Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island

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See You Next Year

The Season is almost over

Nest #26 on the Isle of Palms was a good success. One hatchling track was found in the sand after it came out during the night, but there were no more in the nest for the inventory. Hatch and Emergence Success were 86.1% with 14 undeveloped eggs plus the DNA sample counted out of 108 laid.

Nest #13 on Sullivan’s did not do as well. It was a small nest of only 69 eggs of which two were found broken when it was laid. Forty more failed to develop and hatch for a Success rate of 39.1%. No live hatchlings there either.

 

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Lots of inventories

Sullivan’s Island

Nest #7 - 90 empty egg shells, 14 undeveloped eggs, no live turtles – 85.9% hatch success

Nest #8 78 empty egg shells, 4 undeveloped eggs, no live turtles – 90.6% hatch success Nest #9 – 96 empty egg shells, 6 undeveloped eggs, no live turtles – 93.2% hatch success

Isle of Palms

Nest #18 It was a rainy inventory with no hatchlings left in the nest this morning. There were 53 undeveloped eggs and 49 empty shells for a 47.5% hatch success. We were worried about this one and afraid that it wasn’t going to hatch since it was later than most nests this season. But 49 turtles made it out of the “fireworks nest.”

Nest #19 in situ – 121 eggs were laid, 7 did not develop, no dead hatchlings, 1 live hatchling which was released by Jeanne Robinson. Hatch Success was 93.3%.

Nest #20 relocated from 114 Ocean Blvd – 115 eggs laid, 6 did not develop, no live or dead hatchlings found. Hatch Success was 93.9%

Nest #21 relocated from Access Path 58 – 131 eggs laid, five did not develop, no dead and 6 live hatchlings found and were released by Linda Bethea and Mary Stork. Hatch Success was 95.4%.

 

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Turtle Team Tee-Shirt Quilt

For the second time, the Island Turtle Team will be auctioning a handmade Tee-Shirt quilt(54in. by 68in.) at our Jammin' for Jammer event on September 28 at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms. This quilt was created by Barb Gobien with the help of Mary Pringle and will be raffled off at the event on the 28th of September. You don't have to be present to win. Tickets are available through our website store or can be purchased at our end of season party, and of course at the Jammer event on the 28th Tickets for the drawing a $10.00 each.

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Inventories almost every morning.....

 

 

The Wild Nest at 1A had only 48% hatch rate and 29% emergence success, with the difference mostly because there were 18 dead ones at the top of the nest when the others emerged. I had taken these out and buried them that night.

Nest #12 with the mystery emergence date was a good 94% hatch and emergence rate.

Nest #13 at Access Path 23A contained 89 eggs of which 14 did not develop. There were 8 dead hatchlings in the nest and 1 live one who was released to crawl to the water by Jackie Huffman and Susan Chagrin.

Nest #14 also at 23A was a large one with 144 eggs. For several days hatchlings had been coming out of this one in the daytime and dying near the nest and 12 were found like this, possibly from the extreme heat. We are suspicious that some of the dead hatchlings found inside the other recent nests also died from hyperthermia or heat stroke. This nest had 6 undeveloped eggs and 16 dead ones still in the nest. So even though so many hatchlings died, the actual Hatch Success was a very good 95.1%. Penny Gorby released the one hatchling to crawl to the water along with the one from Nest #13.

Nest #16 at Access Path 3A had no live hatchlings still in the nest There were only two eggs that did not develop and six dead hatchlings still in the nest for a 96.7% hatch success.

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Nest #11 Inventoried on IOP

The in situ nest at 24th Avenue found by Marybeth Heeke, Jackie Huffman, and Susan Chagrin on June 17th did very well. More tracks were seen coming out of it this morning. The count was 111 empty eggshells, 10 undeveloped eggs, and two live hatchlings which were released and crawled into the water.

 

 

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Nest #5 Inventoried on Sullivan's

This morning we got the results of Nest #5 which was left to incubate in situ southwest of Station 18 and produced turtles three days ago. We had to use lawn edging to help guide the hatchlings down the side of the vegetated dune the nesting turtle chose, so they could find the beach and the ocean. Hatch success was not great at only 56.8% with 54 empty shells and 40 undeveloped eggs, 6 dead hatchlings and only two live ones in the nest. One of these was too weak to swim. We often see this because the strongest and fittest hatchlings are the ones who come out earlier and leave any that are not so healthy behind. If we did not release them at the inventory, they would most likely die in the nest.

Just after they were released by Deirdre McMurtry and her daughters Fiona and Gillian, the wake from an outgoing tanker pushed large waves onto the beach splashing the crowd of onlookers up to their knees.

