Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island

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Season Ending Statistics

  

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Nest #36 Inventoried on IOP

Oct. 15, 2021

  

The last inventory of the season at Nest #38 had a couple of hatchlings left in the nest to be released by Lindsey Schoen. What a good season it was with all nests hatchling successfully. This one was not relocated and was laid on August 12 at 22nd Avenue. After 61 days of incubation, it boiled on Monday night. Termites had made a meal out of 3 of the nest sticks, but the turtles were fine. We found 87 empty shells, 17 undeveloped eggs. That meant hatch success was 82.8%. Thank you all for a wonderful season. See you next year!.  

   

This little guy has a long trip ahead of him. He had to fight the incoming waves several times this morning before he successfully made it.

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Terrapin Nest Inventoried on SI

Oct. 7, 2021

  

A little over two months ago a Diamondback Terrapin nested for the third time in the driveway of Marshall Stith and Jessie Jacobs at Station 22 on Sullivan's Island. The Turtle Team returned to Sullivan's to inventory that nest. There was one little guy left in the nest. He was ready to go so we moved him a bit closer to the marsh, hoping that would help him make it safely to the water.  

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Nest #35 Inventoried on IOP

Oct. 7, 2021

  

Another great inventory for this next to the last nest of the season. Genetics information is still not known, but this nest contained 114 eggs and only 4 did not develop in addition to the genetics sample egg. That gives it a 95.6% hatch success with no live or dead hatchlings left in the nest today. I cannot remember a season when our hatch success was this high, the temperature was ideal and the turtles were so healthy.

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Nest #34 Inventoried on IOP

Sept. 25, 2021

  

Two more great inventories today. The fall weather is refreshing with a beautiful sunrise, but turtles are cold blooded reptiles and do not do well in 50 something degree temperatures. But as has been the norm this season, there were no hatchlings left in either nest several days after they emerged from these two nests. We do not yet have the genetics report to identify these two loggerhead females at this time.

Nest #34 was laid high on the dune at the 6th Avenue path. We found that 115 eggs had been laid there and 9 did not develop. No turtles were still in the nest 4 days after they emerged after 53 days of incubation. Hatch Success here were 91.3%

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No hatchlings to see.....but a mighty interesting turtle egg to look at and touch!

 

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Nest #32 Inventoried on IOP

Sept. 25, 2021

 

Nest #32 which was relocated from 306 Ocean Blvd to 32nd Avenue had only 4 eggs fail to develop out of the 93 laid. Incubation time was 59 days. There were not any live or dead turtles left in the nest. Hatch Success was a wonderful 94.6%. Thanks to Sheri Scarlett for the photographs.

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Last Nest for Sullivan's Inventoried

Sept. 22, 2021

  

We ended the Sullivan’s Island nesting season with a bang. Actually it was a downpour. A shower moved onshore just as we were finishing the inventory. We had been concerned about this nest found by An Kelly on July 24 because it was left low on the primary dune and not relocated higher. It produced turtles after 57 days of incubation. Because of its location the tide and strong east wind caused water to wash over it on September 10 and 11. Some people were afraid that this might have drowned hatchlings or eggs in the nest. But we have been told that a brief wash over does not necessarily harm a nest, only a long soaking of water in the egg chamber. In fact some turtle experts have said that the tide pushing oxygen into the nest as it approaches can even be beneficial. In this case we found that 51 eggs had been laid and 42 of them had hatched and emerged successfully for an 82.3% hatch success. Only 8 plus the genetics egg did not hatch. The unhatched eggs appeared to have died early in development and were collapsed and discolored – not damaged by a recent high tide, just undeveloped from the beginning of incubation.

All 13 of the loggerhead nests on SI have hatched successfully. Congratulations to the whole Sullivan’s Island Turtle Team on your hard work and a job very well done this season!

The most dramatic thing about this morning was the weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nest #33 on Isle of Palms Inventoried

Sept. 21, 2021

 

The rain stopped long enough for us to inventory Nest #33 at the Property Owner’s Beach House in Wild Dunes this morning. We found 99 empty egg shells, 27 undeveloped eggs, one dead hatchling and no live hatchlings. This nest produced turtles after only 50 days of incubation which is the shortest time of any nests this season, probably because it was laid on top of the dune where it got more sunshine and heat that most others. We have no genetics report on this nest yet. Hatch success was 77.9%

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One of the K9 members of the Turtle Team seemed very worried about the whole inventory

 

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2 Inventories for Sullivan's

Sept. 20, 2021

 

 

With wind blowing hard and rain on the way, we were able to complete the two inventories near the lighthouse and did not get wet. We did not yet have genetics information on either of these nests that were laid on July 25 and 26. Both had incubated for 53 days.

Nest #12 which was moved above the spring tide line contained 104 eggs. Only 3 of them failed to develop and hatch. One dead hatchling was found in the nest. So including the genetics egg the hatch success was 95.1% and the emergence success was 94.2%.

Nest #13 was laid on a dune near #12 there and not relocated. It turned out to be a very small nest with only 50 eggs laid in all. This is unusual since the average is about 120 eggs. Sometimes nests laid late in the season are the last one for a nesting loggerhead and she is running low on follicles needed to form eggs. Unfortunately only 28 of them hatched and there were 21 that did not develop. Hatch and emergence success were 56%.

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4 Inventories for Isle of Palms.

One little guy made it out before we got there this AM

Sept. 14, 2021

 

The four inventories on the IOP this morning continued to show very healthy nests for the 2021 season. It is unusual for us to have a 90% average Hatch Success this late in the season. We don’t want to jinx this success by talking about it, but there are usually a few nests where a great number or even all of the eggs fail to develop or hatch. On the Isle of Palms where these nests were we have a 90% hatch average. The 57.5 days incubation average is a sign that the sand this summer was not overly hot and that the eggs developed slowly enough to form healthy hatchlings rather than less than 50 days. We have been told by SCDNR that anything less than 55 days of incubation is not ideal for their health and they are weaker with less stamina for their survival. It seems that very few of our inventories are having any hatchlings to be released to crawl to the ocean this nesting season. This is a good sign.

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Nest #23: This nest was found near 55th Avenue and incubated for 60 days, longer than the other 3 nests that were laid on July 11. There were only 3 undeveloped eggs left in the nest today with 98 empty shells and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch success was 96%.

Nest #29: This nest incubated for 57 days at 34th Avenue and contained 86 eggs. We found only one undeveloped egg and no live or dead hatchlings at inventory. Hatch success was 98.8%.

Nest #30: After 56 days of incubation this nest contained 16 unhatched eggs and 98 empty egg shells and again no hatchlings to release. This nest was laid at 22nd Avenue and not relocated. Hatch Success on this one was 85.9%.

Nest #31: This nest was laid near the Boardwalk Inn in Wild Dunes, contained 130 eggs and incubated for 56 days. Today we found 12 undeveloped and one pipped egg and one dead hatchling. A pipped egg is one where the hatchling had cut open the egg but had not come out yet. This gives it an 89.2% hatch success. In calculating the hatch success for each nest, we always have to take into account that one egg was used for the genetics research project, so it also did not hatch.

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No live hatchlings to release, but there was time for a photography lesson for the young turtle lovers

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Inventory of Nest #10 on Sullivan's

Sept. 11, 2021

 

Nest #10 on Sullivan’s was inventoried this morning. No nesting history on this turtle yet, but the timing is right for her to possibly be the loggerhead who always lays between Sta 14 and 18. The eggs incubated for 55 days which seems to be the normal for this season. This nest was laid near Station 14 just north of Ft. Moultrie and was relocated to a good spot south of the Sand Dunes Club and there were 90 eggs. Today we found 83 empty shells, 6 undeveloped eggs with no hatchlings live or dead in the nest. Hatch Success was 92.2% when you factor in the genetics sample egg.

