Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island

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Nest #8 for IOP

June 19, 2018

 

Things seem to be picking up a little with 4 nests in the last 4 days for us. Ellen Thomas and Ellen Gower and their dogs found tracks one door south of the 2A Path at 206 Ocean Blvd. this morning where a turtle had nested early in the night before the high tide around 1 am. Itís possible that this is the same turtle who laid Nest #5 two weeks ago at 8th Avenue, also on Ellenís day to patrol. We did not move the eggs since they were above the spring tide line and expect hatchlings there in mid August.

 

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Busy Morning for Turtle Team

June 18, 2018

Nest #2 for Sullivan's Island

 

Quite a big night for our mother loggerheads. One laid eggs at Station 16 on Sullivanís Island for our second nest there. Bob and Laurie Snyder found the tracks this morning. There were 124 eggs that were moved higher out of the flat washover area to a safe spot.

 

 

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Nest #7 for IOP

 

.And another nest which was #7 was found by those on patrol at the south end of the Isle of Palms. Peggy Klimecki was out for her very first patrol along with Trisha Hoff, Elaine Schupp and Aubrey Schmidt when they found tracks at the 5A path. Mary, Tee & Jo probed the body pit three times and could not find the eggs in the hard sand of the artificial berm created after Hurricane Irma. But then fortunately Barb Gobien came and saved the day by finding the eggs at last. Great job! This nest was not moved and was left to incubate where it was laid,  

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Barb Gobien Saves the Day !!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nest #6 for IOP

June 16, 2018

 

We think that the loggerhead who laid Nests #1 and #4 may have come back and made a false crawl at the Property Ownersí Beach House in Wild Dunes and then nested at Access Path 34A during the night. We cannot be sure, but the track measurements and the timing of the nesting intervals are all pretty close. Itís sad that we have so few nesting females this year that we might be able to identify each one approximately every two weeks.

Judy Ewing, Sis Nunnally, Aelecia Rideout, and Rita Oden were on their Saturday morning patrol with their significant others and their canine companions after seeing coyotes behind the dunes in that area. In fact one coyote watched us from a distance relocate the eggs. Just to be on the safe side we treated the new nest location with wolf urine to discourage them even though our scent was all over the relocated nest instead of the mother turtleís scent. The nest contained 144 eggs plus one small yolkless egg and was laid in a spot where the water would wash over it many times. So it was moved to a proper dune at that same location

 

 

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Program for IOP Rec Dept.

June 12, 2018

 

There were no new nests this morning. Well actually no new REAL nests. The Turtle Team put on a program for the Isle of Palms Rec Dept. summer camp. The team was out on the beach "creating" three faux nests complete with tracks. After they were completed we returned to the Rec to teach the campers about sea turtles and nesting on the IOP as well as the dangers the turtles face. Once everyone got a chance to see how they measured up to local turtles, the kids walked to the beach to experience what the Turtle Team does when they find turtle tracks on the beach. The kids tried "probing" for the eggs and once the clutch was located they carefully placed them in one of our red buckets and moved the nest to a safe place in the dunes. Everyone had a great time and we managed to complete the program before the rain arrived.

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Nest #5 for IOP

June 5, 2018

Nest #5 was discovered by Jackie Taylor and her dog Sulley not far from 8th Avenue while Jackie and Ellen Thomas patrolled the south end of the Isle of Palms this morning. Tee found the nest on the very first probe of the stick, but a ghost crab was in the nest. Ellenís dog Arianna bit the crab and then ate it for a seafood breakfast! We are guessing from the timing and the size of the turtle that this is the same loggerhead who laid Nest #2 at 38th Avenue two weeks ago. Her clutch of eggs was quite large, numbering 140. The turtles are tending not to crawl up onto the artificial berm created after Hurricane Irma but instead to lay nests at the base of the berm in the flat part of the beach that floods. So it was relocated to 28th Avenue where there was a better spot for the hatchlings to survive. While relocating the nest, Christel Cothran was showing off the new turtle tattoo that she got last night!

