ghost crab trap in place

Different style crab trap installed on Nest 2

Statistics from 2007, our best year so far, show our 8th nest on June 19 - that means that we're a day ahead of the 2007 season.  But only time will tell what the end of season results for this year will show.  Still, it's looking good!  Thank you all for volunteering!!

Don't forget to check out the Waties Island Turtle Watch Facebook site that Ashley is maintaining:

Barb and Steve

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Nest #6

Thursday was another great morning!  Chris and Bruce discovered the crawl on the lower end of the beach and Keela and Jingle, who walked all last season without finding anything, were rewarded with their first nest on Waties.

Today's find brings the total number of nests on Waties to six and it's only June 16.  This newest addition is only a few feet from Nest #3.  We could see that she had been on the beach for a while, even though some of the tracks had started to wash away with the incoming tide.

Jingle's first crawl
Bruce, Jingle and Chris locating the egg chamber

Karen Fuss pointed out an interesting coincidence:  in 2007, the year we had 17 nests, the sixth nest of the season was found on June 16, same as our Nest #6 today.  We can only hope for as busy a season as 2007.  That year, the last nest was discovered on July 27, so we have at least 6 to 7 more weeks of prime nesting days left.

Here's the one for the DNA study

Into the vial it goes

A big thank you to Chris, Keela, Jingle and Bruce for a job well done!

Barb and Steve

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ghost Crab!!

There was a large ghost crab hole in Nest #5 this morning.  This is the most recent nest up by Marker 8.  We know crabs have to eat too, but not turtle eggs, thank you.  Hopefully it will get trapped in the bleach bottle tomorrow morning and it can be moved to a new location.

Before and after (you can click on the photos to see more detail).

Barb and Steve

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Another nest today!

Late Sunday afternoon, our fifth nest of the season was found up in front of Marker 8.  There was a group of visitors picnicking there only a few feet from the crawl.  Several of them helped us find the eggs.

The crawl before the incoming tide erased the tracks

 These visitors (sorry we didn't get their names) were being very careful when they were digging.

Steve is pointing where to dig

And there it is!
The tide was coming in quickly and there wasn't much beach to drive on, so we quickly caged the nest, put up the signs and headed back home for a cool shower.  Didn't even have a chance to get a photo of the cage and sign - maybe tomorrow.

Barb and Steve

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fourth Nest of the 2011 Season

But, first, ghost crabs galore on Nest #2 -

We are trying a new type of trap, a large plastic jug with a handle buried flush with the sand on the route the crab seems to take.  We're hoping it will fall in and not be able to get out again so we can move it far far away.

 This new nest was only about 20 feet from Nest 2 (the one with the ghost crabs).  A short crawl up to the dune line and a perfect nesting site.
A little probing and some digging and there are the eggs

We welcome 3 new people to their 1st nest, Seth, Ashley and Amanda.

A 3 inch visitor was returned to the ocean

Steve and Barb