Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lucky Number Thirteen!

Another exciting day on Waites begins under watercolor skies. Humid weather and clouds won't stop the sea turtle patrol from searching this beach...
...and making this discovery! My mother's dance of joy kind of says it all. It's a crawl! a crawl by a dedicated mother turtle....
She starts off straight from the water,
...then turns up around this big patch of ferns...
...makes her nest here, in the shelter of the dunes and the sea oats...
...and finally crosses her original track to make her way back to sea. Amazing.
Linda, Mom, Chris and Arlene all stand around the tracks of our "loopy" turtle, calling in the rest of the troops.
Then Arlene leads us, riding off into the sunset. Okay. Fine. Walking off into the sunrise.

 Rejoined by the rest of the Friday walkers (who were busy taking care of things on the short end of the island) we climb down from the back of Barb and Steve's truck and move on to the treasured task of finding the eggs. Steve had already probed by the time we got there, but made everyone wait for the rest of us before digging the nest.

.Flossie and I proceed to the nest, with gloves on...

...and begin digging for the egg chamber with plenty of caution, and even more excitement.
Egg chamber! And now, we debate whether or not the egg we uncovered is unusually warm by passing it back and forth. You can call it healthy curiosity, or science for the insane. However, regardless of the warmth of the yolk, or the unique conversations one can only find on Waites, this "chosen" egg shall be used for the DNA research.
Me, ecstatic? Whatever gave you that idea?
After a quick pose with Steve and the turtle egg...
...I move on to the popping of the shell. Not cracking, but popping. If you can imagine a water balloon made of thin leather, that's about the same idea as a sea turtle egg. You don't break it so much as you squeeze.
After a few moments to figure this out...I managed to pop it open.
And here lies the yolk...may it rest in peace. Or be eaten by seagulls...as that's what's most likely.
With Steve's help, I push the eggshell down into the test tube,
...and this portion of our job is complete. 
Meanwhile, the others are hard at work closing up the nest and marking it for future observation.
So here it is: Nest Thirteen! A team effort and a day well spent. Much thanks to the Demuzes and everyone else who has to be "on call" for miraculous events such as this!
Chris, Dave, Sarah, Linda, Arlene, Flossie, Valerie and Mom...it just wouldn't be turtle day without you. :)

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