Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, August 31, 2012

Night Walk on Thursday & Nest 5 Emergence

These photos were taken last night without a flash and only a small red light was shining on the hole. Hatchlings climbing out of the nest.
This little one is making its way out of the nest.
Out of the nest and heading for the ocean.

Full moon made for a great night for a walk last night on Waties Island!

Amazing Night

Last night 11 sea turtle monitors, CCU students and a few friends took part in a Night Walk with Karen on Waties Island. What an awesome night - we got to see nest 5 emerge and ~80 loggerhead hatchlings make their way to the ocean! Since Nest 5 was relocated, we know that there were 125 eggs - so, maybe more hatchlings emerged after we left or maybe they'll come out tonight? The mosquitoes and no-see-ums were relentless, but it was definitely worth all the bites to see such a sight!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


There was no thunder and lightning, but the Doppler showed rain so we were prepared.  As we got to the beach and headed up towards the inlet, the sky was completely grey except for this little slit of sun peeking through the clouds. 
As we walked we checked and questioned.

We noted a new set of tracks just a few yards in from where we park.  The sand was wet and clear of any tracks but these going diagonally across the entrance to the beach.

We laughed and had a good time in the rain and enjoyed our morning on Waties.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nest #9 Inventoried on Saturday

More hatchling tracks spotted at False Crawl #26 on Saturday morning

Lisa Scarano, former Waties Island monitor & CCU intern, from SCDNR uses her checklist.

Brianna & Haley begin the inventory on Nest #9 (formerly False Crawl #26).

Girls get help with digging from CCU students

Lisa is willing & ready to help!

Few more photos from Saturday

Steve helping our younger volunteers

Inventory on Nest #4 begins

A live hatchling turns out to be a GREAT surprise!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Two Surprises

 Our Saturday inventory led to some very pleasant surprises. While digging up nest four, we came across this little hatchling. It was very weak, but we gave it a little head start in its long journey ahead.
Here again is the little fellow making its way to the ocean.

 After digging up the nest, we discovered 100 eggs. 91 had hatched, while 9 remained unhatched.

 Say hello to nest number nine, our wild nest near marker seven. The nest was very deep, and we came across two dead turtles before discovering a very lively hatchling just raring to go.

 This is the video of the first hatchling from nest number four making its way to the ocean.

 This one depicts the start of the journey for our second little hatchling.

Our inventory of the wild nest came to 114 eggs. 70 hatched, 44 unhatched.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rainy Morning

We had a great start on the island this morning.  Maddy, Janice, Arlene and Bob were joined by Caitlyn and Cory, Valerie and Dave's Grandchildren.  This was Cory and Caitlyn's third year Turtle Walking.  Something they always look forward to when they visit South Carolina.
We checked Nest #6 and noted that the sand is starting to pile up.

We ended the morning with rain and half of a rainbow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

 Sadly, our first finds on waites were a pair of dead hatchlings. The first one we noticed was actually in the claws of a ghost crab and was seconds away from being lunch...or breakfast, perhaps.
 After this discovery we checked the nearest nest, #4. The tracks had, for the most part, been blotted out by the rain, but the emergence was quite clear.

 Nearer to the jetty all anyone could hear was the lovely (although, at five in the morning, Mom is pretty much the only one who would call it that) screaming cries of the seaterns.
 An odd find at a recent false crawl towards the jettys finished up our walk of the island. The hole, as pictured below, looks very like a nest emergence, leading us to believe it was a wild nest.
However, upon noticing the date marker we saw that the crawl was not nearly old enough to have had a hatching nest, so the hole is most likely that of a ghost crab. Still, the location of the hole leads us to believe that there may in fact be an undiscovered nest at this crawl site which drew the crab to the area. Certainly worth watching. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nest #7

Nest 7 at the upper end of the island has accumulated a lot of sand in the last few weeks (see the photo from yesterday's posting for a "before" picture).  This morning, with shovels in hand, the cage came off -

Cage removed - a LOT of sand has blown onto the surface of the nest

With the cage out of the way, we removed the sand back to the original level of the nest.

Steve, Tom and Jackie taking off the extra sand
 For now, the nest should be fine.  It is nice to see how much sand has accumulated over the season on the upper end.  The high tides earlier in the season came right up to the dunes and were causing them to erode; now they are rebuilding.  The ever changing shoreline...

Tom with the "after" photo

Friday, August 17, 2012

On the Surface All is Tranquil

Such beauty!

Just the sound of the waves.

Nest #7 - the sand is piling up.
Nest #4 - all is quiet on the surface.  But my imagination tells me at 49 days, the hatchlings are alive in their shells and getting ready to break free of their shells.  Soon one, then two, then three and more of the hatchlings will be making their way to the top of the nest, using each other to lift themselves above the egg shells.

Sea Foam found on the North Eastern beach of Waties.  According to the book Living Beaches by Witherington, Sea Foam originates from planktonic (small and drifting) plants and animals.  Wind and surface currents bring billions of these tine organisms to the surf where their cells are pulverized and their fat is whipped into suds.  Brownish foam may also come from organic sediments.
Blogged by VW

Friday, August 10, 2012


The wind blew us up the beach, but we fought it on the return trip.

As we walked we watched a rain cell off the coast and as we turned,we saw a rain cell  headed for us.  We got drenched!  Turned out it was a good thing we got to check nest #3 before it rained. 

As we walked up to nest #3 we saw the depression.  We did not notice any tracks. Was this a hatching or just a depression that sometimes shows up prior to a hatching?  We all searched the area for any signs of hatchling tracks or hatchlings. 

On the wet sand we saw lots of crab tracks, but we also saw a few hatchling tracks.  Not a whole lot them, but definately some.

In searching the wrack line, Janice found a dead hatchling about 60 feet south of the nest in the second wrack line.  We are not sure how many hatchlings actually emerged, but we definately had an emergence.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nest #2 invintory

Thursday's walkers found a nice sunrise, but, no new nests.
Steve brought the remains of a turtle that probably met it's end, on the end of a "Long Liner's" set!
Nancy with the skull.
Digging up nest #2.
59 hatched, 53 unhatched, 0ne dead, one alive!
                              Ryan Lochte is on his way to London!
                                         The inventory crew