 

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Inventory of Nest #27 & #28 on IOP

Sept. 9, 2021

  

Nest #27 incubated for56 days after being found by Sue Harris on July 12. It was moved higher at this location to get it out of the flood prone area of beach. The mother of these eggs usually nests in the Horry or Georgetown County beaches and this season had laid 4 nests, two in Georgetown County, one on Seabrook Island and her fourth here on the Isle of Palms. Out of the 85 eggs laid, we found 9 undeveloped and no dead or live hatchlings. Combined with the two eggs (one found broken and one used for our genetics sample) that gives it an 87% Hatch Success.

Nest #28 was laid the same day near Ocean Club Villas in Wild Dunes and found by Carolyn Eshelman containing 116 eggs. This turtle was nesting for the very first time in 2021 and this was her third nest after laying at 21st Ave, then on Sullivan’s Island and finally this one. We found only5 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling. This lone turtle was released by Sue Harris. It had trouble moving because one of its rear flippers was nonfunctioning and tucked up under its shell. It had to be helped to the ocean after crawling for a while. Hatch Success was 94.8%.

  

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Inventory of Nest #24 & #26 on IOP

Sept. 7, 2021

  

  

Nest #24 was found by Richard and Gillian Ellis near 55th Avenue and 84 eggs were relocated to 23rd Avenue. This was Loggerhead #9264 who nested in 2016 on Folly, Botany Bay, North Myrtle Beach and Lighthouse Island. She was not recorded as nesting again until this year where we only know she laid this nest with no others documented. We found that 7 eggs did not develop and 4 hatchlings were left in the nest at inventory. Hatch Success was 83.3%.

Nest #26 was laid at Ocean Point at the north end of Wild Dunes and found the same day as #24 by Cindy Moore, Diane Troy and Paige Hauff. This is Loggerhead #2992. We feel as though we know her well since this is her 5th nest of 2021 and she has been known to have laid in this area 24 times in every odd year since 2011. Perhaps she has also been nesting in years before we started getting her samples. She favors the north end of the IOP in Dewees inlet close to Cedar Creek in the marsh and laid all but one of her nests near there this year. Her clutches are almost always 140 eggs or more and hatch success is always in the 90+ percent. She is to be admired for her nesting site fidelity and good healthy eggs. Her 5 nests had an average hatch success of 96.24% this year with the lowest one at 92.5% and three over 97%. This final nest of the season for her had 5 live hatchlings, 5 dead hatchlings and only two undeveloped eggs. Hatch Success here was 97.8%.

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Inventory of Nest #21 & #25 on IOP

Sept. 5, 2021

  

Nest #21: We were a little worried about this nest because the signs that turtles had come out were not positively clear after lots of wind and some showers. We did know that at least one came out 4 days ago. So we were prepared to cover it back up if we found a lot still in the nest not ready to go. We were delighted to find 106 empty shells, 5 undeveloped eggs, and we found one lone hatchling who was ready for release. Hatch Success was 94.6% for this nest laid on July 4th.

Nest #25: This was one of four nests found in a duneless stretch of Wild Dunes by Richard and Gillian Ellis on July 11 and relocated to 23rd Avenue. The clutch count on this one was 123 eggs. Twelve of the eggs failed to develop, and there were no hatchlings alive or dead left in the nest. Hatch Success was 86.9%. Gillian released the one hatchling from Nest #21 in front of a very appreciative crowd.

 

 

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Inventory of Nest #22 on IOP

Sept. 3, 2021

 

Nice cool dry weather and beautiful sunrise for our Inventory of Nest #22 this morning. September can still be hot and sticky here, so we appreciated the temporary change in the weather. We discovered 13 undeveloped eggs, 114 empty shells and only one live hatchling left in the nest today. This was a turtle who has nested 23 times on the IOP and once on Sullivan’s in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021. This season she has laid Nests #3, #7, #16 and #22 on the Isle of Palms. The one hatchling left in the nest after 4 days was released to crawl to the water by Rebecca Kaminski. It had some trouble, was not very strong and required some help to get out into the surf. We wished him Godspeed and safe travels. The hatch success was 85.5%

 

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Inventories of Nest #9 on Sullivan's

August 31, 2021

 

Nest #9 on Sullivan’s made a very good showing at the inventory. We don’t yet have any genetics information on this turtle. Out of 97 eggs, only 4 did not hatch after 56 days of incubation. There were no hatchlings left, dead or alive. That means when we include the genetics sample egg, the hatch success was 94.8%.

 

 

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Inventories of Nest #19 & #20 on IOP

August 30, 2021

 

  

At last we found a leftover hatchling at an inventory – one in each of these nests. Seems like we’ve been having nests lately where EVERY one of them had gone to the water with none to release

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Nest #19 was laid by a turtle who was a first time nester this season with no other nests ever documented. We know she laid Nest #14 at 56th Ave on June 19 and also this nest again at 56th Avenue on July 3. As samples are read, we might find that she laid again in Wild Dunes. The eggs were shallow, only about 6” below the surface but fortunately none were broken. There was only one live hatchling left in the nest today with 2 undeveloped eggs. Hatch Success was 96.7%. The turtle was released by Avery Firestone along with her sister Merritt and her mother Liz who found the tracks the morning after the nest was laid

Nest #20 was laid between Seascape Villas and Summer House on the wide flat beach in Wild Dunes. It was found on the same day July 3 as Nest #19 by Nancy Evans, Penny Gorby and Laura Riley. This was also a shallow nest with eggs only 6” deep. Nesting history for this loggerhead showed that she nested 4 times on Kiawah and Folly in 2012, 5 times on Folly in 2015 and twice so far on the IOP this season, also laying Nest #15 at 24th Ave on June 20. This turtle laid 111 eggs and 15 of them failed to develop and hatch. There was also one remaining hatchling in this nest. Hatch Success here was 85.5% This lone hatchling was released by Nancy and Penny to crawl to the ocean.

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Always a beautiful sunrise

  

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Inventories of Nest #18 on IOP

August 29, 2021

   

Inventory of Nest #18 showed that 121 eggs were laid and 8 did not develop. That means counting the genetics sample it was a 92.5% hatch success after incubating for 55 days. No turtles were left in the nest to be released. This turtle nested twice on the IOP in 2010, then not again until 2017 when she laid 3 times on IOP and once on Folly. So far we know of 2 nests she laid this season on IOP, this one and also Nest #13 laid in Wild Dunes on June 16.

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Inventories of Nest #17 on IOP &

Nest #7 and #8 on SI

August 28, 2021

   

Nest #17 at 5th Avenue did extremely well with a 96% hatch and emergence success. This turtle usually lays around 140 eggs, but this time she only laid 128 in all and all but 4 of them were successful. There were no hatchlings, dead or alive, left in the nest. This turtle has laid 5 nests in 2021 and this was the fourth. After this one she laid Nest #26 at Ocean Point. She has nested 28 times since 2011, all in odd numbered years and most often at the north end of the Isle of Palms.

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Nest #8 on Sullivan’s was the turtle who laid eggs at Station 19, the dividing street between the two patrol sections. This turtle wandered for about 500 yards before finally laying 108 eggs. We now know that this was her first year ever to lay eggs, so maybe she was confused. On June 16 she nested at 22nd Ave on the IOP and then this one on Sullivan’s on June 29, and finally on July 12 she laid Nest #28 in Wild Dunes. So she may have been trying out different locations and learning which was best. Her Sullivan’s nest did well with only 5 undeveloped eggs. There were no hatchlings left in the nest at the inventory. Hatch Success was 94.4%.

