Waties Island Nest Count

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Exciting Morning on the Island!

Nest #25 discovered this morning just below Marker 5. The track width was only 32" making her on the small side of loggerhead turtles.

False Crawl/Possible Nest #6 found on May 27th turned out to be Nest #26! See the emergence hole, but no tracks coming out of the hole. The wind blew those tracks away.
Near-by in the damp sand, lots of hatchling tracks can be seen. Hooray for another 2 nests!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, July 21 Nest #24

 Crawl was 5-600 north of mile marker #1
 Obtaining one egg for DNA testing
 Taking only the shell for testing
 Record breaker!!!
We also had a false crawl, (or, Braxton Hicks, as I like to refer them as :-), two hundred yards north of the entrance

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Nest # 23 Tuesday, July 19

Tuesday walkers discovered a crawl and body pit just below Marker 5.
 The wind had erased the track in the dry sand, but the body pit was clear
and well defined. The loggerhead brushed up against the wall of sand and
then laid her eggs and left a nice big mound for Steve H. to probe. Eggs
found!! The fourth straight Tuesday with a nest for this lucky group!!
Pictures and Post by Paulette
Crawl visible in wet sand

Close up

Body pit as she crawled up against the dune

Steve H. starts probing in the soft sand

The egg chamber will be found in that circle!!


Lucky Tuesday walkers

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, July 17th: The Record Breaking Continues -- Nest #22!!!

  The female loggerhead's pathway to and from nesting is located near Marker 6, a possible Nest #22.
                                    Kaela, Emily, and Justin prepare for the nest search.
                                          Marjorie examines the evidence of nest #22.

                        Steve does his "magic" probing for evidence of an egg chamber.
                     He repeated this procedure several times as the egg chamber was elusive.
       In the meanwhile, Marcelle and Valerie measure the turtle track width -- 34 inches.
                                    Kaela and Justin continue to dig, finally with success!
                                          Evidence proves we have discovered Nest #22!
                                Kaela removes the yolk and white from the DNA sample.
                                    The leathery egg shell is inserted into the vial for DNA testing.

 Steve, Justin, Kaela, Marcelle, Emily, Marjorie, Barb, and Valerie celebrate yet another record breaking nest.
  Thank you, Nick, for the photos.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Nest #21 Discovered

Tuesday walkers and visitors discovered Nest # 21 this morning! All of us were thrilled especially our young visitors who helped Steve find the nest cavity and retrieve an egg for the genetic sample.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

July 9: A Record Breaking Morning!!! Nest #20!!!

                              A crawl and potential nest are discovered between Markers 1 and 2.
   The female loggerhead chose an area with lots of large debris, utilizing it as camouflage for her nest.

                      Success!!! Absolute proof of Nest #20, the record breaking nest, is revealed!
                                                     Jackie removes the DNA sample.

                                              The DNA sample for Nest #20 is prepared.

               Pat, Steve, Marcelle, Nick, Jackie, and Barb with Jeanne as photographer
                                                 celebrate the record breaking nest!

Friday, July 8, 2016

July 8: Nest #19 Discovered--Tricks, Turtles and Tips from Ghost Crabs

     Excitement builds on Waites as we close in on what looks to be a record breaking season. Today Nest 19 was found between markers 5 and 6, on the long stretch of the island. The day began with a pink-gilded cloud-scudded sky, but this sunrise after last night's thunderstorm wasn't the only pleasant surprise awaiting us.

A topsy-turvy crawl from the ocean marked where today's turtle came ashore. There appeared to be an obvious body pit close to the dune wall (pictured below)...but why did she leave it, crawl parallel to the shore for about five yards, then go back out to sea?

Fortunately for turtles and walkers alike, Paulette and Steve Huggins have a detective's eye. After probing the "more obvious" body pit and coming up empty...
they noted a crab hole in the unusual sideways crawl fifteen feet away.

Though no sand was kicked up, and there was no clear body pit like in the originally probed space, Paulette and Steve thought it was unusual enough to give it a shot.

This is one of those very rare incidents where a ghost crab actually helps instead of hinders...even if its goal was to score one of the turtle eggs hidden beneath the sand. After probing and digging in with care, Arlene discovered the egg chamber under the surface.

Young Shane gets his first "crack" at aiding in DNA research, collecting the sample egg to be sent off for testing.

After assessing the situation, it was decided that the turtle nest did not need to be relocated. The track was measured at 34 inches (see below) the same as one of our previous turtles. Another interesting fact (noted by turtle detective Paulette) is that there are marks left in the track by barnacles that appeared in previous crawls..meaning this is likely the same turtle that came ashore earlier this week.

This turtle just lives to confuse us!

In the end, however, it's hard to confuse Steve and Paulette. They've seen it all.

From Left: Samantha,Arlene, Shane, Gail, Jingle, Lorraine and John, Larry and Paulette

Nest number 19 is marked, now on to nest 20! Oh, and that's not all. We even had a live turtle sighting...

...back at the shed. Hey, box turtles are cool too!

Thanks so much to all the Friday walkers, and special thanks to Steve and Paulette for making this possible! See you next week!