Waties Island Nest Count

Friday, September 5, 2014

Wild Nest # 9 / Nest Number Dave!

 Our walk today would have been fairly uneventful were it not for the fact that Dave felt a little under the weather this morning and decided not to go the long-end. However, in the time that it took us to get to the final remaining nest on the upper stretch Dave went for a stroll towards the inlet, and discovered something no one was anticipating...

A scattering of eggshells indicated that there had indeed been a wild nest that we didn't know about that was actually laid BEFORE (south of) marker 1.

However, close examination of these eggshells (the color, texture) seemed to indicate that this nest was not yet ready to hatch. In fact, nest robbers (ghost crabs) seem to be the main perpetrators of the discovery.

This is the hole we believe leads into the egg chamber, because it was on the sand as opposed to the many crab holes on the bank. They all had eggshell fragments around them.

Startlingly, if there was any doubt of crabs thieving behind the scenes, it was erased by the sighting of this crab in the grass atop the dune. He had climbed up the precipitous sand bank (a product of severe erosion) dragging a turtle that was still in the egg with its yolk sack still attached. Unfortunately, it was too late for this hatchling. 

Another reason we believe this nest may be premature for hatching is that this turtle is clearly not fully developed.

His flipper was also badly torn from the drag (you can see the blood mixing with the yolk in the picture above).

The hatchling was buried near the supposed nest site.

^^^As evidenced by this erosion of dunes, you can see this is a precarious location for this nest.

If the wild nest was not enough, Dave also found us an injured seagull at the point who is a current resident of our bathtub at home. We jokingly named the nest "nest number Dave", but this makes a ninth nest for the season.

Thanks to Valerie for  taking so many good pictures, to Dave for an impossible knack for finding things, and to Paulette for being prepared for literally ANYTHING. :)

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