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Nest #7 at Station 16 was not relocated. Diane and Jen found her nest up on a dune that will be subject to more scarping with late season storms. So we are relieved that it is hatched and gone before any hurricanes come. This turtle nested for the first time in 2017 on Sullivan’s and then not again until this year which is rather unusual. She also laid Nest #4 at Station 17 on June 14, also found by Diane and Jen. We were happy to have Sebastian Garcia learning from us and his mother Alex at the nest this morning. For no apparent reason that we could see, this one did not do well. There were 128 eggs laid, but only 30 of them hatched with 97 undeveloped plus one taken for genetics research. Here again there were no hatchlings, dead or alive, left in the nest at the inventory. Hatch Success was only 23.4%

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Inventory of Nest #16 on IOP

August 21, 2021

   

Inventory of Nest #16 on IOP August 21, 2021 The inventory of Nest #16 at 31A showed no live hatchlings, 107 empty egg shells, 18 undeveloped eggs and 5 dead hatchlings. Hatch Success was 84.9% and Emergence Success was 80.9%. So it did well. Genetics research project results show that this turtle has nested 24 times on our two islands. She nested in 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 not favoring any area, instead laying eggs all the way from Breach Inlet to Dewees Inlet and once on Sullivan’s Island. She laid this nest when we were swarmed by Gulls in Wild Dunes who wanted the eggs. (See Alfred Hitchcock “THE BIRDS” entry for June 22nd) So far we know about 3 nests in Wild Dunes and one in the pedestrian path at 7th Avenue that she has laid this year  

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Inventories of Nest #6 on Sullivan's

August 22, 2021

   

Nest #6 on Sullivan’s Island did very well. Out of 104 eggs only 4 failed to develop. And when you add in the genetics sample egg, that means there was a 95.1% Hatch Success. There were no hatchlings, live or dead, left in the nest at the inventory. This loggerhead also laid Nests #1 and #3 in this section between the fort and the lighthouse. Genetics results show that she has laid at least 12 nests (and maybe 2 more when all sample results are in) in that same 4 Station part of the beach in 2016, 2019 and 2021. Her nests have been less than 100 eggs every time until this year when two of them so far have been 101 and 104 eggs.

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Inventories of Nests #8, #12 & #15 on IOP

August 17, 2021

  

Very wet Turtle Team (including the photographer)

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The weather this morning depended on your point of view. Looking toward the sunrise the morning looked pleasant. BUT looking towards Sullivan's it was a different story.

 

The sky almost looks black under the layer of clouds.

 

 

 

Today’s inventories were a challenge due to the rain. Although Tropical Storm Fred did not threaten us at all, he certainly caused the high and low pressure systems to collide sending bands of thunderstorms our way. We managed to finish the first two before the rain became heavy and got our results recorded before the lightning threatened. The Turtle Team cannot be defeated by Fred!

Nest #12 between 21st and 22nd Avenue found by Becky and Doug Dale, Michelle Blackstock and Linda Dunne which was not relocated, contained 8 undeveloped eggs and 99 empty shells, no live or dead hatchlings. Hatch success was 91.6%.

After that we did Nest #15 between 23rd and 24th Avenues. This one found by Kathy Kowalchick and Lauri Ashmore was moved higher in the same location. Here we found 85 empty shells, and 22 undeveloped eggs. Some of these were still white and turgid, so we examined them carefully to make sure they did not have late developing turtles in them. None of them did. But we did find two dead and one live hatchling to release. He was lethargic at first but then became very lively and swam away. Hatch success rate 78.7%

Finally we did Nest #8 which is 3 doors south of 25th Avenue and found by Kathy Magruder on June 13. This was the one left in the same spot but we had to remove the eggs from the hole and make it deeper because the turtle overflowed the shallow 10” egg chamber leaving 5 eggs exposed on the surface. By this time the rain starting coming down heavily. There were 16 undeveloped eggs, 3 dead hatchlings and no live ones. Hatch Success here was 85.4%. We were very happy to get off the beach by 7:30 when the thunderstorm got worse.

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Inventories of Nests #11, #14 on IOP

August 15, 2021

  

Nest #14 ...............................................Nest #11

Nest #14 found at 52nd Avenue had a good inventory this morning with only 10 eggs undeveloped out of 87 with an 87.3% hatch success. No live or dead hatchlings were found in the nest. The hatchlings from this nest unfortunately came out sometime on Wednesday night and we believe they followed the crescent moon which was low in the sky toward the south end of the island. From tracing their tracks we saw that dozens of them went straight down the beach following the tire tracks of the police and trash pickup vehicles. Amazingly, they did not crawl into the dunes toward the houses and some of them made it as far as 42nd Avenue during the night before their tracks turned toward the water. This is a 10 BLOCK trek for these tiny reptiles. Perhaps this was because the moon had finally set and stopped drawing them the wrong way. This “misorientation event” was entered into the nesting database and reported to SCDNR. Disorientation is when they go in all directions, not knowing which is the right way. Misorientation is when there is a light source that leads them in a definite direction.

Nest #11 was laid by our Dewees Inlet nester, we believe, who always has 1very large clutches. This nest contained 141 eggs that were moved to a good dune at the 29th Avenue Path. All but 3 of that huge number hatched successfully for a 97.1% hatch success. There were two dead hatchlings in the nest and no live ones to release

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No hatchlings this AM but the next generation of beach patrol got to meet. The Firestone girls and 12 week old "Sullivan" Nesbitt are part of the Saturday Beach Patrol.

  

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Nest #4 on Sullivan's 

Nest #4 was not relocated and was inventoried today after having turtles emerge from it on Thursday. There were 42 empty shells found and unfortunately 83 undeveloped eggs which failed to hatch. No live or dead hatchlings remained. Hatch and emergence success was only 33.3%. Thanks Raye Anne Osborne for taking photos today.

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Inventories of Nests #9, #10 & 13 on IOP

August 14, 2021

  

 

Three very healthy inventories this morning all over 90%. Here are the details.

Nest #9 at 29th Avenue – Out of the 129 eggs laid only 5 failed to hatch and emerge from the sand. So adding in the genetics sample egg. That means a Hatch Success of 94.5%. No hatchlings remained in the nest.

Nest #10 at 29th Avenue – Here we found two healthy hatchlings left in the nest. They were released by Kerrie Scott and her son Caden to crawl to the water. Hatch Success was 91.9%.

Nest #13 at 21st Avenue – This nest had only one hatchling remaining in the nest. It was released by Susan Chagrin and Sue Harris. There were 5 undeveloped eggs for a Hatch Success of 95.1%. We are very happy to have had no problems with our loggerhead nests this far into the season and hope it can continue.

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The "Stars" of today's inventories

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Inventories of Nests #6 & #7 on IOP

August 13, 2021

  

 

 

ONE LITTLE HATCHLING GOT A LOT OF ATTENTION

  

Two more good nests were inventoried this morning.

Nest #6 which was moved higher at 6th Avenue on June 10th when the turtle was seen laying eggs on the beach at 3 am contained 147 eggs. We discovered that 19 of them failed to develop and hatch. We also found one dead hatchling. After incubating for 60 days the hatch success was 86.3% and emergence success was 85%.

Nest #7 contained 139 eggs, was laid the same day and also emerged at 60 days. There were 23 undeveloped eggs, one dead hatchling and one live hatchling which was released to crawl to the water. Hatch success for this one was 82.7% and emergence success was 81.2%.

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Inventories of Nests #3 & #5 on Sullivan's

August 12, 2021

 

Nest #3 at Station 17 contained 88 empty eggshells, 13 unhatched eggs and 18 dead hatchlings. So even though the hatch success was a good 86.2%, only 68.6% actually made it out of the nest. Since there were so many little children there, the Turtle Team was rather discreet about showing the dead turtles to avoid upsetting them. We will probably never know why they died, but sometimes this does happen.

Nest #5 at Station 26 ½ was laid on the top of a very high dune, so the incubation time was around a week shorter because the eggs received so much more heat. Here we found 86 empty shells, 33 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings live or dead. The hatch and emergence percentages were both 71.6%.

Unfortunately the people who came to the inventories were not treated to seeing any hatchlings released to crawl to the water, but there will be nine more inventories on Sullivan’s Island, so there are still good chances of this happening before long.

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Surprise.....Nest #36 on Isle of Palms

August 12, 2021

  

Just when we were sure that our turtles had finished laying new nests for this season Nest #36 was laid last night near 22nd Avenue. Kerrie Scott, Kelly Cobb and Lindsay Schoen were on their last walk for the 2021 season this morning and were surprised to see yet another new nest laid. This one was in the good section for safe incubation and so was not moved. It probably will not hatch until early October. We rarely get new nests after August 1st and now we have two of them. Our June nests are producing several batches of hatchlings almost every night now.

