Waties Island Nest Count

Thursday, September 5, 2013


When we started to do the inventories on both nest 10 & 11 this week, we found hatchlings at the top of the nest.  This, sometimes, is a sign that the nest has not fully hatched.  We then cover the nest back up and wait another three days to do the inventories.  As we made our way from the truck to the beach, I looked up and saw this beautiful sight.
 When we got to the beach, I looked north and could see the fog hanging over the water with just a glimpse of the sun peaking through.
 To the south, the buildings on Cherry Grove were just barely visible.

 As we arrived at nest #10, we could see that a Ghost Crab had started his own inventory.  Surely not for the numbers, but for what he could eat.
Barb explains to the Coastal Carolina University Students, who will be doing the digging,  how the inventory will be done as Anne, a friend of Barb's, watches and listens.
A discarded nest marker signifies the beginning of a new journey for the  Loggerhead hatchlings.  The males will remain in the ocean never to return to the beach.  Only the females will return to the shore to nest in about 30 to 35 years.
 Lou and Flossie, separate the contents of the nest as they are removed.

Nest #10 was laid on July 5th and emerged on August 30th after 56 days.  The original inventory was done on September 2nd.  The second inventory was done today, September 5th.  Results:  98 hatched, 17 un-hatched = 115 eggs.  Plus one taken for the DNA study for a total of 116 eggs laid. NOTE: Two dead hatchlings were found at the bottom of the nest.

On the way to nest #11, I came across the remains of a hatchling that did not make it to the ocean.  It was caught by a predator.  Could have been a Ghost Crab, a bird, or ?.  A reminder that the journey taken by these hatchlings is not without its' dangers.

 As we arrive at nest #11, it is hot and humid.  The sun has come out from behind the clouds and the fog has lifted from the beach, though still over the ocean.
 The nest is opened up.
A hatchling, at first thought to be dead, is moving. 
A dead hatchling is found still in its' shell.
 Lou and Flossie count and Paulette records the numbers.
Nest # 11 was laid on July 7th.  It emerged on August 29th at 53 days.  The original inventory was done on September 1st.  Results:  63 hatched, 10 un-hatched = 73 eggs.  Plus one egg taken for the DNA study when the nest was found for a total of 74 eggs laid. 
NOTE: One piped egg was found and counted as un-hatched (hatchling died as it was leaving the egg) and one live hatchling was found deep in the nest.  See pictures above.
Thank you Paulette for the details on each nest!

The hatchling that barely moved, takes off once it reaches the water.  Its chances are slim, but a chance its got.

No comments:

Post a Comment