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Nest #10 Inventoried on IOP

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After waiting almost a week for the rest of the turtles to come out of Nest #10 which was very large with 144 eggs laid in the dead myrtle trees near Grand Pavilion, we did the inventory this morning. It was surprising to find well over a dozen of them stuck in roots and hard sand under the surface. Each one was examined to be sure the umbilical cord was gone and the plastron was fused, and we determined that they were all mature and ready to be released by Jeanne Robinson to crawl to the water. Hatch success was a very good 90.9% with only 12 undeveloped eggs .

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Nest #3 Inventoried on Sullivan's

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Nest #3 at Station 25 was inventoried this morning. There were 24 undeveloped/unhatched eggs and 23 hatchlings still in the nest with the empty eggshells. Unlike some of the dehydrated and weak hatchlings we had before the rain finally came, these were healthy and very active. Their little plastrons showed that they were mature and ready to go, so they were released by Aussie Geer to crawl into the ocean.

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The Changing Beach

Nest #5 on the Isle of Palms was laid on May 26th. There were 134 eggs that were relocated to a spot just south of 29th Ave. The beach has been drastically changing....adding great amounts on sand in some areas. If you don't go out to the beach every day or so you might not notice. But when the Turtle Team went out to do an inventory of Nest #5 they were really surprised to see what had happened to the nest. If they had waited much longer they might not have even found the nest.

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Coyotes dig into Sullivan's Nests

This morning we got a call that coyotes had interfered with two nests on Sullivan's Island. The coyotes dug up a nest that was inventoried Saturday. The egg shells were strewn around the nest. They also dug into Nest 4. It appears that nest 4 had hatched and the coyotes dug into it after the hatchlings were gone, which is good news. We screened the two remaining nests, which will hopefully keep the coyotes from damaging them.

 

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Nest #1 & #2 Inventoried on Sullivans & Nest 9 on IOP

July31, 2016

The first two nests on Sullivan’s did very well after both incubated 52 days at the Sand Dunes Club hill. Nest #1 was left in situ and contained 92 eggs of which 4 did not develop. So Hatch Success was 95.6%, the best of any so far on either island. Nest #2 contained 80 eggs of which 9 did not develop for a Hatch Success of 87.5%. There were no leftover hatchlings to release in either nest which is a good thing - two very healthy nests. We saw that the high tide had come partway up the side of the hill, so any nests left below there would have been in danger.

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Nest #9, on IOP, contained 143 eggs and emerged after only 47 days, the shortest incubation period we’ve had yet. On inventory there were 42 undeveloped eggs and 6 live hatchlings left in the nest. All of these seemed weak and lethargic. The sand was extremely hot and dry. We attempted to rehydrate them with a little water before they were released by Sue Widhalm and Diane Mullins along with Diane’s two grandsons. Hatch Success was 70%.

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Nest #7 & #8 Inventoried on IOP

July 28, 2016

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Nest #7 found in Wild Dunes at Port O’ Call and relocated to 29th Avenue contained 107 eggs. Sixteen of these did not hatch and combined with our DNA egg, that made an 84% hatch success. Only one little hatchling remained in the nest for today’s inventory and this one had a right front flipper range of motion problem which kept it from crawling or swimming effectively. He surely would have died in the nest if we had not released him at the inventory. Sometimes we find these with congenital deformities or other physical problems. But unfortunately there is not rehab program for these baby turtles, so he was released into the ocean by Diane Mullins, Sue Widhalm, and Sue’s great niece and a friend.

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Nest #8 containing 139 was found 9 days later in Wild Dunes near #7 at Tidewater by Kristen Ayers and Christel Cothran but emerged the same day as #7 after only 49 days of incubation. This extreme heat probably hurried up their development which is not always a good thing but beyond our control. They emerged in the hot afternoon sun and some of them died apparently from heat stroke on the hot sand. But most made it to the water with tourists looking on and protecting them. Only 6 undeveloped eggs were found and four hatchlings were released to crawl into the water by Dottie Stubel. Hatch Success was a very good 94.9%.

  

 

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Nest #15 for Sullivan's Island

July 27, 2016

This year the loggerheads are really loving Sullivan’s Island. Tracks were reported just southwest of the Station 25 path by Aussie Geer and Peter and Helga Greim. This was a rather small nester by her track measurements but she got high enough into the dunes so that we did not have to move the eggs. So another nest joins the group at Station 25.

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Two Inventories on IOP

July 26, 2016

INVENTORY RESULTS:

Nest #3 was a pleasant surprise for us after we feared that the eggs had been drowned at 50th Avenue before we pulled them out of the water on June 2nd, which was 10 days after they were laid there. Six hatchlings were deep in the nest but ready to go into the ocean. And out of 112 relocated 83 were successful. Hatch Success was 74%. Jeanne Robinson released the hatchlings to crawl to the water.