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Nest #35 on Isle of Palms

August 8, 2021

  

 

This morning’s nest was a surprise late nest because sometimes our turtles stop laying at the end of July. It was discovered by Terri Stafford, Lori Nelson and Sissy Harris and Gillian Ellis and her mother, Mary Beth. It was laid between their two sections that meet at 49th Avenue. Since today is Gillian’s birthday, it was a particularly pleasant surprise for her! There were 114 eggs that were relocated to a good dune near 23rd Avenue for incubation.

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All smiles for maybe the last nest of the season

 

 

  

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First DNA results of the season

August 7, 2021

Nest #1 on SI .............................Nest #3 on SI

  

Here’s an interesting PS on today’s inventory of Nest #1 on Sullivan's. The genetics results finally started to come back this afternoon. The turtle who laid today’s inventoried Nest #1 also laid SI Nests #3 (also found by Raye Ann) and #6 (found by Diane Brumley). She nested at the south end of SI five times in 2017 and then not again until this year. She laid 1, 3 and 6 approximately 2 weeks apart in May and June this year, first near Sta 16, then near Sta 17 and a third time between Sta 17 and the Sand Dunes Path. Ironic that Nest #6 which was relocated a few feet from #1 contain siblings with the same mother. #3 was not relocated but is quite close by. It will be interesting to see if she is the mother of more of these many nests in that area as more results come in.

Nest #6 on SI

  

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Inventory of Nest #1 on Sullivan's

August 7, 2021

  

Nest #1 on Sullivan’s Island found by Raye Anne Osborne FINALLY hatched after 71 days of incubation. It had been moved from Station 16 on the low beach where ships in the channel routinely cause waves on the beach to a safe dune closer to the Sand Dunes Club. Cool weather slowed it down. We were expecting to dodge showers this morning and were treated to a beautiful rainbow on Sullivan’s before a light shower did come onshore. Termites had feasted on one of the short backup marker sticks and only one turtle from the nest of 83 was still in the nest to be released by Raye Ann to crawl to the water. There were 13 undeveloped eggs still in the nest making the Hatch Success a very good 83.1%

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Turtles aside, being on the beach in the morning is wonderful

  

  

 

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Inventory of Nest #3 on IOP

August 6, 2021

  

There were no hatchlings left in Nest #3 at 7th Avenue for the inventory this morning. The incoming rain shower held off long enough for us to excavate the nest. This was a surprisingly small clutch of 66 eggs and 11 of them did not develop. We are reporting a Hatch Success of 81.8% with no live turtles found to be released. On a brighter note this was the FIRST inventory that was "catered" on the beach. Mary Paige Tucker Adams and her friend Drew Allen baked some peach goodies to share on the beach.

  

 

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Inventory of Nest #2 on Sullivan's

August 5, 2021

 

 

The inventory of Sullivan’s Nest #2 this morning showed that after 58 days of incubation and turtles emerging during the night on Sunday, that there 102 empty eggshells, 13 unhatched eggs and 4 dead hatchlings, but unfortunately no live turtles to release. Hatch Success on this one was a very respectable 87.1%, so it did well.

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Inventory of Nest #4 & #5 for IOP

August 4, 2021

The tale of two inventories

 

This morning’s inventories were rather surprising. We expected Nest #4 to have been a good success and were worried that Nest #5 did not do as well. It was just the opposite.

Nest #4 contained a rather large number of undeveloped eggs 33 of them in all, three of which had been pierced by roots from the sea oats. There were no hatchlings left in it, dead or alive. The hatch success here was only 64.3%. This was a small clutch of 98 eggs was found near 57th Avenue.

Nest #5 was possibly from the loggerhead who laid eggs in Dewees Inlet at the north end of the island every two weeks during the season. Of the 140 eggs she laid, only 2 of them failed to develop. When we add in the research sample egg, it give us a 97.8% hatch success. There were 12 hatchlings left in the nest. These were examined for maturity and fused plastrons and deemed ready to go after appearing to have been stuck in hard sand and roots three days after the others left. They were released by Linda Thompson with the help of her granddaughter Virginia Reese and scampered to the ocean.

 

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Inventory of Nest #2 for IOP

July 30, 2021

 

 

IOP Nest #2 did very well with only 5 eggs that did not hatch. There were 4 live healthy hatchlings left in the nest three days after the others emerged from the sand. They were released to crawl to the water to the delight of the crowd. Hatch Success was 92.2% and Emergence Success was 87.8%.

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Nest #34 for Isle of Palms

July 30, 2021

 

 

NEST #34 This morning Cindy Teeter, Alice Williams and Eileen Dulany discovered tracks next to the construction site at 600 Ocean Blvd adjacent to the 6th Avenue path. This turtle did an excellent job of climbing up into a perfect spot to lay her eggs. We did not relocate the nest and are hoping for a good crop of hatchlings in mid September.

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Today's Turtle Tracks

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Nest #33, a false crawl, and another Terrapin nest rescue on Sullivan's

July 29, 2021

 

 

Marshall Stith and Jessie Jacobs on Station 22 St. called again today that a Diamondback terrapin was again laying eggs in their pea gravel driveway and they were concerned that it would get crushed by a car. So the Turtle Team was once again had to come to the rescue a nest from harm’s way. If you compare the picture from June 5 to today’s picture, you will see that it was in almost the EXACT spot as before where a milkweed seedling had sprouted. We suspect that this female loves that location. Jessie and Marshall say that a third nest was laid in their yard between these two times and that one is incubating in a spot in a flower bed where oleanders are planted. Marshall was very kind to provide shade on the hottest day of the summer so far!

We once again found a broken egg in the clutch even though we were as careful as possible when hand digging the shallow nest. BUT now that we are participating in the DBT genetics research project at UGA, we were able to save this broken eggshell and submit it with our loggerhead samples next week. Very exciting to be part of this study. Please remember to also report any of these little 6-8” marsh terrapins that you might find washed up on the beach on Sullivan’s or the IOP.

The remaining clutch was relocated to the same empty lot close to the Intracoastal Waterway where Nest #1 was taken and was marked with a tiny triangle of sticks for safety. We even sprinkled some granulated wolf urine on it because coyotes are everywhere. We hope it will hatch successfully in a couple of months

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Nest #33 for Isle of Palms

July 29, 2021

 

NEST #33 for IOP The team led by Maryalice Morro, Wendy Hume and Allen Owens found tracks just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House this morning. Since the eggs were laid on an elevated spot, the nest was left to incubate there. Our turtles are coming to what is usually the end of the egg laying phase and now our focus will soon shift to monitoring for hatching and emergence of tiny hatchlings throughout the next few months.

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Nest #13 for Sullivan's

(That's a nest 3 Days in a Row !!!)

July 26, 2021

 

 

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Nest #13 Amazingly another loggerhead nested last night at Station 18, that’s two nights in a row at the same place. Diane Brumley and Jennifer Gragg were in charge of patrol in that section today. The nest was laid high enough on the beach so that it did not have to be moved, and for this reason we do not know how many eggs were laid. A genetics sample was taken and it was screened. It’s turning out to be a very good year for Sullivan’s. Congratulations!

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Nest #32 for Isle of Palms

July 25, 2021

 

 

Nest #32 for the Isle of Palms: Elizabeth Rast found tracks at 306 Ocean Blvd. where a loggerhead crawled up onto the dune. The dune grasses were broken but there was no defined body pit or thrown sand. The only promising field sign was that the outgoing tracks were so much longer than the incoming ones as the tide receded. We finally found 93 eggs buried down on the flat beach where the dry blowing sand obscured the signs we were searching for. This one would have been easy to miss and was where the police cars patrol – the egg chamber was almost run over. We moved it to a good dune near 23rd Avenue. NOTE: A loggerhead with the same track size was reported on the beach trying to nest earlier in the night while being harassed by a crowd of people. She went back into the water 3 doors south of 6th Avenue, just a couple of blocks from where the eggs were.

