Waties Island Nest Count

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nest #4 Inventory, September 12, 2015

Nest # 4 Inventory  Saturday, September 12
The Saturday walkers were joined by student volunteers from CCU
to inventory Nest #4 which emerged on September 9 at day 54 of
incubation. Taylor Harris and the crew dug up the shells and sorted
and counted. 95 eggs were in the nest. One was used for research.
90 hatched and 4 unhatched eggs. One bright white egg was reburied.

Thanks for the pictures, Leslie
Posted by Paulette

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Nest #3 Inventory

This morning we inventoried the contents of Nest #3. This one emerged on Monday - see the crater where they came out?

An emergence overnight

Waiting three day, on Thursday morning, we started the inventory only to find lots of hatchlings just below the surface!

CCU Sea Turtle Club members helping to dig

That blur in the center is a fast moving hatchling

So we quickly recovered the nest, but released the two hatchlings who were already out on the beach.

Today, when we finally got to empty the nest cavity, we found 34 hatched eggshells, 6 unhatched eggs and 2 tiny spacer eggs, something we don't often see. No live or dead hatchlings.

Spacer eggs

The DNA results on this mother show that this is the first season she has been documented as nesting in NC, SC or GA. She is probably a new mother which might account for the smaller number of eggs in the nest. Earlier this season, she laid two nests on Ocean Isle Beach before coming to Waties.

Only one more nest to go!

Thanks to Leslie and Karen H. for sharing their photos,

Barb and Steve

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Nest #4 Emerged Overnight!

Nest #4 emerged overnight at Day 54. This is the nest that is just below the entrance to the beach. Last night, several CCU students working with Taylor Harris on her sea turtle lighting project were on had to witness the emergence around 3 a.m.  They reported that there were lots of ghost crabs on the beach when it happened.

The photos that Leslie shared do show lots of hatchling tracks though; looks like it was a good nest!

Two holes

Lots of tracks

Hatchling tracks along with ghost crab tracks in lower left corner
The students were also monitoring Nest #2 at the top end of this island, but nothing was going on there.

Thanks to Leslie for sharing her photos!

Barb and Steve

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Nest #6 Inventory Results - September 4, 2015

This morning, an inventory was done on Nest #6. The nest was almost three feet down and it seems amazing that those hatchlings could make their way up through all that sand. Nevertheless, we found 50 hatched eggshells and no unhatched eggs. We also found five dead hatchlings, but one live one! The tide was very low and the walk to the water very long, so we set the hatchling down a bit closer to the ocean. It had lots of support along the walk and successfully started it's journey out to sea.

Nest #2 is now 55 days old, Nest #3 is 53 days old and Nest #4 is 49 days old.  More inventories soon!


Digging and digging!

 It is a very deep hole!

Karsen, SCMSS master's student, brings the live hatchling closer to the water.

Watching the hatchling make its way to the ocean.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

FC #6 is now NEST #6 !!!

We've been watching several false crawls over the last few weeks and this morning at Day 74! the Tuesday volunteers came upon an emerging nest. This FC, now a nest, was just above the entrance and buried by lots and lots of blown in sand.  That probably contributed to the extra long time before the hatchlings were able to make their way to the surface.

What a way to start the morning...

On the way

The walkers got to see several hatchlings just about in the water and more on their way.

Almost in the water...

One more hatchling on the way out
This is a great photo of what an emerged nest looks like.

Upper right is emergence; ghost crab hole below it

Now we are six...  Thanks to Karen H for providing her photos!