Nest #6 did not do quite so well with 74 undeveloped eggs out of 135. Mary Stork released the one turtle remaining in the nest. Hatch Success was 44%. Nest #26:

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Nest #26 for Isle of Palms

July 26, 2016

Nest #26: Another nest was laid on IOP in Breach Inlet during the night. Diane and Marion Valentino, Barby Harrington, and Chaunci and Eli Pirhalla were all on patrol there this morning when the tracks were found. There were 108 eggs which were moved out of this erosional area where the current is very strong and relocated to near the 32A Access Path for incubation.

 

 

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Nest #25 for Isle of Palms

July 24, 2016

At least one of our Wild Dunes turtles seem to like to lay eggs on Saturday nights or Sundays in the wee hours. For the fourth time this season the group consisting of Jeanne Robinson, Valerie Smolar, and Susan Daley found a nest. We think this is probably the same turtle who crawled there three times on Friday night – exactly the same flipper claw measurement even though the tracks were very short and mostly in the soft dry sand - not as distinct since she crawled before the high tide both times last night. But she did succeed in laying a large clutch of 130 eggs near the Boardwalk Inn in Wild Dunes. These were relocated to 32nd Avenue to incubate on a good dune there. She also made yet another false crawl nearby at the north end of Grand Pavilion near Seagrove at the dead myrtle trees on the beach where there was no body pit.

Alex Garcia found a false crawl near the Dangerous Currents sign at Station 13 on Sullivan’s Island this morning as well,

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Nest #13 on Sullivan's Island

July 22, 2016

Karen Britton along with her Boykin spaniel Ruby and her friend Cindy found tracks between Station 14 and 15 this morning. This is probably the same turtle who had false crawled for the two previous mornings which means there may not be any eggs at the marked stick in the trees between Stations 18 and 17. There were only 69 eggs in this nest and they were relocated to Station 25. So thirteen nests is the highest number ever recorded on Sullivan’s & that was way back in 1998.

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Inventories on Isle of Palms

July 21, 2016

Nest #1 which emerged on Saturday after midnight had only 70 eggs and 21 of them did not hatch. There were no live hatchlings left in the nest. So Hatch Success was 68.5%.

Nest #2 which emerged Sunday after midnight was a big clutch with 149 eggs. Here there were 11 unhatched eggs with 3 dead hatchlings and 9 live ones still in the nest. Suzanne Fine discovered the nest near 713 Ocean Blvd on May 19th. She and her three children, Veruka, Wilhelmina, and Sante released them from the red bucket to crawl into the water in front of a large crowd of about 60 people.

 

 

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Nest #24 for the Isle of Palms

July 20, 2016

A very busy morning for the Turtle Team. Some tourists saw a loggerhead laying eggs at the foot of a dune walkover near Access Path 1A in Breach Inlet and reported it to our Facebook page. It was Maryann and Jack Czarnecki and Marilyn Markel’s day to patrol and Maryann took pictures of the tracks in the morning. There were 124 eggs which we moved from this dangerously eroded area in the inlet to a safe dune just south of the 32nd Avenue path where Carol Gaston was patrolling this morning. Carol agreed to be a “foster mom” for the nest.

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Meanwhile there were tracks found by Laurie and Bob Snyder between Station 18 and the Sand Dunes Club. Extensive probing produced no eggs, but a plain stick with the date was left there so we can check it when it would be time for hatching in September.

 

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Nest #4 Inventoried in WD

July 18, 2016

The first sand trap Nest #4 for IOP had 142 eggs in it where it was relocated to the Ocean Point sand fencing on the 18th fairway. This evening’s inventory with the almost full moon rising was a beautiful sight as Christel Cothran released 13 hatchlings who were left in the nest after Thursday night’s emergence to crawl into the water at high tide. Only 11 eggs failed to develop and hatch in addition to the ones that were found broken in the nest, so the hatch success percentage was a healthy 90.8%.

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Nest #22 & #23 for IOP

July 14, 2016

NEST #22 - A very good and interesting find was made this morning by Linda Bettelli, Barbara Allen, Jane Powers, and Sue Googer near the 33A Access Path. There were faint and windblown tracks in the soft sand above the high tide line. A woman on the beach said that she had seen a turtle crawling and possibly nesting there on Tuesday night maybe around midnight but didn’t know whom to call. We found the egg chamber and saw the telltale white spot on the top egg, indicating that it was more than 24 hours old. So this nest will be recorded as having been laid on Tuesday night. Since development had begun and the nest was almost in a suitable spot, it was decided to leave it where it was laid.