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Nest #12 for Sullivan's Island

July 25, 2021

 

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Nest #12 for Sullivan’s Island: Joanne Lingerfelt along with Denny and Jeanne Kraft discovered tracks near the Station 18 Path. There were 104 eggs that were barely above the high tide line. For safety they were relocated to a higher spot at the same location.

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Nest #11 for Sullivan's Island

July 24, 2021

 

An Kelly and her husband Chuck found Nest #11 on Sullivan’s Island this morning. It was laid in between the other two Nests #2 and #5 which were laid in June from Station 26 ½ and 27. The turtle came up and got up onto a small dune to lay her eggs, so we left them where they were laid after taking a genetics sample and screening the nest for the coyotes who have lived near there in previous years.

 

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Nest #1 for IOP Inventoried

July 20, 2021

 

Nest #1 was laid on May 18 and produced hatchlings after 60 days of incubation. It was found near Cedar Creek in Dewees Inlet by Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton, Tristi Lowther and Paige Owens and relocated away from the marsh to Ocean Point. We found 10 unhatched eggs, 137 empty egg shells and 7 live hatchlings who were ready to get into the water. Since there was an outgoing tide, these seven were released into the Inlet and swam away. Hatch Success was 92.5% and Emergence Success was 87.8% since we had to help the last few get out of the nest.

 

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Nest #31 for IOP

July 17, 2021

 

Nest #31: During the night a loggerhead laid eggs at the Boardwalk Inn/Grand Pavilion area of Wild Dunes. It’s amazing to think of her traversing that wide flat beach with so many tourists and hotel guests who are always out on the beach at night. Litter and towels are usually found there in the mornings, especially on weekends. Cannot imagine why she chose that location. Stan Schwab, Liz Firestone and April Nesbitt patrol that section on Saturdays and usually find a new nest and today was no exception. The turtle made what looked like a body pit where the eggs SHOULD have been, but none were found there. Instead they were in a spot up against a sand fence that did not look like a likely place to find them. There were 130 in the clutch and they were relocated to a good dark dune 4 doors south of the 23rd Avenue path for incubation.

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Nest # 1 Emerges in Wild Dunes

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Nest #30 for IOP

July 16, 2021

 

  

Susan Riley Chagrin was on patrol this morning when she and Linda Dunne who was picking up trash spotted tracks near 22nd Avenue. Fortunately this loggerhead chose a good spot above the spring tide line and the eggs did not have to be moved. It was marked and screened and we hope it will produce turtles in September.

  

 

 

 

 

 

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Nest #29 for IOP & #10 for SI

July 15, 2021

 

  

ISLE OF PALMS NEST #29: It’s been a very busy 5 days with 8 more nests laid on our two island along with 12 false crawls. Part of this might be because one loggerhead has false crawled without laying her eggs about 7 times in the last two days on the Isle of Palms. Her track measurements match up every time. Yesterday she crawled up at 6th Avenue, at 510 Ocean Blvd, at 312 Ocean Blvd and also closer to 3rd Avenue without laying eggs, going way up into the dunes and wandering around each time, bypassing so many ideal nesting spots. We were looking for her to return today when there were false crawls near 29th Avenue, at 34th Avenue and also near 38th Avenue, all within an inch or two of the tracks from the day before. However, this time there was also a nest at 37A Access Path matching the others. So we hope she finally succeeded. The ironic thing is that after passing up so many perfect spots in the primary dunes, she ended up laying on the flat beach where the nest would be washed over by late season storms and King Tides.

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Nest #29 was discovered at the 37A Access Path by Jane Powers and Debi Magee on their walk this morning and it contained 86 eggs, a small clutch, and possibly her last of the season. These were taken to a good dune near 34th Avenue for incubation.

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SULLIVAN’S ISLAND NEST #10: The lower section of Sullivan’s was being covered by Jan Booth and Deirdre McMurtry with her dog Scout when Deirdre found tracks near Station 14, just north of Ft. Moultrie, this morning where there was a false crawl yesterday. Perhaps that same turtle returned last night to finish the job? It contained 90 eggs that were relocated to a good dune just south of the Sand Dunes Club.

  

 

 

 

 

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Nest #27 & #28 for IOP !!!

July 12, 2021

 

Nest #27 – Sue Harris was thrilled to find her first nest which was about halfway between 29th and 30th Avenues. This was a normal sized turtle, but the tracks indicated that she was probably missing her left rear flipper claw. Instead of a sharp V mark there was only a dull faint one made by her as she crawled. She laid 84 viable eggs, but there was one conjoined one that was broken and appeared to be very abnormal. It was possibly 4 eggs joined together. We do not use abnormal eggs for our genetics research samples, so it was buried away from the nest since it was broken with yolk coming out of it. The body pit was only a few feet above the high tide line on the flat beach and well below the higher spring tide line. So it was relocated to a proper dune at that same location. Congratulations, Sue!

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NEST #28

 

Nest #28 – Carolyn Eshelman who lives in one of the Ocean Club Villas units at the north end of IOP near Ocean Point reported tracks and a body pit near the northernmost building in that complex. The wind had blown hard overnight and the signs were hard to read, but the Team was able to find a clutch of 116 eggs that were moved down to a dune near Nest #27 between 29th and 30th Avenues..

 

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Nest #23, #24, #25 & #26 for IOP !!!

July 11, 2021

 

A "Threefer" for Gillian and Richard Ellis

 

After taking five days off, our loggerhead nesters laid 4 nests during the night, all in Wild Dunes.

Richard and Gillian Ellis were covering the 49th to POBH section where 3 of the 4 nests were laid. Debbie Mann and her two dogs were also on the beach and saw the 3 nests. All of these were laid close to the high tide line because the turtles did not travel the wide flat beach where there are no dunes for at least a hundred yards.

Nest #23 was 3 houses north of the 56th Avenue Access Path and contained 102 eggs.

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Nest #24 was laid near 55th Avenue and was a smaller clutch of 84 eggs.

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Nest #25 was between the other two and was near the 56th Avenue Access Path where 123 eggs were laid.

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Then Cindy Moore, Diane Troy and Paige Hauff reported two more sets of track at Ocean Point at the north end of Wild Dunes. One was a false crawl below the high tide line. But the other was Nest #26 which we suspect may have been laid by the mother turtle who always lays in Dewees Inlet near there and has over 140 eggs in every clutch. Her tracks matched those of Nests #1 and #5 and #11 laid in May and June. We think she laid her 4th nest on Dewees Island on schedule and this might have been her 5th nest. Even this far into the season, she still laid 140 eggs!

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Since none of these nests were in a suitable spot for incubation, it was a very large task to move all 449 eggs at once to 23rd Avenue, but with Cindy Moore’s help we did. They were all placed on dunes south of the 23 Access Path and screened for safety. We wonder if they will all produce hatchlings at the same time. The beach would be covered.

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Very tired and SANDY Turtle Team !

 

 

 

 

 

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Nest #22 for IOP

July 5, 2021

 

Nest #22 was found by Janis James-Rubin, Sue White and Rebecca and Gene Kaminski near 56th Avenue this morning. There were 128 eggs laid and they were relocated to a good dune at 22nd Avenue close to yesterday’s Nest #21 which was laid there. We have been told by IOPPD that the coyotes whose den was at the 23rd Avenue path and were so evident last year were trapped by a trapper hired by a resident and don’t seem to be there anymore. We looked at the entrance to their den in the thick brush and it does not look as though they are not going in and out of it. The thick brush appears to be growing back over the opening. We were hesitant to relocate nest there this season but now feel much better about putting nests in this area that is perfect for hatchlings to easily find their way to the ocean on their own. And of course it was covered with a protective screen.

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Nest #21 for IOP

July 4, 2021

 

Checking the "field signs"

 

Finding the nest...................

 

A beautiful morning on the beach for the 4th of July holiday. One turtle crawled up at 22nd Avenue and laid her eggs right in the flat area where the police and emergency vehicles travel on their patrols and where tents and the rental beach umbrellas and chairs are set up. Kathy Kowalchick and Wendy Thiel reported the tracks and body pit early which was good so we were able to move the eggs which numbered 112 up on to a good dune at that same location before all of the holiday set up began.

