Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island

Contact Us

__________________________________________________________________________

 

The Season is over...See you in May

 

 

==================================================================================

Last Nest #42 on IOP Inventoried

 

 

Inventory of Nest #43 at 30th Avenue, our final one of the season, took place at dawn this morning after 75 days of incubation and no hatchlings emerging during that time. We found all of the eggs still in the nest with almost 25 percent of them containing embryos that died late in development from an unknown cause. This was a rather sad way to end the 2022 season which turned out to be strange in other ways as well, but occasionally this happens. Hatch and emergence success were both 0%.

===========================================================================================

Nest #42 on IOP Inventoried

 

 

 

What an odd week itís been with hurricane Ian and then winterlike temperatures. Nest #42 incubated for 55 days and turtles were seen coming out of it on Saturday morning after Ian came through on Friday. Fortunately the wind was circulating around the storm and coming from the back of the island when high tide and storm surge happened this time just as it did last season with hurricane Isaias meaning there was very little erosion damage on the Isle of Palms and no nests were lost with only the last two remaining in the sand at 30th Avenue.

.... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

.... 

Itís strange to have 50 degree weather overnight this early in October. These loggerheads are cold blooded reptiles, so their body temperatures are the same as the air around them. They do not function well when the temperature is in the 50ís. The turtles were slow and lethargic on the beach on Saturday but did better when they got to the water which is still warmer than the air. One was washed back near the pier after floating 16 blocks for hours and having to be rescued on the beach there. He is being warmed to be released again.

 

The nest did well. It only had 68 eggs laid since it was a late season August nest. We found only 5 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling with 62 empty eggshells. Ann Evans and Terri Stafford released this one hatchling who spent a few minutes on a hand warmer in a small bucket to give him a better chance. Hatch Success was 91.1%.

 

 

=============================================================================

Getting Ready for Hurricane Ian

   

After the inventory some of us went to 30th Avenue where the last two nests of the season were relocated on August 7. Here we put 4í tall stakes up in the dunes 10í from the egg chambers of Nests #42 and #43. We also removed the plastic screens and stakes at SCDNRís request so they would not litter the beach or ocean if the tide takes them away. We are hoping that Fridayís storm surge will not come at the time of the over 8 foot high tide and that the dune there will not wash away. Those final two nests are very close to emergence.

   

=================================================================

Nest #41 Inventoried on IOP

   

   

Nest #41 at Beach Club Villas had hatchings come out Sunday night. It contained 93 eggs that were laid low on the beach at that location on August 2. Today we found 71 empty eggshells, 45 dead hatchlings and 7 live hatchlings still in the nest. Sue White released these to crawl to the water. The Firestone and Naylor children were happy to see the seven healthy ones crawl into the wind whipped ocean prior to the arrival of Hurricane Ian. It was a chilly and windy morning, and the water was warmer than the air, making it a better temperature for the little turtles. Hatch success was 76.3%, but only 20.4% made it out of the nest. We do not know why so many died in the nest after hatching.

.... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

...... 

=====================================================================

Nest #38 Inventoried on IOP

   

   

When we inventoried Nest #38 on the Isle of Palms this morning, we found 61 empty eggshells and 63 undeveloped eggs. Avery Firestone got permission to be late to her class at Sullivan's Island Elementary School in order to be at the inventory of this nest that she and her mother found on July 23rd at 56th Avenue near the hotel in Wild Dunes. There were no hatchlings left in the nest dead or alive. Hatch success was 48.8%. Because ghost crabs had preyed upon the hatchlings as they came out of this nest three nights ago, we put nine PVC pipe ghost crab traps around the two remaining nests that are at that location and still unhatched. We will remove traps when the time comes for those two final nests to hatch and hope to catch some of the crabs before that time. 

..... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

...... 

====================================================================

Inventories of Nests #39 and #40 in Wild Dunes

Nest #39 incubated for 53 days. This morning we found 84 empty eggshells from turtles who made it to the ocean three days ago. There were also 37 eggs which failed to develop and two hatchlings who had just come out of their shells and were weak and not ready to make the migration. Because of our SCDNR Guidelines, they were reburied so they could gain their full strength before coming out of the nest. Hatch Success was 67.7%.

Nest #40 incubated for 53 days and produced turtles four days ago. This was a small clutch of 74 eggs. We found 70 empty eggshells and three undeveloped eggs. Sadly, there were also 36 dead hatchlings who had died from an unknown cause after hatching. For this reason Hatch Success was 94.5%, but Emergence Success was only 49.9%.  

..... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge  

===========================================================================

Nest #35 Inventoried

  

Just as we suspected, two of the 3 relocated egg hatched and turtles emerged and one did not develop in this nest that was depredated by coyotes when it was laid on July 14. Since only two of them were doing all the digging, it took 60 days for them to incubate and emerge even though the eggs were not buried as deeply as we would have done for a full clutch. For Because of this coyote damage, the hatch success was only 3.2 percent. 