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NEST #23 – An early call came from Billie McRae where she and Kristen Ayers had found tracks along the 18th fairway at Ocean Point. This turtle crawled over a small scarp but failed to get above the spring tide wrack line in this very erosional and unstable area at the north end of the island. So after we located 99 eggs there, we moved them to Access Path 33A farther south to be near Nest #22.

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SULLIVAN’S NEST #12 – Fiona McMurtry and Jan Booth were patrolling the harbor end of Sullivan’s and found tracks about 400 yards northeast of the Dangerous Currents Sign at Station 13. The turtle had crawled down into a deep depression and then back up and laid 92 eggs there. These were taken to a safer place at Station 25 for incubation.

 

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Nest #21 IOP

July 11, 2016

Nest #21 was found today near the 58th Beach Access Path near Grand Pavilion. Eugenia Dowdeswell, Linda Bethea, and Mary Stork were patrolling the beach. There were 131 eggs which were relocated to a dune near Nests #20 and #19 at 51st Avenue which were laid yesterday.

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Nest #19 & #20 for IOP

July 10, 2016

Nest #19

What a busy morning we had today. On the Isle of Palms Nest #19 was laid at the 51st Avenue Path with tracks discovered by Mary Stork with Valerie Smolar and Susan Daley. We believe this was the same turtle who had unusual tracks and has been on the beach in Wild Dunes for the last 3 nights. Thank goodness she was finally able to lay her eggs. This one was left to incubate in situ. There was also false crawl reported by Ann Evans and Terri Stafford near 44th Avenue with tracks that could have been our same wandering turtle from the nest above.

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Nest #20

Meanwhile Elizabeth Rast was on patrol and found tracks that went under the dune walkover at Claire Richardson’s house between 2nd Avenue and the 1B path. Suzanne Fine helped notify us on this one. Here we found 115 eggs in Nest #20 at the steeply scarped dune – a dangerous place for a nest. So these were moved to be next to the in situ nest at 51st Avenue.

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Nest #11 on Sullivan's

On Sullivan’s Island we had false crawls near Station 18 and Station 24 and Karen Britton who was subbing for Alex Garcia, found Nest #11 for Sullivan’s between Station 16 and Station 17. It was in a flat washed over section of beach and contained 107 eggs. It was relocated to the high dune near the Sand Dunes Club which is getting pretty crowded with nests.

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Nest #10 on Sullivan's

July 9, 2016

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Miriam Hurt, Neil Hunt and Paula Brady were the finders of Sullivan’s Island Nest #10 between Station 17 and the Sand Dunes Club this morning. The nest was laid on the flat area and lots of wrack sticks were down in the egg chamber with one egg of the 65 laid found broken at the very bottom of the clutch. It was moved to a dune nearby where the three others are incubating. Meanwhile Madeleine McGee and Hampton Brand both reported a small 12” long dead green sea turtle on the beach near Station 26 that had been hit by a propeller. We did the report and buried it.

There were two false crawls in Wild Dunes. It looked like the same turtle who tried to nest there twice night before last, came back last night and seemed to be too picky in selecting a spot or got disturbed again. She again did not lay eggs. At least this means that we did not miss any eggs yesterday at Dunecrest Lane where she came ashore. We are hoping she will succeed soon.

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While this was going on at the pier on IOP.....

July 4, 2016

 

This was happening at the 7th Ave. beach path.

 

Isle of Palms Nest #18: Just as the fireworks show was starting nearby at the pier, the police called to say that there was a turtle on the beach near 7th Avenue. I was sure she would go back into the water without laying eggs because of all the disturbances. But she was determined to do her “patriotic duty.” The police and the crowd were so helpful in shielding her from the glare of the nearby light show as we watched her lay 103 eggs at the foot of the dune walkover at 702 Ocean Blvd. With help from Meg Greiner from New York who follows our activities on the website, we were able to help this turtle finish and get back to the water just after the beach crowds dispersed. This morning Jackie Taylor and Diane and Marion Valentino, who found the first nest of the season on May 10th, were there when we relocated the eggs which were not only seaward of the severely scarped dune but also right at an unavoidable place at the base of the dune steps. There were 103 eggs in the nest. Many were very thick shelled and there were some tiny yolkless spacer eggs and strings of excess calcium in the turtle’s reproductive system. Besides the Greiner family from New York, the Currans from Ontario, Canada were there for the laying of the eggs and came with us to 32nd Avenue in the morning when we placed the eggs in a much safer spot.

 

 

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Meanwhile the same thing was happening on Sullivan's.....

