Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivan's Island

 

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Three Inventories on IOP

July 26, 2017

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Three Ocean Point nests were inventoried this morning. There was a good crowd of people but not one hatchling left to release to the water.

#8 at the 17th tee was a small nest of only 65 eggs laid and for some unknown reason, only 8 of them hatched and produced turtles. This nest was not moved and it only had a 12.3% hatch success and no hatchlings left in the nest this morning.

#13 was another nest that we did not relocate. We were worried that since it was laid in the roots of the sea oats that the eggs would be damaged by invading roots which sometimes happens during dry summers. Good thing we had plenty of rain this season because this nest did well with only 9 of the 116 eggs not developing. Hatch success was 91.3% at this one.

#14 had only one egg not develop out of 131 laid and relocated and the one for our DNA genetics sample. So hatch success was 98.4%.

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#40 is in the books for IOP

July 25, 2017

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The Turtle Team uses only the best high tech equipment to create the perfect triangle for each nest's sign...Barb's incharge !!!

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The Isle of Palms has officially hit 40 nests as of this morning. Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton, and Tristi Lowther found tracks near the sand fencing at the north end of Ocean Club where Ocean Point begins along the 18th fairway of the Links Course. We were surprised to find that this was a very large clutch of eggs, unusual for our turtle mothers this late in the season. Because of the upcoming renourishment project between 53rd Avenue and Dewees Inlet, SCDNR has instructed us to move all nests laid in this section of the beach farther south. This nest was laid on the flat beach anyway and should have been moved. So we put the eggs in a safer spot near 31st Avenue.

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SUPER, SUPER BUSY DAY

July 23, 2017

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Even a footprint can stop a hatchling at Nest 6 Inventory

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Nest #6 at the 18th fairway dunes sand fencing had a 94% hatch success but quite a few turtles appeared to be stuck in the roots and hard sand. However, five had died waiting and waiting to get out of the nest. We let the 20 who were still able crawl to the water because they were all mature enough for release.

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Nest #37 where Doug & Gina found hatchling tracks & we marked for inventory last Wednesday appeared to have had a problem. Most of the eggs failed to develop and hatch. Only 16 empty eggshells were found and 105 unhatched eggs were counted. The unhatched eggs were not discolored or collapsed as they are in a nest that has been flooded and damaged. Most were white and viable looking. However, they only contained yolks with a few containing hatchlings that had died at various stages of development. Since we needed a genetics sample to identify the mother’s DNA, we used a halfway developed embryo and a shell from one of the clean, white undeveloped eggs that just had yolk & albumen. Hatch and emergence success here were only 13.2%. Wish we knew what the problem was with this nest.

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Nest #39 for IOP

July 23, 2017

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Elizabeth Crider and her dog came across loggerhead tracks near 214 Ocean Blvd while on patrol this morning. She was a trooper and waited (even managed to have a play date for her dog while she waited) well over an hour while we conducted inventories near Dewees Inlet at the north end of the island. But when we finally arrived, we found a good set of tracks but a body pit with dry sand blown around obscuring the field signs on the newly created post-Matthew dune. Probing was not effective because of the soft quality of the sand, so we dug and dug until Tee, our best egg-finder, located the first egg. There were 116 that were relocated from this unstable dune to a safer place near 3208 Palm.

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Even early the beach was super busy...we even got a call that there was a turtle stranded a few blocks from where we were relocating a nest.

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Nest #38 for IOP

July 21, 2017

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Alice Williams and Eileen Dulany came upon a set of loggerhead tracks at 702 Ocean Blvd where our friend Meg Greiner and her extended family from New York stay the week of the 4th of July. The turtle had crawled very high up onto the dune right next to the boardwalk for that house and laid her eggs. Even though the hatchlings might go behind the dune toward any lights that they can see, we left the nest there with plans to put a low backing behind it when hatchlings are due to come out so that they will go down the high dune toward the ocean. This nest comes after a 10 day nesting hiatus and we think that our turtles are winding down toward an early finish to the egg laying part of the nesting season.

