Waties Island Nest Count

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Not much happening today other than a hole on nest 11 that was inhabited by lots of ants coming to and from the nest. The ants seemed to have made the hole, perhaps there is a whole colony living in the nest site. As always a wonderful morning with the crabs and pelicans and seagulls. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

S E V E N T E E N !!

The old cabin is still standing

Now, let's go for the record - the 17th nest of the season was found this morning on the lower end of the island, just below the entrance.  This is the highest number of nests we've had since 2007 when our total was 17.  She laid her nest way up on the dune - this one won't get washed over in these high tides.

Nancy probing for the egg chamber
It's down there somewhere

 A pretty crawl, about 32" wide.
And there they are
Lots of broken vegetation around the nest chamber - she'd been digging around up there.
Eggshell for the DNA testing
Bob and Nancy in front of "Nancy's Nest"

Signed and caged - #17

The "family photo" for today:

Bob, Sandy, Nancy, Donna, Sherry and Chris

Then, on to the next chore - the stranding up by Marker 3.  This loggerhead was pretty big - not an adult according to DNR - but no lightweight either.  But check her left front flipper; it is much smaller than the normal one on the right.  It didn't look damaged that we could see.  Maybe something happened early in the growth cycle to stunt it.

Small left flipper

Ghost crabs and other flying insects already on the job.

Not as many barnacles on this turtle as some we've seen.

Being moved up onto the dunes

Many thanks for all the helping hands this morning - I really appreciated it.  Especially Bob, who keeps us ladies moving in the right direction.  Thanks, Barb

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nest #16

Nest 16 on Friday morning --

Want to add something about Nest 1 changes???

Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Morning Update on Nest 7

Valerie and her fellow walkers checked on Nest 7 up at the jetty again this morning - this was the nest that may have been dug into by a dog yesterday - but today it appears that only a ghost crab has been there.

And a big one too.  They didn't see the crab, although it could have been down in the sand.  So for now, the volunteers filled in the crab tunnel.  Let's keep an eye on this one and see if the crab shows up again.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Startling Discovery _ Nest #7 VANDALIZED

Nest #7 (at the end of the island) was vandalized, a six inch hole dug into the ground. The cage itself had been pushed up several inches in the front, the back unearthed as well.
We think it was most likely a dog due to these tracks.

This is the hole when we found the nest.

A view of the hole without the cage, which we had to remove and re-position over the hole.

Christine and I filling in the hole and digging a new trench to replace the cage in.

another view of the unearthed cage and hole.
and another view of the tracks. Fortunately there was no signs that the dog had made it to the egg chamber so all turtles are most likely unharmed.

I apologize for the disorganization of this blog but I was having troubles with moving the photos. ~Jingle

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Update on Nest 14

We certainly have a healthy population of ghost crabs out on Waties and there must be a bit of competition for food BUT

they need to leave our nests alone!

The volunteers found this morning that some feasting had been going on.  After the called us to report the problem, they got rid of the crab:  They removed the cage, dug down into the crab hole (they saw it in there so knew they had to get it out), and once they could see it's claw in the hole, Valerie used a new technique for removal.  She found a stick and put it into the hole.  When the crab grabbed onto the stick, she pulled it out.  Took a couple of tries, but it worked!  Then they filled the holes back in and replaced the cage.  We just have to hope that crab will move on to other food sources.

Good job everyone!


Monday, July 4, 2011

And Number 14 This Morning!

Directly in front of Nest #4 between Marker 4 and 5 was today's nest, #14 of the year.  This mother must have come up early last evening - we noticed that her incoming track was covered by ATV tire tracks.  But check the outgoing track; it isn't covered.  She must have been on the beach when those vehicles drove by her.

This one wasn't too hard to find, although it was a little deeper than we expected.  The sand is soft and maybe she had to dig her chamber a little deeper so it wouldn't collapse on itself.
Chris holding the egg for the research project

This is the third nest of the season for this Monday group and they are just loving it!
Thanks Sherry, Sandy, Donna, Bob, Chris and Kim - keep 'em coming...

The Family Photo!

Nest #11 up at the upper end has had a ghost crab problem, but today the crab actually got an egg out of the nest and it was on the surface.  That was enough:  We removed the cage, packed the hole tightly with sand and chased this big guy back into the dunes.  Hope he stays there.

And, last, but not least, a puzzle:  Way down on the lower reach was another crawl.  Where the sand was wet, we could see the two tracks, one much longer than the other.  But at the wrack line, the tracks were totally blown over - absolutely no sign of them at all.  It could have been a nest, but no way to tell.  We did a little probing, but weren't able to find anything.  So we're calling this one a "possible nest" and will need to check it closely when it is near time for emergence.  You will see a question mark on the post (?) along with today's date.

Nest #1 was also full of sand again - at least a foot had accumulated overnight.  Mother Nature is doing exactly what she wants with the sand and we just have to try to stay a little bit ahead of her.

Removing more sand from Nest #1

Thank you Valerie for all these great photos!  Barb

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lucky Thirteen Today

A busy, busy morning with not one, but THREE crawls, all above Marker 9.

First crawl - 27" wide

Second crawl - 27" wide
 One crawl at the jetty where she must have run into rocks under the sand...

Then a second crawl a short way down the beach - we probed but found only soft dry sand under the surface.
Third crawl - 26/27" wide also

Then the third crawl just a short way down the beach.   She had been on the beach a long time too (the outgoing crawl was really long).

It's there somewhere!

But where??

There it is!
It was down there fairly deep too.

Dave, Steve, Valerie and Diane at Nest #13 
So now we number thirteen nests and more to come.

But not only did we have sea turtle activity, but it was wildlife day:  we saw lots of deer this morning, both on the mainland as well as on the island.  Pelicans, shore birds galore, and --

And a beautiful diamondback terrapin!  She was out on the middle of the beach, so we moved her back to the dunes.  But that's not where she wanted to be; when we finished our work at the top of the island, there she was making a long trek toward the water.  Guess she knows what she's doing.