Sullivan’s Island Nests #8 and #9: An unprecedented two nest night for Sullivan’s Island as well. While we were protecting the turtle at 7th Avenue, Rita Langley and Jen Leitch contacted the turtle team to say a turtle had just laid eggs not far from Fort Moultrie and had already gone back into the water. Norma Attaway and Angie Finn not only found these tracks but also more near the Sand Dunes Club Path. The nest near Station 14 contained 86 eggs and the one at the Sand Dunes Club had 103, the same number as today’s IOP nest. Both were taken to Station 25 and placed on a good dune near Nest #7 which was laid there two nights ago.

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Nest #7 on Sullivan's Island

July3, 2016

 

This morning Hampton Brand, and his two Gordon Setters, found tracks up against the scarped dune at Station 25. The tide was coming in and it probably would have been flooded and no sign of the tracks within an hour or two. The 105 eggs were moved just in time to save them and put next to Nest #3 at the Station 25 path.

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Nest #17 on IOP

July 2, 2016

 

Another nest was laid at the 18th fairway in Wild Dunes during the night. Nancy Evans and Penny Gorby found tracks very close to the ones they found exactly a week ago not far from the end of the fairway at Ocean Club Villas. This was a small turtle from the track measurements and she only laid 76 eggs. These were relocated from this highly erosional area to a good dune at 32nd Avenue.

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The sky this morning was very dramatic, but luckily the bad weather seemed to be moving off shore

 

 

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Nest #6 on Sullivan's

June 30, 2016

 

The 6th nest for Sullivan’s was found this morning by Jan Booth and Deirdre and Gillian McMurtry along with Lynda Byrd from Daniel Island who was walking with the McMurtrys. This turtle made tracks the same size as the 4 sets of tracks where no eggs were found two days ago in that same section. So it is possibly the same nesting female. It is not unusual for them to hold onto the eggs and come back several nights later. One of those tracks was way down at Station 11, out of the area where we patrol, and was suspicious for eggs. It was marked with a plain stick and the date. We will not know if there was a nest laid there on Tuesday until we monitor it for hatchling digging sounds and tracks at the end of August. Nest #6 was in a high enough spot that it did not have to be moved, so it will incubate in situ about 200 feet south of the Station 16 Access Path. It was exactly 2 weeks ago that these same Turtle Team members found the in situ nest at Station 18 and the tracks matched up, so it will be interesting to see if DNA results confirm that this is the same mother turtle.

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Turtle Rescued on Sullivan's Island

June 27, 2016

 

What are these good folks watching???

At about 1:15 we got a call from the DNR radio room in Columbia. A resident of Sullivan's Island saw a turtle stuck behind the rock wall at the harbor end of Sullivan's. Barb Gobien rushed over to the area and was joined by the Sullivan' Island Fire Dept. and Public Works department. Over the next few hours everyone tried to catch a glimpse of the turtle. He looked active and seemed to be stuck behind the wall when the tide started to recede.

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It took about four hours to finally catch up with this turtle. With the help of DNR, Willow Bender from the SC Aquarium, SIFD and SI Public Works, Barb got the turtle loaded into her van for the trip to the Sea Turtle Hospital and into the hands of Aquarium Vet Shane Boylan. This small turtle would not have survived much longer in the wild. "Sully" is now being treated at the Aquarium and his prognosis is "guarded"

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Nest 16 for IOP

June 27, 2016

This morning there were turtle tracks in the severely scarped area at 8th Avenue. Turtle tracks were found by Beverly Blalock, Elaine Schupp, and Sandra McLean near the 8th Avenue Access Path and 93 eggs had been laid there. It was decided to move them down to the only area in this south section of the Isle of Palms that is suitable which is near Access Path 3A where our first two nests are located.

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Nest 15 for IOP

June 26, 2016

This morning Jenn Connell who has been on the Turtle Team for many years, found tracks and a body pit up against the scarped dune at Access Path 1B near Breach Inlet. This loggerhead only laid 64 eggs as opposed to yesterday’s sand trap nester who laid 144. The nest was moved to 23rd Avenue to incubate near #14 and #13 laid in the last two days.

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Nest 14 for IOP

 

June 25, 2016

Another golf course sand trap nest this morning was found by Nancy Evans and Penny Gorby. This turtle crawled onto the closed off final part of the 18th fairway near Ocean Club and made it all the way across the fairway to the sand trap by the cart path before laying a whopping clutch of 144 eggs. We could see marks in the Bermuda grass turf where she had come across the grass. This time none of the egg shells were cut by the sharp seashells in the sand. We relocated these eggs next to yesterday’s nest between 22nd and 23rd Avenues. Steve Robling, former SI Turtle Team member, and his family were visiting the island and got to see the eggs found and excavated.