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Happy Fourth of July to all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Our loggerheads certainly didn't take the holiday weekend off. They were hard at work laying eggs last night.

Nest #19 for IOP

July 3, 2021

 

Nest #19 IOP There were tracks very near the 56th Avenue path at Wild Dunes in the section covered by Stan Schwab, April Nesbitt and Liz and Avery Firestone. This nest contained 92 eggs and had to be relocated to a safe spot near 29th Avenue.

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Nest #20 for IOP

July 3, 2021

 

NEST #20 IOP: Nancy Evans, Laura Riley and Penny Gorby reported another set of tracks between Seascape Villas and Summer House in the other Wild Dunes section of patrol. This nest contained 111 eggs. In both of these nests the top eggs were only about 6” below the surface and it was good that none were broken from probing thanks to careful work by the Turtle Team. This nest was placed near Nest 19 at 29th Avenue.

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Both nests had a genetics research sample taken before being relocated.

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Nest #9 for Sullivan's

July 3, 2021

 

SULLIVAN’S ISLAND NEST #9: Paula Brady and Maureen McNichols found tracks close to the Dangerous Currents sign at Fort Moultrie, between Station 14 and 15. After crossing a barrier of washed up logs and wrack sticks and numerous ghost crab holes, this turtle finally laid her 97 eggs in a place full of roots from the dune grasses there. This nest was taken to a good place between Station 17 and the Sand Dunes Club Path for incubation. Congratulations to Maureen on her first nest!

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Necessary Equipment for Turtle Patrol

 

Insulated Cup (Maybe for a morning coffee), Cell Phone and Turtle Team Tee

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Nest #18 for IOP

July 1, 2021

 

This morning tracks were found in the section being covered by Lindsay Schoen and Kerrie Scott. They were right at the path in the middle of the Beachside Community, the individual houses between the Isle of Palms County Park and 21st Avenue. Since the location was suitable, the eggs were left to incubate where they were laid.

 

This morning tracks were found in the section being covered by Lindsay Schoen and Kerrie Scott. They were right at the path in the middle of the Beachside Community, the individual houses between the Isle of Palms County Park and 21st Avenue. Since the location was suitable, the eggs were left to incubate where they were laid.

 

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Nest #8 for Sullivan's

June 29, 2021

 

Before actually probing for the nest, the Turtle Team went for a walk...a long walk to check out the turtles tracks. She wandered and wandered after nesting. I stopped and took two shots. One of the area of the nest and a second of the team following her tracks. She crawled almost .4 of a mile before finding the ocean again. She has to be one tired turtle right now.

 

It was truly a joint effort this morning because a loggerhead laid her eggs at Station 19 St. which is the dividing line between the two sections for walking. Tita Massie was covering the north end with Mark Lowman and Natalie Podnar along with Raye Ann Osborne were walking the south end toward Ft. Moultrie. So everyone met in the middle where a turtle had nested slightly on the southern side of the path and then began a long, long walk up to Station 20 where the elementary school is, wandering behind the dunes several times. Christel went back and walked the turtles track. Her high tech watch logged 650 yards which measures .37 miles she covered getting back into the water. Her V shaped flipper claw marks were odd, making it confusing to see which direction she was headed.

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The nest contained 108 eggs that were down on the flat beach. They were relocated to a suitable dune close to the Sand Dunes Club between Stations 17 and 18.

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And More Track Pictures.

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Nest #17 for IOP

June 28, 2021

 

 

Isle of Palms Nest #17 - The first call came from Jane Solomon telling us there were tracks and a body pit at 410 Ocean Blvd, next door to the 5th Ave. path. She was on patrol with Trisha Hoff and Peggy Klimecki. Christel found the eggs on the first poke of the stick and we marked the nest to incubate on the nice dune where it was laid.

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Nest #7 for Sullivan's

June 28, 2021

 

 

Sullivan’s Island Nest #7 - Then Diane Brumley along with Jenn Gragg and Joanne Staton reported tracks just northeast of the Station 16 Street marker on Sullivan’s Island. Strangely there were two dead horseshoe crabs leading up to the nest which was elevated enough to be left where it was laid.

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Nest #16 for IOP

June 22, 2021

 

The Turtle Team just can’t seem to catch a break from the weather lately. In the past we have referred to the phenomenon of seeing tracks in the wet sand that disappear when they get into the dry sand because of blowing wind as “THE FLYING TURTLE SYNDROME” because it makes it next to impossible to see where the turtle crawled and if and where she laid eggs. These field signs are so important. Sometimes we have found dune grass broken and buried, but other times there is hardly a clue about if she laid or if it is a false crawl. We say that she must have flown back to the water, leaving no tracks at all. Today the wind was howling, sand was blowing and laughing gulls were on the attack! Janine Davis and Ann Thompson found tracks just north of the hotel in Wild Dunes at Seagrove Lane. The tracks were very faint and windblown and the only sign of a body pit or possible nest turned out to be a few faint ripples in the sand. Fortunately that is where the eggs were hidden. Thank you, Janine and Ann for finding the tracks and a possible body pit.

That was the first challenge of the day, but then laughing gulls showed up and wanted to eat the turtle eggs. Shawn was trying to use the one egg that was found broken in the clutch for the genetics sample. We often find eggs cut open from dropping against the sharp seashells in that sand. An aggressive and persistent laughing gull, who was attacking her, managed to steal and eat the yolk and albumen for breakfast, but at least she was able to save the eggshell which is where the DNA is found and put it in the vial of alcohol. The other gulls were hungrily eyeing the bucket full of eggs. So they had to be quickly hidden under a towel. There were 126 eggs laid and they were relocated to an actual dune near the 31A Access Path farther south.

 

 

 

 

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Nest #6 for Sullivan's

June 21, 2021

Challenging is the word for today’s nest. We believe that last night’s loggerhead false crawled on Saturday night making long tracks on the beach all the way from the Station 17 “jungle path” marker halfway to the Sand Dunes Club path. She encountered some very sharp yucca plants where she went up onto the dune and did not lay eggs. This morning Diane Brumley and her friend Joanne Staton found two sets of tracks near there again that measured exactly the same between rear flipper claw marks and matched the tracks at the yucca plants the night before. The first crawl was not far south of the Sand Dunes Path. She wandered quite a way on a suitable dune line but no body pit or other sign of a nest was found. However, Diane deserves enormous credit for spotting another crawl not far north of what we call the “goal post” or Dangerous Current sign at Fort Moultrie. There were no tracks down on the beach, only a pushed down spot where she climbed up the scarped dune line which led to some rather hard to see tracks in the heavy brush and dune grasses. Again, there was no discernable body pit or thrown sand that we look for at a nest, BUT we found one spot where a lot of damaged sea oats and other grasses & plants were lying on the ground. At first it looked like they were just mashed down & not broken, but we kept pulling at this clump and cleared it away. That was where we probed and found 104 eggs! The challenge was not only for Diane to find that set of tracks but then for us to find any eggs. We are proud that the Turtle Team rose to the occasion in both ways. The eggs were moved to a much better spot near Nest #1 just south of the Sand Dunes Club where we wish she had laid Nest #6 in the first place.

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Nest #15 for IOP

June 20, 2021

Another nest in this very good section for turtles with good dunes. But last night’s loggerhead failed to get up off the flat beach for her eggs which had to be relocated higher. Kathy Kowalchick and Lauri Ashmore covered this part of the beach when Kathy spotted tracks near the 23rd Avenue Access Path. The Team had a very cute helper, Sam Gobien, who is 5 years old and Barb’s grandson visiting from Colorado. There were 108 eggs in the nest, but one was found broken and used for the genetics sample.

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This turtle crawled better than a 150 yards trying to nest and return to the ocean

 

 

 

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Nest #14 for IOP

June 19, 2021

Stan Schwab, Liz Firestone, her daughter Avery and April Nesbitt covered this Wild Dunes section today and Stan was first to find the tracks near 52nd Avenue. It contained 87 eggs which were moved a little higher to a newly forming dune between 52nd and 53rd Avenues to incubate. Avery helped count the eggs when the nest was relocated and kept the genetics egg safe for the Turtle Team. This is Nest #14 for the Isle of Palms. So far 8 out of our 14 nests so far have been in Wild Dunes.