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Inventory at Nests #2 & #3

July 18, 2017

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We inventoried Nest #3 first laid on May 11th at 302 Ocean Blvd. Ed Peyser had his two grandsons to help release the hatchlings. We had had a good “boil” of turtles come out the night of July 14th so were surprised to find so many still in the nest on the 4th day later. Each one was examined for maturity (fusion of plastron and absorption of external yolk sac) and were given the go ahead in this very busy and crowded part of the beach. A few had flipper abnormalities and we hope they make it. Only 6 of the 110 eggs failed to develop and hatch success was 86.9%

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Then on to Nest #2 which was laid up against a white picket pool fence at 510 Ocean Blvd on May 10th. This nest had continuous sand buildup and we worried about the pool and house lights disorienting the hatchlings when they came out of the sand. It also got sprinkled daily by the irrigation system there. So a wooden board against the fence and black lawn edging a few inches high was used to guide the hatchlings as they came out, just before dawn on July 14th. We also had the rental house’s property manager disable some of the lights near the pool. It all worked and every set of tracks led down to the water that morning. 109 eggs were laid, 11 eggs failed to develop, and no turtles were left in the nest at inventory. Hatch success was 89%.

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Inventory at Nests #4 & #5

July 16, 2017

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Today's inventories of Nests #4 and #5 near 3rd Avenue laid on May 12th were a good success. Nest #4 had 104 empty shells and 6 undeveloped eggs for a 93.6% hatch success and no hatchlings left in the nest to be released. Nest #5 had 14 undeveloped eggs out of 115 laid and 13 live hatchlings left in the nest who were released to crawl to the ocean. Hatch success for Nest #5 was 86.9%. Both of these nests got overheated when sand eroded from the surface and several hatchlings came out in the scorching midafternoon sun and died. Both of these also produced hatchlings before dark for four evenings in a row while many people were on the beach.

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MAK IS BACK (Mary Alice that is)

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Surprise Daylight Boil at Nest #4

July 12, 2017

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Our in situ nest at 3rd ave. emerged just before sunset yesterday. There were still loads of people enjoying the beach and the Turtle Team got the call and rushed out there...in time to see the nest emerge and to educate the crowd that were thrilled to see over 70 hatchlings make their way to the water.

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Inventory of Nest #1

July 12, 2017

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We were worried about Nest #1 at 56th Avenue laid on April 30th which took 70 days to hatch and emerge. But we had a good inventory this morning finding 96 empty shells, 6 undeveloped hatchlings and 4 lives ones released to crawl to the water. The nest was deep from built up sand and the weather was cool for most of the incubation time before the hot weather arrived. But the loggerhead who has been identified from her DNA as CC004401 had a 93.2% Hatch Success.

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Nest #36 for IOP

July 11, 2017

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Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton, and Tristi Lowther found tracks where the 18th green of the Links Course used to be before erosion damaged it. The turtle must have nested early in the night because the wind had totally erased her path once she got out of the wet sand. The outgoing tracks made on the outgoing tide, however, were much longer than the incoming ones and finally a body pit was found in at the edge of the fairway but not on a suitable dune. It was a large clutch of 141 eggs, unusual for late in the nesting season. We appreciate the assistance from Links Course personnel in transporting the heavy bucket of eggs off the beach in their cart. They were relocated to 26th Avenue where they will be safe to incubate.

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Nest #35 for IOP

July 10, 2017

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A loggerhead laid eggs near the middle of the 900 block of Ocean Blvd during the heavy rain. Donnie Lane was the first to spot the tracks. Margaret Lane, Kathy Magruder, and Madelaine Harrell were also there on patrol this morning. The incoming tracks were very faint from the early morning rain, but the outgoing tracks were clear since she crawled back to the ocean after the storm. Unfortunately the turtle did not get up on the new post-Matthew dune, so the 125 eggs were relocated to a spot near 25th Avenue

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Beautiful morning on the beach...complete with a full moon 

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BUT NOT SO PRETTY....about a 100 feet from the nest some self-centered tourists left their tent, chairs and toys on the beach overnight. 