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Nest 13 for IOP

June 24, 2016

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Susan Chagrin and Jackie Huffman found Nest #11 last Friday at 24th Avenue and they found another one this morning near 22nd Avenue! This turtle laid her 89 eggs way down in the flat area below the spring tide line and they would surely have been flooded and destroyed there. There was one tiny egg with no yolk and one large string of shell material with albumen and no yolk. These do not make reliable DNA samples, so after taking the sample we relocated the other 88 eggs landward of the nest up on the dune. There were some very excited and interested visitors to the island from New York and Texas who observed the whole procedure.

 

Meanwhile up at Ocean Point near the 3 nests on the 18th fairway there was another false crawl with no body pit. This loggerhead got up to the wrack/tide line and turned around without laying egg. Her track measurements were slightly larger than the turtle at 22nd Avenue. These tracks were reported by Grace Dols and Sue Widham as well as a couple from New York here on vacation. 

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False Crawl on IOP

June 22, 2016

This turtle came up on the beach in Wild Dunes this morning. She came up by the "Wave Dissipation Wall" (big plastic wall near Ocean Club) and did not nest. Hopefully she will return tonight somewhere that will not obstruct her nesting effort.

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Nest #12 on IOP

June 21, 2016

Patti Horton was patrolling the north end along with Tristi Lowther this morning and found tracks at Ocean Point in a spot below the spring tide wrack line. There were 138 eggs there which were moved to a high dune near the 32nd Avenue path for incubation. Jo Durham is new to probing but has done great finding this clutch of eggs and Nest #9 before it.

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Nest #11 on IOP

June 17, 2016

Susan Riley Chagrin, Jackie Huffman, and Marybeth Heeke discovered tracks in the 2400 block of Palm Blvd. This turtle went up the hill and onto the dune walkover at the newly built house at 2310 Palm until she was blocked by the security gate and then laid her eggs just below the walkover. We were able to mark it where the eggs were laid even though we would have like it if she had gotten a little higher. This is the best section of beach for nests and yet the turtles tend to avoid it. It’s also been a long dry spell for Mary Beth who has been patrolling since 2006 and we are very happy for her and for Jackie and Susan!

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We think the turtle who did false crawl #3 and then Nest #1 on Sullivan’s Island two weeks ago made a return visit last night at Station 16. Kristin Zeaser-Sydow and Karen Britton found her tracks but no eggs were found. Perhaps she will return tonight to nest?

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Nest #5 on Sullivan's

June 16, 2016

This morning Dierdre McMurtry and Jan Booth found tracks about 75 yards south of Station 18. The turtle had encountered a blue and white tent that someone had left on the beach overnight. She managed to crawl around it and then went up onto a vegetated dune to lay her eggs. We found them quickly and marked the nest where it was laid. We moved the tent up above the primary dune line hoping that it won’t cause trouble again. Not sure what the rules and enforcement policies for this are on Sullivan’s Island.

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The turtle this morning on Sullivan's ran into a tent left on the beach...luckily she continued on and nested. Nothing should be left after your trip to the beach except your footprints!!!

 

 

 

 

 

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Nest #4 on Sullivan's

June 14, 2016

This morning Angie Finn and Norma Attaway found tracks near Station 16. The body pit was not very large and the field signs were rather doubtful. But there were 118 eggs laid on the flat beach below the spring tide line. They were moved to the high dune just south of the Sand Dunes Club where Nests #1 and #2 are incubating.

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Aquarium Nest on IOP

June 13, 2016

Awendaw arrived at the Sea Turtle Hospital at the SC Aquarium on May 28th. Because of her size it was assumed she was of nesting age. Well sure enough she has started to drop eggs. Today the Aquarium and IOP Turtle Team located her 64 eggs on a safe dune on the beach. We don't know if this nest will be successful but keep your fingers crossed.....Its amazing that she laid at all, considering the trauma from a serious boat strike. She will be at the Aquarium for an extended time. It's a great time to visit the Turtle Hospital. A special thank you to the IOP PD helping us get the eggs quickly and safely on the beach. 

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Nest #10 on IOP

June 12, 2016

Our turtles can find the weirdest places to nest. This morning Susan Daley, Valerie Smolar, and Jeanne Robinson had tracks near Grand Pavilion in Wild Dunes. There were lots of dead trees on the beach where salt water from flood tides had killed the vegetation. A large loggerhead had crawled into the thick dead shrubbery and laid 144 eggs in one of the strangest places we’ve seen. We could not even stand up at the nest site, so probing was a challenge. The eggs were moved to a safe dune at the 30A Access Path near the middle of the Isle of Palms. It was Susan and Jeanne’s nest at 50th Avenue that required the emergency relocation on June 2nd. We are not sure if we got those eggs out in time, but are hoping that this nest will be a great success.