 

 

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Nest #13 for IOP

June 16, 2021

 

Gina McQuilken was walking the north end with her son Sean. They spotted a nest just south of the Wild Dunes Property Owners’ Beach House. It was on the wide flat beach and contained 123 eggs which were Nest #13 and relocated to the perfect dune not very far from Nest #12 near 21st Avenue.

And there were four more places on the beach where loggerheads came ashore during the night but did not lay eggs. These “false crawls” were at 25th Avenue, Access Path 33A, between 43rd and 44th Avenues and at 57th Avenue. They were reported by Doug and Becky Dale, Sissy Harris, Barbara Jervey and Aelecia Rideout. These were all measured and documented for the sea turtle database.

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Nest #12 for IOP

June 16, 2021

It was a beautiful morning on the beach. Doug and Becky Dale along with Michelle Blackstock and Linda Dunne found two sets of tracks. There was a false crawl low on the beach near 25th Avenue and then there was a nest in the middle of the 2100 block. This turtle could not have found a more perfect spot to lay her eggs. It was up on an elevated and level plateau of sand and the eggs were left there to incubate after we took our genetics sample. This is Nest #12.

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Huge Day for the Turtle Team

June 15, 2021

It was an unbelievable night for our loggerheads with turtles laying nests near Station 26 ½ on Sullivan’s, in the 100 block and 700 block of Ocean Blvd and in Dewees Inlet as well as false crawls at Station 20, 30th Avenue and Ocean Point. Our two islands have been getting about 3 nests a week but this was an avalanche with 4 in one night!

First there were two nests found in the section that was patrolled by Jodie Morgan this morning. The first was near the 1B path and was on the flat washed over part of the beach near Breach Inlet. We relocated 129 eggs to a suitable dune at 29th Avenue. Then another nest was found at the 7A Path which contained 87 eggs. This nest also had to be moved off the flat beach to an elevated dune, so it was taken to the same area at 29th Avenue to incubate.

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Nest #9 IOP

 

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Nest #10 IOP

 

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The third IOP nest of the morning was reported by Patti Horton, Cindy Bergstrom and Tristi Lowther on the Cedar Creek Spit in the Ocean Point area of Dewees Inlet. This was likely the turtle who nests every two weeks in Dewees Inlet because she was due back for her 3rd nest. She always lays an extra large clutch and she did it again with 141 eggs. These were taken to incubate with the other two nests at 29th Avenue. These are nests #’s 9, 10 and 11 for the Isle of Palms.  

Nest #11 IOP

 

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Meanwhile on Sullivan’s Island Mark and Carol Lowman found a false crawl near the elementary school at Station 20 and also a nest on a nice dune near Station 26 ½. This is nest #5 for Sullivan’s and it did not need to be relocated. So it was marked and screened. 

Nest #5 Sullivan's Island

 

 

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Another Nest For Today

A Terrapin Rescue

 

Thomas Andrews lives on Cove Avenue on Sullivan’s island and saw a female Diamond Back terrapin laying eggs up against his truck tire. What could go wrong here, you ask?? The eight inch turtle chose the right of way on the street where cars and trucks park to dig her egg chamber and lay seven oval eggs, each about 1 1/4 inches long. Thomas carefully backed up the truck and called the Turtle Team for help. We were able to carefully dig them out with our fingers and put them in a bucket. His yard had a nice sheltered spot on the marsh where the eggs, which incubate 60-85 days, will not be run over by vehicles. He had written a “turtle nest caution” warning on an orange cone which we put over the nest for now to protect it from raccoons and other digging predators. But Thomas plans to remove it the beginning of August so the tiny hatchlings can get out and crawl to the marsh. We are getting rather well practiced at saving marsh terrapin eggs and we appreciate Thomas’s care of the terrapins.

 

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Nest #4 for Sullivan's

June 14, 2021

 

 

This morning Jenn Gragg and Diane Brumley along with their friend Joanne Staton found tracks about 100 feet south of the Jungle Path at Station 17. This turtle found a small dune and laid her eggs and then made a zigzag and circular path going back out. Perhaps someone was on the beach and scared her as she returned to the ocean. We marked the nest to incubate in situ and screened it. Then about 100 feet south of this nest they found a false crawl that was made earlier in the night, perhaps by the same turtle, that was below the high tide line.

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Nest #8 for IOP

June 13, 2021

 

 

Heavy rain overnight and at the time of patrol this morning caused problems. First Terri Stafford reported an obvious false crawl turnaround near 35th Avenue. But then there were two unreported sets of tracks that we found out about later in the morning just south of 30th and 25th Avenues. Debbie Faires, a resident at 30th and Palm, called about tracks near 30th and here there was a very small disturbed area in the dunes, but the rain had washed away the flipper claw marks and the important field sign of “thrown sand” after the eggs are laid. We probed this area extensively several times and could not find eggs, but did leave a plain stick there asking volunteers to check this spot for signs of hatchling emergence between August 5th and 12th. We are hoping this turtle then laid eggs at 25th Ave after trying unsuccessfully at 35th and then at 30th before working her way down to 25th.

While we were at 30th, Kathy Magruder, Turtle Team member who patrols on Tuesday in this section, called about tracks and eggs on the surface just south of 25th Avenue. The police were there as well. Here we found 5 whole and 1 broken egg on the surface of the sand. This was strange because 4 of them were up on the primary dune where there appeared to be a body pit and the 5th egg was halfway down toward the ocean where there appeared to be another body pit. We know that loggerheads do not split there clutches of eggs, so we wondered if she perhaps tried to nest first down closer to the water where the one egg was and then crawled up onto the dune to lay the rest of the clutch. When the eggs were found on the primary dune, they were mostly right at the surface. We removed the eggs from the hole and were surprised to discover than instead of 20-24” in depth she had made the egg chamber only about 9-10” deep which is normally the depth of the TOP egg, not the bottom of the hole she dug. This may indicate that she was missing part or all of one of her rear flippers which are used for digging and this was probably why there were eggs on the surface which is not normal. In addition to the 5 whole eggs, there was one that was broken on the surface which was used as our genetics sample. The egg chamber was then dug to the proper depth and width and 123 of them were put back into it, protected with a screen and marked with a sign. They were left in the original spot where they were laid minus the one broken one for a total of 124.

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Two Nests for IOP

June 10, 2021

Nest #6 for IOP

June 10, 2021

 

 

It was a busy night for loggerheads on the Isle of Palms. Officer Jonathan Ayer called around 3 am that a turtle was laying eggs at 6th Avenue. Unfortunately she overflowed the egg chamber she had dug. We saw her breaking eggs on the surface but managed to save five more before she could break them and they were added to the rest of the clutch making 143 whole ones which were moved off the flat flood prone part of the beach up onto a dune just south of the 6th Avenue path. She was measured and scanned for an internal PIT tag or chip and she did not have any flipper tags. We used one of the 4 broken eggs for our genetics sample. Ed Peyser, Annie Vola and Barney Cooper were on patrol this morning when Ed was the first to discover the tracks. They measured 22”, exactly the same as the loggerhead who laid Nest #3 a block away at the 7th Avenue path 14 days earlier. The genetics sample will tell us if we are correct in thinking she was returning to lay her second set of eggs.

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Nest #7 for IOP

June 10, 2021

 

 

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MEANWHILE up in Wild Dunes Deborah Johnson reported what turned out to be a false crawl near the Property Owners’ Beach House. This was a larger turtle, measuring approximately 27” between rear flipper claw marks. Then Maryalice Morro and Allen Owens along with Bryan Stevens and Steve Rogers discovered tracks at the Shipwatch buildings where there is a wide flat renourished beach. This turtle was exactly the same size as the false crawl tracks Deborah found. So we believe she first tried to nest there and then succeeded at Shipwatch later in the night. Thanks to Allen, Bryan and Steve the umbrella and chair guys did not set up on top of the tracks while they were waiting for us to respond coming from Nest #6. The turtle barely missed falling into a deep hole someone dug and left on the beach before she came to the nest site. We had a hard time locating the eggs because she crawled back out over her body pit, obliterating the field signs we use to find the eggs. Mary found a good soft spot only to pull a large ghost crab out of the hole. But finally we were able to find where the 139 eggs were buried. They were taken to the good dune just south of 6th Avenue and tucked in not very far from Nest #6 also laid last night.