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Nest #34 for IOP

July 9, 2017

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This morning Susan Daley and Valerie Smolar with help from Janie Fleming patrolled and found tracks with a body pit between 51st and 52nd Avenues. The turtle laid 107 eggs, but one was found broken in the egg chamber and used for our DNA research project. Since the body pit was in a flat area that would get flooded, the eggs were relocated to a safer place near Nest #33 laid on Thursday. There was also a false crawl at #16 Beachwood East where the turtle ran up against the plastic Wave Dissipation Wall and turned around. And another false crawl was found just north of the Grand Pavilion area where the turtle encountered a rock wall and chairs on the beach. She also had to turn around without laying a nest. Too bad there are so many barriers on the beach for our loggerheads.

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Nest #33 for IOP

July 7, 2017

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Janie Fleming with her grandchildren, Alexander and Elizabeth and Mary Stork and Patty Fournier were surprised to encounter a nesting loggerhead in the dunes at 51st Avenue this morning on their patrol. The turtle appeared to be exhausted after attempting to nest in the 51st Avenue Access Path and possibly being disturbed there leaving an open egg chamber. She crawled over a small dune where she did lay eggs. But she was lethargic and did not move at all after covering the new egg chamber. People came to see her including our IOP City Administrator Linda Tucker with her daughter and granddaughter and also Meg Greiner visiting from New York. We were concerned about her even though she looked healthy and were considering having her checked out at the turtle hospital. However, after conferring with Michelle Pate at DNR, we decided to measure her and check her for imbedded tags before putting water on her to see if she would revive. When we started the measuring, she came to life and crawled quickly back to the ocean and swam away. We left the eggs where they were laid and put up the sign at the 51st Avenue path for IOP Nest #33.

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I know I've put a lot of pictures on today...I couldn't resist. In working with the turtle team for almost 18 years I have only seen a daytime nester less than a handful of times.

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Meanwhile... Arlene Southerland called about tracks near Summer House condos in Wild Dunes. The high wind during the night created a challenge in reading the field signs, but we decided that it was a false crawl with no trace of a body pit found and very faint turnaround marks at the top. Sis Nunnally and her group had two sets of tracks near 33rd Avenue as well. One was an obvious turnaround in the wet sand, but the other was higher on the beach and more windblown in the dry sand. In cases where the tracks are totally blown away by wind, we look for disturbed and broken/trampled/buried dune grasses and a possible body pit, but none of these were found here. We probed the only likely places and are quite sure no eggs were laid there. 

 

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Nest #8 for SI

July 6, 2017

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There were three false crawls on IOP this morning and one nest and a stranding on Sullivan’s. Channel 2 News was interviewing Michelle Pate, our SC Sea Turtle Coordinator at DNR at 3rd Avenue. Annie Vola was patrolling there where she and I got to watch the live TV interview as the sun rose. Then we got reports of tracks at Dunecrest Lane and the Property Owners Beach House in Wild Dunes and just south of 30th Avenue. All three of those were false crawls, but the turtle at Dunecrest had the same barnacle drag mark on her plastron as the tracks at the sandbags there yesterday. Maybe she will finally lay eggs tonight.

Heather Harden and Sheri Nolte found tracks at Station 21 on Sullivan’s along with Sheri’s sister and two nephews. They were in the flat washover area and it was a rather small clutch of 97 eggs. These were relocated to an elevated dune just south of the Station 28 ½ path with the news crew going to both places on the beach. Then we had to do a stranding report on a juvenile loggerhead hit by a boat propeller at Station 12 which was reported by Eve Gentieu.

Watch TV News 2 (Comcast Channel 3) from 11 am to noon today to see the story. Maybe it will be on the evening news broadcasts as well. The focus was LIGHTS OUT for sea turtle nesting.

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Nest #32 for IOP

July 5, 2017

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Gina and Doug McQuilken and their two "granddogs" belonging to their daughter Jennifer Heisler found tracks near #61 Ocean Point this morning. Salty and Luna were wearing sea turtle leashes and were good at spotting loggerhead tracks. This turtle laid in the flat part of the beach near Dewees Inlet and she made a very small body pit. When we first saw it, we were worried that it might be a false crawl, but we did find 136 small loggerhead eggs there and relocated them to a good dune near 32nd Avenue. Shawn Drackwicz also found loggerhead tracks that led up to the sandbags at the Beachwood East wave dissipation wall, but the turtle turned around without laying a nest.