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Nest #3 on Sullivan's

June 11, 2016

Now we have a nest at the north section of Sullivan’s Island. Nest #3 was laid at the scarped dune just north of the Station 25 path. Jane Mundell and Helga Greim spotted very short tracks above the high tide line. This turtle might have had flipper damage because her egg chamber was shallow and lots of eggs were within a couple of inches of the surface. It was a classic clutch with average number of 120 eggs. Linda located them and amazingly none were broken in probing, but one was found broken in the egg chamber and used for DNA sampling. They were relocated higher at that location next to the Station 25 path.

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Nest #9 on IOP

June 10, 2016

Nest #9 is another 18th fairway turtle. This seems to be a popular spot for laying eggs this season. Arlene Southerland and Diane Mullins, along with Diane’s dog Sailor, spotted tracks at the last part of the 18th fairway beyond where the green is now. The nest was close to the high tide line in a very erosional stretch. Jo Durham probed for the eggs for the first time and found them right away. Congratulations, Jo! The clutch of 143 eggs, minus one that was found broken and used for our DNA research project, was moved around the corner at Ocean Point to join Nest #8 and Nest #4 for incubation

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Four False Crawls & Nest #8 on IOP

June 6, 2016

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Our turtles were very busy during the night, but only one of five sets of tracks found proved to be a nest. The Turtle Team did a great job of covering our miles of beach and finding these. Christel Cothran and Kristin Ayers might have had a return of their sand trap golfing turtle exactly two weeks after the first nest at the north end. This time she laid her eggs at Tidewater/Port O’ Call in Wild Dunes on a flat part of the beach that the tide washes over. The body pit was abnormal and with field signs hard to read since she crawled back over it going back out. But there were 139 eggs and they were relocated to our favorite spot around the corner of the 18th fairway sand fences next to Nest #4.

Then there were tracks at the 6A access path on IOP where a loggerhead decided not to lay her eggs near the steep wall of sand left by erosion.

On Sullivan’s Island there were tracks at Station 29, at Station 28 right at the water line, and again at Station 26. Once again the turtle (or turtles) went back into the ocean without laying eggs after bumping up against the steeply scarped dunes. This severe erosion, even on Sullivan’s Island, seems to be causing lots of false crawls.This morning Eve Gentieu called in a set of tracks at Station 17.

 

 

 

 

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Second Nest for Sullivan's

June 5, 2016

This morning Eve Gentieu called in a set of tracks at Station 17. This is not very far from the nest laid yesterday, but this one was below the spring or king tide line. It was a rather small loggerhead – measured only 20-22” between rear flipper claw marks and only laid 80 eggs. They were quickly relocated to a high spot very near Nest #1, not far from the Sand Dunes Club path. So these two should produce hatchlings close to the same time near the beginning of August if all goes well.

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First Nest for Sullivan's

June 4, 2016

A loggerhead laid eggs on the high primary dune about 100 yards south of the Sand Dunes Club path during the night. Paula Brady, Neil Hunt, and Miriam Hurt are all new to the team and were not sure that this was a nest. But when Wendy Weisner walked her dogs past there a little later, she called in to report the tracks. Please remember if you are new to this that anytime you see loggerhead tracks about 2 feet wide, it is urgent to call right away so we can respond immediately even if it is a sure false crawl. This turtle managed to find a suitable nest site which was an amazing feat because of the extra high king tides that are pushing the water even up onto the beach access paths. So the nest was marked and left high on top of the dune.

 

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This is a clarification of the entry for Sullivan’s Island Nest #1 on Saturday June 4th. There was confusion because the finders of the nest, Miriam Hurt, Paula Brady, and Neil Hunt found it around 7 am and took pictures of the pristine tracks and body pit. Because they had never seen loggerhead tracks before and were not positive about these being such, they sent very good text pictures asking for verification. Because another phone call and text pictures had already been sent by Wendy Weisner, these were mistakenly thought to have come from her instead of from Paula since there was a number and no name. Since people were already on the way to the site where Wendy was waiting, this text went unanswered for quiet a while. New volunteers on the Turtle Team are much valued additions to our group and always want them to feel that they are appreciated for getting up at dawn to look for tracks, protect nests and often clean many bags of litter off the beach. The work they all do is very important for the conservation of our sea turtles, and the experts are cautiously optimistic that a real difference is being made in slowing the decline of their population. Please know that all of our volunteers are very much appreciated and valued

 

Nice way to start a Saturday!