 

  

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Nest #3 for Sullivan's

June 8, 2021

 

 

 

Exactly 2 weeks ago Raye Ann Osborne found tracks between Station 16 and 17. Last night we believe the same nesting loggerhead came ashore again just southwest of Station 17 again and laid eggs. Her track measurements were exactly the same and she was due to lay again. So Raye Ann and Natalie found more tracks which led to Nest #3. This time the turtle found her way to a suitable dune and laid her eggs, so we did not have to move them. She tore up and buried a good amount of sea oats in the process. We did not put X’s on the tracks this time because they lead right to the marked nest. Look for an article in the Moultrie News possibly next week on the 15th because reporter Kenna Coe was with us covering the story.

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Turtle Team's Work is Never Done !

Another Nest for Sullivan's....Sort of

June 5, 2021

 

This morning we responded to a call that turtle eggs were laid in a driveway on Station 22 St. This was several doors from the marsh and the mother of these eggs was a marsh terrapin or Diamond Back Terrapin. Naturally they were in danger of having cars drive over them and being crushed. The residents of the house were Marshall Stith and Jessie Jacobs. As you may know, Marshall is a former mayor of Sullivan’s Island and the brother of Anthony Stith the current long time fire chief who is always eager to help our Turtle Team in any way. They saw the terrapin come into their rocky driveway, dig a hole and lay her eggs. We found 5 eggs buried under the rocks of the Stith’s driveway with several more broken in the bottom of the nest under the whole ones. We relocated these in an empty lot closer to the marsh where we hope they will hatch and find their way to the marsh.

 

Diamond Back Terrapins live in brackish water and have salt glands in their heads as do sea turtles and some sea birds to rid themselves of excess salt from the water they drink. Females are slightly larger than males at about 8” as opposed to males who are more likely to be around 6”. They can live 25 to 40 years and are studied by scientists here in the Charleston area. Their population is threated by development and destruction of their habitat. Their eggs can incubate 60-85 days depending on the temperature.

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Nest #2 for Sullivan's

June 4, 2021

 

In spite of the rainy weather overnight Terri George and Richard Hanf found long tracks near Station 26 ½ this morning. This loggerhead crawled a long way before she hit the scarped primary dune. Signs were not so good that she laid eggs, but the egg chamber was found at the foot of the scarp. She laid 117 eggs. It appeared that she may have overflowed the egg chamber and pushed two eggs away from it in the sand as she covered. One of these was broken and was used for the required genetics sample. Because of the location, the nest was moved a little toward the Station 26 ½ path and screened since coyotes live near there. Congratulations Terri on finding your first nest!

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For those of you who are new, when we say a dune is “scarped” it is an abbreviation for the word “escarpment.” This means the tide has eroded it and caused a steep drop-off to form. That caused the turtle trouble last night when she was trying to crawl up onto the primary dune. DNR Guidelines say not to leave a nest at the foot of a scarped dune because it is obvious that if the tide has come up that far before, then it is likely to flood again whether in a storm or even a King Tide and could destroy the nest during incubation. That is why we had to move Nest #2 to a nearby location on a better dune. When it is close to hatching, we might have to put some black lawn edging behind the nest to keep the hatchlings from crawling back behind the dune and getting disoriented. They often follow the glow of the sky behind the island from the Charleston metro area even if there are not any lights visible from houses or streetlights

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A bit of sunshine while Barb Gobien measures the tracks.

 

 

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Nest #4 & #5 for IOP

June 2, 2021

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Nest #4 for IOP

 

 

Nest #4: The first set of tracks of the day was found by - Linda Thompson, Bev Miller, Debbie Mann, Cindy Keane and Linda Conrad - at 57th Avenue and contained 98 eggs. It was laid on the wide flat area with no dunes, so it was relocated to a good spot near the 31A path for incubation.

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Nest #5 for IOP

Gina and Doug McQuilken reported tracks out on the Cedar Creek spit in Dewees Inlet. It appeared likely from the tracks that the same loggerhead came up where there were no dunes near the creek mouth and did a false crawl before the tide was high. But later she tried again successfully where the Seagrass Lane boardwalk comes across the marsh out into the inlet. She laid a large clutch of 140 eggs up against a clump of sea oats. These were put next to Nest #4 at 31A. Nest #1was laid 15 days ago at the same place as today’s Nest #5 and the tracks were the same size. It will be interesting to see if her DNA sample shows she is the same girl  

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We got a space prepared for Nest #5 and waited for the team to bring the eggs from the very end of the island

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Nest #3 for IOP

May 27, 2021

This morning Ellen Gower and Annie & Dan Vola were on patrol from Breach Inlet to 9th Avenue when Ellen found tracks at the 7th Avenue Access Path. This turtle was seen laying her eggs around midnight but fortunately no one disturbed her or scared her away. She crawled a very long way and made it up onto the dune not far from the middle of where the path enters the beach, but we decided to leave the nest where it was laid, just south of the center. Beachgoers will have to be mindful of the sign triangle that marks the nest when they come out onto the dune. We took a genetics sample but do not know the number of eggs that will likely hatch the at the end of July. Ellen always seems to find the first nest of the season at the south end!

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Fantastic morning on the beach....you don't often get both the sun and the moon

 

 

 

 

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Nest #1 for Sullivan's Island

May 25, 2021

Sullivan’s Island has its first nest of the season! In many seasons they don’t get their first nest until after June 1, so this is a good sign. Last night a loggerhead laid 83 eggs on the beach northeast of the Station 16 Path. Raye Ann Osborne was on patrol and discovered beautiful tracks in this area which is often washed over by waves from ships in the channel which is close to shore there and also affected by King Tides. The eggs were in an illogical spot and hard to find but were discovered and moved to a better dune which is southwest of the Sand Dunes Club Path not far away for safe incubation. The nest was also screened for protection from coyotes.

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Nest #2 for IOP

May 23, 2021

 

Diane Troy and Paige Hauff found loggerhead tracks on the beach in Wild Dunes at the Summer House Condos this morning. They were laid on the very wide flat renourished area that is subject to washovers and the body pit was not distinct. A depressed area nearby looked like something beachgoers could have made. Christel read the field signs and found 129 eggs under a slight mound a few feet away. The nest was taken to a proper dune just north of the 31A path for safe incubation.

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First Nest of Season for IOP !

May 18, 2021

A loggerhead laid 148 eggs all the way into Dewees Inlet at Cedar Creek last night to begin the 2021 Nesting Season. Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton, Tristi Lowther and Paige Owens found the tracks which led to this nest on a narrow spit of land with the surf on one side and the creek right behind it. If the hatchlings had followed the sky glow that is always prominent, they would have ended up in the marsh and the creek. The eggs were relocated nearby to Ocean Point about 4 doors south of the boardwalk there near the 18th tee of the Links Golf Course in Wild Dunes. It was screened for protection and we hope it will produce lots of hatchlings in late July.

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ALMOST.....

Gillian Ellis reported the first tracks of the 2021 season just north of the Boardwalk Inn at Grand Pavilion in Wild Dunes this morning. Unfortunately this loggerhead crawled up and turned around below the high tide line down on the wet beach without laying any eggs. But this is the first loggerhead to come onshore here this year and we expect a nest at any time. If you check www.seaturtle.org under RESOURCES and choose NESTING and then SOUTH CAROLINA, you can see a total of SC nests and also a chart showing where these nests have been laid. You don’t even have to have an account with them or Sign In to do this. As of this morning 29 nests have been laid in SC and 75 False Crawls have been reported, including ours. So you can see that false crawls are more numerous than nests. This is normal, but we are hoping that the next turtle will leave some eggs on Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island