Waties Island Nest Count

Monday, June 6, 2011


 Just past Mile Marker 4 we spotted a set of tracks and a nest. We looked for the other tracks and saw nothing. Upon closer inspection, we realized that Ms. Turtle went out the same way she came in... can turtles have Type A personalities?

 We all took a turn at probing- it was a couple of our first times so what could have been a menial job turned out to be quite exciting....the anticipation was powerful! Valerie said that there had to be eggs because of all the ghost crab holes in the mound.  She said that's a dead give away; the crabs just love the turtle eggs!!!

We dug and dug-the sand was so packed we didn't think we were going to find anything, but Barb probed again and said, "Keep going!"

Barbara took one egg out for the DNA testing.  Did you know that the yolk is tossed?  Only the shell and egg white go into a large test tube. The yolk has DNA from both parents, but the test is only interested in tracking how many nests the female will lay.
Did you know that we wear gloves while we dig so that if an egg breaks we don't contract salmonella?

We measured the width of the turtle's track, which was difficult since we had incoming over outgoing.  We then measured the length from the middle of the nest to the primary sign and the length from the middle of the nest to the secondary sign. This is in case there is an unusual high tide that washes away the nest cage and primary marker.

Did I say this was my first nest and I was excited?

pictures by Valerie Way

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