Waties Island Nest Count

Saturday, August 31, 2013

And More Tracks...

Way back on Tuesday morning, the walkers found the track of a single turtle hatchling making its way toward the ocean from Nest #8. This is the nest near the horse entrance to the beach. Then nothing more...

But this morning, this is what we saw:

Nest #8

Looking toward the ocean

Lots of tracks - BUT Arlene has a picture from yesterday morning of these tracks (there was a little confusion between activity at Nest #8 and Nest #9). Seems like the majority of the hatchlings from this nest actually emerged yesterday.

Nest #9, a little further up the beach from Nest #8, was checked again this morning. This one was washed over on Friday; you can see pictures on Jingle's posting below. No new tracks to report, but there is still a depression/dropped sand over the nest cavity. Steve says he thinks it definitely emerged.

So busy inventory time - Sunday, we will inventory Nest #11 which emerged on Thurday.
Monday, we will inventory Nest #8, #9 and #10 which all emerged yesterday.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Action: One Emergence and a Maybe?

Another gorgeous and eventful day on Waites Island! We started out walking the short end, where we observed some very exciting developments. First and foremost, however, there was the sunrise.

Nothing prettier than the sun reflected in the still inlet water...
Unless perhaps, it's the sun behind these trees. Anyway, back to business...
At nest ten, there was some very obvious action.

 Bunches of teeny hatchling tracks stream out from the center. They stop however, but only due to the immensely high tide line.
A hatching is rather obvious in my amateur opinion, so keep a look out. No inventory details yet.
Mom and Christine Bergh sight an osprey! (very tiny in this picture) He continued to soar overhead, always when my camera was either not out or not zoomed. I'm pretty sure he was mocking me.
Then, Mom and I decided to walk the long end. The sun just got prettier...and hotter. It turned into quite a warm morning, but the cool breeze took off most of the humidity.
Then, more activity was sighted on nest nine! Turtle tracks cannot be picked out because of the high tide washover...and mainly because of the vast number of ghost crab tracks overrunning them. However, this looks very much like a drop. There is still a possibility that it could be a very large ghost crab hole, but it looks more like a turtle-related depression. Either way, two things are for certain: Walkers need to watch Nest nine, and ghost crabs on Waites need sedatives.

Some better shots of the hole. You be the judge.
After all was said and done, we were rewarded with this beautiful panorama of the jetties and the island and the ocean beyond. Now...
We have a ways to go.

Anybody know any travelling songs? :L

Later on we found this adorable shell-outline of a sea turtle on North Myrtle Beach. Or perhaps it was meant to be a bunny. Just like nest nine: It's all how you look at it. ;)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thursday, Aug. 29,2013 New Face On Waties

Another beautiful morning!

Nest #11,Truman and I saw, what we thought, was older baby turtles tracks. They did not look fresh.

Nothing at nest #12.
Breakfast is served! (minnows caught in tidal pool)
A Bald Eagle!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Activity at Nest #8

Beautiful sunrise on Waties Island today
And what better way to start the day.... we discover a possible hatching at Nest #8.

Only found one set of tracks coming from this nest along with a lot of ghost crab tracks.
 Still no hatching at Nest #6. Just a lot of ghost crab tracks.
Tomorrow should be an exciting day for the Wednesday walkers.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sea Turtle Inventory of nest #7

As the Coastal Sea Turtle Club, we started off our semester with taking part in this sea turtle inventory of nest #7 this morning along with a lot of new club members & and other volunteers. We had a great time and we look forward to participating in the next one! There were 87 hatched eggshells and 7 unhatched eggs, one dead hatchling and no live ones. Including the one egg that was taken for the DNA study when the nest was laid, there were a total of 95 eggs. The hatch success ratio was 91.5 %.

Walking out to sea turtle nest.
New Coastal Sea Turtle Club members digging up the nest.

Look we found an egg!

Separating & counting everything that came out of the nest.

One dead hatchling.
7 unhatched eggs.

Time to put everything back in it's place & cover the nest back up.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Still No Hatching On 6

It was a beautiful day today, as always...
but still no activity on Nest 6. Saturday walkers need to really be watching this nest, because it is very, VERY due to hatch. Also, there were dog tracks on several of the nests. No digging, however, so I don't think it's anything to be concerned about at the time.
A very high tide line also makes it difficult to see any action on the beach, so everyone needs to keep a weather eye.
Anyway, that's about as exciting as it gets...except for the snake.
There's always something interesting going on on Waites.

Reminder: Inventory of nest 7 is Sunday morning! :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013


 A group of us gathered at the cottage yesterday and car pooled out to the island to meet up with the Saturday walkers to do the inventory of Nest #R4.

Those who wanted to help, donned gloves.

 Will, Flossie and Bill's grandson, helped by handing the eggs to Barb.
Barb and Flossie separated the eggs into groups of 10, hatched, un-hatched and the 4 hatchlings that did not make it. The outcome of the inventory:
            55 hatched
            33 un-hatched
  Total 88
        +   1 egg taken for DNA
        +   1 egg taken by Ghost Crab
  Total 90 eggs
  61% hatch success

There were no live hatchling in the nest.

The dead hatchlings, egg shells and un-hatched eggs were put back into the nest and
 then covered up by Jacob and Will, our very eager helpers.  These two come every summer to visit grandma and grandpa and never miss coming to the inventories, always showing a great deal of interest in the whole process, helping out any way they can.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Current Status of Nests on Waties Island

Barb Demusz, the "turtle lady" of Waties Island, has put together this wonderful map of the island.  Paulette Johnson has been marking the map as the nests have been laid and as they hatch.  The white tags show the nests that have not hatched and the dates they were laid.  The blue tags are the nests that have hatched with the additional date it hatched.  Click on the picture for a clearer view.

Nest #6, laid on June 23rd, could be the nest one to hatch.

 But as we have seen, they do not always go in order.  Nest 5 hatched before nest 4 which emerged night before last on Wednesday night.
Below are all the remaining nests, not identifiable except for their markers.  It is amazing how much goes on around us that we do not see unless we look.