 

 

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Nest #4 for IOP

June 3, 2018

A loggerhead layed 129 eggs at the 4A path last night. Jenn Connell discovered the tracks that appeared to be made by a small nesting female. However, they were in the flat washover area of the beach where they would have been flooded and the newly bulldozed dune is not ideal for incubation. Denny Vrooman and his black dog Charlie and puppy Sadie along with Jim Barnhart with his dog Maggie were there. Since the eggs had to be relocated to a more elevated location, it was decided to move them to an ideal spot at the 26A Access Path  

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Same Bucket.. 

 

 

 

 

 

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LEATHERBACK NEST #3 on IOP

May 29, 2018

Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Tristi Lowther were very surprised to find turtle tracks that were almost 6 feet wide and went in circles at Ocean Club Villas this morning. Gayle Woodward soon joined them. The new sand pumped in from offshore was very coarse with sharp seashells in it, but she managed to excavate an egg chamber and lay 94 yolked eggs and several dozen smaller unyolked ďspacerĒ eggs that are not viable. Those eggs range from marble sized to loggerhead turtle size. Two of the large cue ball sized yolked eggs were found down in the clutch cut open (most likely by the sharp seashells) but 92 of them, along with the spacer eggs which leatherbacks always lay, were moved out of the flat washover part of the beach to a good nearby dune along the 18th fairway near the Ocean Point houses. These two broken eggs were used for our DNA research project now in its 9th year.

Needless to say, we were over the moon, so thrilled to finally have a giant leatherback choose our beach for nesting during her northward migration in the Atlantic Ocean. Incubation might take 65 days or more..

 

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And a few more pictures....

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Nest #1 for Sullivan's

May 27, 2018

 

This morning Amy McMarlin and her dog Sugar found tracks at the far north end of Sullivanís Island just before the first rocky groin. The turtle crawled and hit up against the sandbags but laid there in front of the blue and pink house just south of Station 29 in a very flood prone spot. Christel Cothran probed and found her very first clutch of eggs after analyzing the field signs. The turtle laid 110 eggs in all. Amyís husband Andy along with their daughters Amelia and Annie were happy to pose for a family portrait at the newly relocated nest which was closer to the Station 28 Ĺ path. This is the first nest of the season for Sullivanís Island and the third for our nesting project when we count the two on the Isle of Palms .

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False Crawl at 7A

May 23, 2018

 

Penny Huebsch and Chaunci Pirhalla along with Chaunciís dog Kai and Pennyís boyfriend Chase found some tracks above the high tide that were hard to see because of the sargassum weed that has washed ashore and the tire and other tracks that were on top of them this morning. They were at the dune crossover for 708 Ocean Blvd one house north of the 7A Access Path. The sand was also very blown over and because of this we wondered if these tracks could have been 24 hours old?

There was only one place that looked as if it could have been a body pit. So we probed and probed at that spot, but no soft spot or eggs were ever found. There could indeed be eggs somewhere there but not in the expected place. We left a nest sign but did not call this Nest #3 because we could not confirm the presence of eggs. On the back of the stick it says ďpossible nestĒ check from July 20-30. We will send out a reminder to those on patrol to look carefully for an emergence crater or hatchling tracks at that time.

 

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Nest #2 at 38A

May 22, 2018

Nest #2 was found by Leslee Gordon and Andrea St. Armand this morning along with Andreaís husband Kolive and their dog Moopsie who was ready to dig! It was laid in a low place seaward of the primary dune where the first King Tide would have caused water to stand on it killing the eggs. For this reason we had to relocate the 93 eggs laid by a small loggerhead by the size of her tracks. They were moved higher at that same location to incubate.

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2018 Has Begun: Nest #1

May 19, 2018

During the rain last night a loggerhead laid our first nest near the 1A path on the Isle of Palms close to Breach Inlet. Anne Royall and Lauren Bauk braved this morningís rain and had the reward of finding our very first nest of the season. It was on top of the artificially bulldozed dune created after Hurricane Irma took away the beach in that section. So locating the clutch of eggs in that soft spongy sand was a challenge, but we marked it to incubate in situ. We could not even write the nest number on the stick because it was covered with rain, but the last two numbers of 01 will soon indicate that this is the first one.

Congratulations and a big thank you to Anne and Lauren. This was Laurenís first time to patrol.

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