Waties Island Nest Count

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nest #2 - a Big Surprise!!

We had serious concerns about Nest #2 (the first documented nest laid by turtle # 807 on Waties Island) when we first inventoried the nest on Wednesday, August 6th.  Steve & Barb decided it was best to cover the nest and wait an additional 3 days and inventory again on Saturday (see previous post).  We were really expecting to find a nest of dead baby sea turtles after the Friday team reported a ghost crab hole over the nest and an unpleasant odor coming from it.  So a small group went out on the high tide morning and inventoried the nest.  It was a very deep nest which may have contributed to the difficulties this nest seemed to have.  We were AMAZED at what we found!
94 hatched eggs, 32 unhatched (which included 2 partially developed turtles) and 9 LIVE babies!!  A 74% hatch rate, which is just below average.

These were the first two babies retrieved from the nest...so cute!

They get so excited once they feel the water for the first time, it energizes them and they go even faster to get out to sea.

This little baby #8 to emerge was very deep in the nest which may have contributed to his slightly deformed shell.  He was mighty determined to get to sea and didn't let this extra challenge hold him back!!

The race is on...

Our special sea turtle (#8) gets around just fine.

This is baby #9 (with #8 in the background), he still has the yolk sack attached to him.
Patrick finishing the dig

Patrick, Steve and Tracye counting eggs.  Note how high the tide is, it actually went down a foot or two while we were at the nest.

Final inventory -- Such an exciting morning.  We were all expecting a somber experience and left the beach elated.  This was the Saturday Team's first nest find of the season, so it was great to be the group doing the inventory as well.
Looking forward to nest #3!!

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