==================================================================================

Last Inventory for Sullivan's Island #13

  

Nest #13 on Sullivan's Island ended the season of nests on this island with a very strange inventory. This nest was found by Cyndy Ewing near the elementary school. We searched quite a way before finding a low dune that we thought was suitable to relocate the 102 eggs off the flat beach where the nest would have flooded many times. After 53 days, we saw an emergence crater despite the rainy weather. For the last week, the heavy rain along with flooding full moon high tides and strong wind pushing waves onshore has caused water to flood the beach on all sides of this low dune. We discovered multiple roots that had surrounded the eggs and trapped dozens of hatchlings in the nest. The ground water had risen into the bottom of the egg chamber apparently drowning 8 hatchlings. Each of the live hatchlings, who were energetic and needing to get out of this perilous situation, was carefully examined to make sure there were no signs that any of them would be lacking the full strength it would take to begin their ocean migration. They were released as they came out of the nest and swam away. Hatch success was 90.1%. Many thanks to all Sullivan's Island Turtle Team members who did so much hard work to make the nests there, including this final one, so successful.

 

....... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

=========================================================================

Two More Inventories on IOP Nest #36 and #37

  

Nest #36 was inventoried this morning after it boiled in the wee hours on Sept 9. It incubated for 56 days and 24 undeveloped eggs were found along with one dead hatchling and no live ones to release. Hatch success for the 96 eggs that were laid was 73.9

At Nest #37 we found that this loggerhead who climbed up on a nice dune at Jeff & Susan Jacob's house had laid a total of 95 eggs & the nest incubated for 53 days. Only 8 (plus our DNA sample egg) failed to develop. Hatch success was a very good 90.5%. We did not find any hatchlings left in this nest that produced turtles four nights ago. Many thanks to all of you who helped with the nests in this south end of the island this season. We are happy that they were all successful and we did not have any hurricanes to deal with even though we have passed the peak of the season !

...... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

 

================================================================================

Two Inventories on IOP Nest #33 and #34

 

Two Inventories were performed at 36A this morning after we could not do them yesterday.

Nest #33 which was laid on July 11 had 5 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling left in the nest for a 91.4% hatch success. The hatchling was released to crawl to the water by Aidan Griffin and Meagan Puryear from Denver, Colorado.

Nest #34 was found at Ocean Point in Wild Dunes the next day after Nest 33 on July 12 but was partially destroyed by coyotes the night it was laid. Clutch count was 105 but only 40 eggs were unbroken and relocated to this spot. We found that 22 of those had hatched and left the nest and 18 did not develop. This brought the hatch and emergence success down to 20.9%. There were no hatchlings left in the nest at the inventory.

...... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

....

 

 

 

 

==========================================================================

Two Inventories on Sullivan's Nest #11 and #12

 

After being rained out yesterday, we were able to inventory the two nests near the Sand Dunes Club on Sullivan's today. During the night the 8' high tide from the almost full moon and the strong east wind washed wrack onto Nest #11 that was close to the edge of the dune. But it was not damaged.

Nest #11 was laid on July 9 and it was decided to leave it where it was laid. We hoped that it was not a too precarious spot and it would survive. It incubated for a long 59 days before the turtles came out of it. We counted an even 100 empty eggshells and 25 undeveloped eggs. We also found one live hatchling who was apparently stuck on the wall of the nest chamber hole. This hatchling was released by Turtle Team member, Janet Kennedy and only had a few feet to crawl to the ocean since the tide was up almost to the nest. Hatch success was 79.3%.

Nest #12 was laid one day after #11 at Station 28 1/2 in a scarped and washed over area and needed relocation. So, 117 eggs were brought to a dune near Nest #11 to incubate which it did for 54 days. A large crab hole was found going into the egg chamber at the inventory, but fortunately the crab was gone. We found 7 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings. Hatch success was 93.1% on this one.

...... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

...

 

 

 

 

=========================================================================

Inventory of Nest #32 on IOP Inventoried

 

Nest #32 which was laid at Seagrove in Wild Dunes and moved to the 30A path had NO undeveloped eggs when we did the inventory this morning. It was laid on July 8 when we found one broken egg deep in the clutch of 123 eggs. We used the broken one for our genetics sample and every one of the 122 remaining eggs developed and hatched successfully. We knew it was a good "boil" of turtles when we saw a beautiful sight of over a hundred tiny tracks there on Wednesday morning. It would have been 100% except for that one egg. Hatch Success was 99.1%

++++++++++++++

Although there were no hatchlings left in the nest to release, there was one left from Nest #27 nearby which was inventoried ten days ago and several hatchlings were found that were too immature to release at that time. When this happens, DNR Guidelines say to put them back in the nest and check after 5 days. But this turtle, who was just pipping out of its shell and had a curved over shell on August 24, was still there and still alive after twice that amount of time despite our checking on him 5 days ago. The other 4 were gone. It was released by Debbie Kurtz, Nicki Rambeau and Louise Martin who found todayís inventoried Nest #32.

...... 

CLICK on thumbnails to enlarge 

...

 

 

====================================

===========================================

===============================================

======================================================

================================================