Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, June 29, 2012


 Dave, Arlene and Linda, the fast walkers, came across the crawl just above mm 7 while Joan and I laged behind looking at Paw Prints.

The crawl looked familiar, but it was definately not the poor sea turtle with the uneven crawl that has been trying so hard to nest.


Arlene and Joan find the nest.
Paulette and Barb take the egg shell sample for the DNA Test.
Arlene, Joan and Linda remove and count the eggs.  The nest will be moved due to the location of the nest being on the wrack line.

There are 101 eggs.  100 will be relocated.  Barbara and Paulette take one (1) egg so that the shell can be sent for the DNA Testing.
Using Cockle Shells, Steve D. and Joan dig a new site for the nest around mm 3.

Paulette and Valerie measure the crawl at 36"

Barb and Joan place the eggs in their new nest.

Dave digs the holes for the two markers that will be placed in the dunes in case we have a hurricane.

Barb, Steve D. and Paulette take the triangle measurements and GPS readings as a precautionary measure, while Dave digs around the nest to place the cage.

 Everyone back fills around the cage.
Friday Walkers Dave, Linda, Paulette, Arlene, Joan and Valerie after a wonderful and exciting morning on Waties.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

False Crawl #22

Portuguese man-o-war found among the wrack.

We found this among the wrack.  It is purple, was attached to a piece of foam, was flat and looked like it grew on the foam like some sort of sea plant. 

Dave, Keela, Jingle and Truman were not sure whether this was a fresh crawl or a new one when they first came across it.  The rain had almost washed it away. 

Due to the rain washing out some of the track it took a little time determining what was what.

Paulette explains the process we go through when we find a crawl to Huntly, Karen and Vicky.   Visitors.

Tire tracks over the sea turtle crawl.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Today Makes 16

16 False crawls by the turtle with the uneven track.  She came up again last night near the jetty and spent a long time on the beach.  There were several spots where she stopped and tried to dig, but again, no nest.

Just a few yards up the beach where the rocks are was a second crawl.  The tracks appeared to be more "normal" and this could be a totally different turtle.  But again, no nest.  Maybe she'll return tonight.

But there is always something to be investigated out on that beautiful island, and today the volunteers found sea anemones in the pools of water along the base of the jetty.  We looked them up in the great book called "Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas" by Blair and Dawn Witherington.  This book has great pictures and is easy and concise.  I love it!

Sea anemones (Nancy's camera captures them)

FC #20 (#16 for the uneven turtle)

FC #21 - but maybe not that uneven turtle!
Wouldn't have been a good spot for a nest anyway

WOW!  Just beautiful this morning

Saturday, June 23, 2012

She's Definitely Back

Sadly, the mother turtle who apparently has some sort of deformity which hinders her ability to dig a nest chamber, is back trying again.  The post below shows the crawl from yesterday.  Today there was another false crawl up near the jetty.  This is just two weeks from the last time we saw her on Waties.  She may have nested somewhere nearby after all those false crawls, but we won't know unless we can collect a DNA sample from her.

On a lighter note, Seth was showing us how to put a blue crab to sleep - just by rubbing it's belly.  And it worked too!

Seth and the blue crab

Love those red "fingernails"

She was on the beach for a pretty long time

Deep grooves on the right flipper and flatter on the left

Exact same spot as FC #4 near the jetty

For the record, this makes 14 crawls for this turtle, although 5 of the 14 were short crawls way below the high tide line.  Three years ago when this turtle attempted to nest on Waties, we had a record number of false crawls - 22 for the season, most of which could be attributed to this turtle.  Looks like we may break that record this season.  But that year, she actually did lay a nest - right near Hog Inlet - the nest never did emerge, but when we did the inventory, it was huge - 179 eggs!

We'll see what tomorrow brings...

Barb and Steve

Hasn't been a bird in the chair since the owl arrived

False Crawl #17 Is She Back?

Lots of Sargassum up and down the beach this morning.

Usually a Loggerhead Sea Turtle will drop her eggs in the ocean after many unsuccessful attempts at finding a suitable nesting site. If the Loggerhead Sea Turtle is going to nest more than once in a season, there is an average of two weeks between nests. It has been two weeks since we have seen the sea turtle that came ashore with a crawl like this that tried and tried to nest.  Could she be back to try again?  Hopefully she will be successful at her attempts this time.

She is trying hard!

While Arlene looks on, Linda, Dave, Judy and Steve and Steve H. attempt to find a nest and cannot.

Steve H. showes us the Turtle Shoes he has designed and made.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mosquitoes, Ants and Beach Vitex

The word is out.  There is a free buffet from 5:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m.  For the mosquitoes that is!!!  We ran to the beach and we raced back to the shed.  Swatting the whole time.

Ants right in the center of nest #1.

Beach Vitex  has a very woody vine.

On the Beach Vitex Vine, the leaves grow opposite one another as in the picture to the left.  There is another vine that looks like Beach Vitex, but the leaves are alternating.

 Karen taking a GPS reading of the Beach Vitex which is a very invasive plant.  Beach Vitex will wipe out all other plant life.  Turtles are not  able to nest in it.

Beach Vitex  behind mm 4.  As of 6/22/2012 the Beach Vitex measured 7' 6" X 6' 4".

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Season is Heating Up!

A false crawl yesterday and a nest today - this makes three on the beach now.  Chelsey just rejoined us today after returning from her honeymoon.

Today's nest was right in front of Marker 6, but it was laid in between the two lines of wrack (those brown spartina weeds that have washed up over the last few weeks).  This makes it in danger of being washed away in high tides, so it was decided to move the nest up higher on the face of the dunes.

Chelsey digging 

While Steve and Steve dug a new nest (which we know those hatchlings will enjoy), Chelsey and Chris carefully removed the eggs from the original nest.  Paulette took the egg for the DNA sample down to the waterline where she put the eggshell into the vial of alcohol.

Paulette collecting the eggshell for DNA testing

The start of the removal process

All the eggs

The new nest site

Getting ready for the cage

In all, there were 111 eggs.  We took one for the DNA sample, but later found one broken one near the bottom of the nest, so we kept that one as a duplicate sample.  The other 109 eggs were reburied and protected.

Chelsey, Chris, Tom, Steve D, Jackie and Steve D in front of our relocated Nest #3.