 

 

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Emergency Relocation

June 2, 2016

The tide got so high in the gully this evening that we had to do an emergency relocation at 50th Avenue when ground water came into the egg chamber. We looked around and could not find any suitable dune anywhere near this spot, so we had to take 110 eggs down to 29th Avenue. We are worried that the embryos might have died since the eggs were underwater for a while. But we are hoping that we got them out in time.

 

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A Twofer...Nest #6 & #7 on IOP

May 27, 2016

It’s only May 27th and our loggerheads are really getting going. Mary Stork and Janie Fleming, along with Janie’s 5 year old granddaughter Lila Jane, found tracks and a nest at the south end of Beach Club Villas. It contained 135 eggs in the very soft sand in a flat washover area with no dune elevation. These were relocated to a safe dune for the eggs & hatchlings at 29th Ave.

Then Arlene Southerland, Linda Daehn, and Diane Mullins had a nest near the pool area of Port O’ Call which contained 107 eggs. These were moved to 29th Avenue near Nest #6. Both nests contained one broken egg down within the clutch. So these were used for the DNA research sample.

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Nest #5 on IOP

May 26.2016

 

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We had the 5th nest on IOP this morning found by Ed Peyser. Suzanne Fine found a false crawl along the scarped dune near 124 Ocean Blvd not far from Breach Inlet. It appeared that this may have been the same turtle crawling ashore very early in the night before high tide about 11 pm who came ashore before dawn near 9th Avenue and laid eggs where Ed reported the tracks & nest at dawn. The body pit containing eggs was in the flat washover area that led up to the scarped dune as is the case in most of this section. There were 134 eggs which were relocated to a spot just north of the 28th Avenue Path. Meanwhile Jan Booth found the first loggerhead tracks on Sullivan’s Island. These were near Fort Moultrie just beyond Station 13. This turtle ran into the rock wall and went back into the water without digging or laying eggs. Perhaps she will come back tonight and try again?

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Nest #4 (or "FORE") on IOP

May 23.2016

Just when we thought we had seen everything, Kristen Ayers and Christel Cothran discovered tracks this morning that led up to the 18th fairway of the Links Course and went onto the fairway near Ocean Club Villas. The turtle tried to nest on the fairway itself, but the Bermuda grass roots were too tough and dense. So she continued to crawl until she went down into the sand trap where there are some small trees. Here she laid 142 eggs. Unfortunately the sand had sharp shells in it, and this cut two of the eggs opening them up. We used these for our DNA sampling project. This final part of the 18th hole is not being used because of erosion problems, so leaving the nest there might have worked if it had been closer to the water. However, it was down in a deep depression meaning the hatchling turtles would have had to climb up a hill and would have been very far from the ocean, perhaps not finding it at all on their own. The decision was made to move the remaining 140 eggs around the corner into the safer area where the old sand fences are causing the beach to build up.

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Nest #3 on IOP

May 22.2016

 

Jeanne Robinson and Susan Daley patrolled this morning and Jeanne started at the south end and came upon tracks very near the 50th Ave Beach Access Path. The turtle was larger than those who laid Nests #1 and #2. She crawled all the way to the primary dune but not quite on top of it. However, we decided that since it was beyond a small gully and had some elevation, that we would leave the eggs where they were laid. So we do not know how many are in the clutch.

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Second Nest on IOP

May 19.2016

 

The second nest of the season was laid halfway between 7th and 8th Avenues this morning. Suzanne Fine reported the tracks which were in the flat washed over part of the beach below the scarped dune. This turtle was slightly smaller than the mother of Nest #1 which was laid 9 days ago. She laid a bumper crop of 149 eggs which were relocated to a safer dune on the beach at 308 Ocean Blvd, about halfway between 3rd and 4th Avenues. We were assisted in counting them by Suzanne and her daughter Veruka Salomone.

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First Nest on IOP

May 10.2016

The first nest of the season was found this morning at the 6th Avenue Path on IOP by Jackie Taylor along with Diane and Marion Valentino. It was an unusual nest in that it was small – only 70 eggs laid – as well as containing 3 very small non-yolked eggs in the clutch. Since it was laid up against a scarped (eroded) dune where it was in danger of being flooded or washed away, it was relocated to a spot between 3rd and 4th Avenues. It was a good start to the season. Congratulations Jackie and Diane!

Yesterday at 35th Ave. on the IOP

 

We believe this is the same turtle seen returning to the water yesterday, by Lori Nelson, Debbie Newsome and Linda Forslund, without nesting. We measure the tracks of every crawl and the tracks were the same size. Photo by Linda Forslund

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First walk of the season and the FIRST NEST

 

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