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Nest #31 for IOP

July 4, 2017

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This morning Andrea St. Armand and Leslee Gordon found tracks right at the 35A Access Path. The turtle came up just after high tide and left a classic set of tracks with a body pit that was easy to read for field signs. However, it appeared that she overflowed her nest of 120 eggs (the average number for a loggerhead nest) and crushed two of them while covering up. These were cleaned off and used for our DNA genetics sampling project. The rest of the eggs were moved to a nearby dune near the 32A Access Path because the body pit was in a depression that would have washed over and left water standing in it during the next king tide. We were also joined by Meg Greiner and her husband David who come to the IOP every year from New York and witnessed the turtle laying eggs during the fireworks show at 704 Ocean Blvd last July 4th. We are hoping not to have any turtle incidents this year such as injuries from boat propellers. Happy Independence Day!

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Nest #7 for Sullivan's

June 30, 2017

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A Diaper and Vodka Bottle on the Beach!

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Kristin Zeasor-Sydow and Karen Britton had quite an interesting morning today. Among the “treasures” they found were a very large almost empty vodka bottle, a bubble blowing kit, some nice sunglasses and a very nice blue 5 gallon bucket with a rope handle. So it really pays to pick up litter from the beach when you do your morning turtle patrol! Another perk is that their dogs, Manga and Ruby were having such a nice time on the beach. Oh, and they also found turtle tracks and a nest near Station 17. The tracks were very short and only above the high tide line since she nested before the high tide around 1:30 this morning. The eggs were larger than normal (but still loggerhead eggs) and she laid 109 of them. We have had to move two other nests from this erosional spot this season, so perhaps this is the same turtle from Nests #3 or #4 also found by Karen the second week in June. The eggs were relocated to a good and we hope safe dune near the Station 18 Access Path near Angie & Norma’s Nest #6 laid three days ago.

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Nest #29 & #30 for IOP

June 29, 2017

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We’re not sure why but our loggerheads seem to only want to nest in Wild Dunes even though there are so many perfect places between 21st and 41st Avenues. This morning Deborah Johnson and Mary and Dennis Frazier were on patrol when they discovered tracks at 7 Dunecrest Lane and at 49th Avenue. The turtle who nested at 49th chose a fairly good spot to lay her eggs, so we did not relocate them and marked it as Nest #29. At Dunecrest, however, the nest was in a flat section where the tide could destroy it. It is also in the upcoming renourishment project area. So this Nest #30 of 83 eggs was relocated to a dune near the one at 49th Avenue.

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Nest #28 for IOP

June 27, 2017

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A loggerhead laid 105 eggs on the erosional part of the beach at Shipwatch Condominiums in Wild Dunes during the night. Her tracks were reported by Gina and Doug McQuilken as well as Shawn Dracwicz this morning. The clutch was relocated by the Team to a safe dune one door north of the 32A Access Path.

Meanwhile on Sullivan's Island there was a false crawl between Sta 18.5 and 19 and a crab hole investigated with no crab in residence right in the middle of Nest #2 at Sta 28.5

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Nest #6 for SI

June 27, 2017

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This morning there were tracks just east of the Sand Dunes Club path discovered by Angie Finn, Norma Attaway along with her dog Ginger, and Helga Greim. The turtle had crawled back into the dead wax myrtle trees that have been repeatedly inundated by salt water since Hurricane Matthew washed away the dunes at that spot. It was a very flat place with the wrack line quite a way landward of the nest which would be a disaster for this nest because of flooding during incubation. So we moved it about a block farther east to a good dune near the Station 18 path and hope this clutch of 120 eggs minus one will do well there.

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Really Busy Morning

Nest #s 26 & 27 for IOP and 5 for SI

June 24, 2017

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We had five sets of turtle tracks to investigate on this windy Saturday morning. Sis Nunnally and Rita Oden, along with their faithful dogs, reported tracks at 37th Avenue and at 45th Avenue. Unfortunately Judy Ewing and Aelecia Rideout were out of town and missed the excitement. Because of the heavy wind overnight the tracks were obvious in the wet sand but impossible to see in the dry sand which had blown flat. At 45th Avenue (Nest #27) all we found were some broken beach grasses along her possible path but miraculously the 127 eggs were located and moved down to 37th Avenue to incubate next to Nest #26 on a suitable dune. There was also a false crawl right at the boardwalk at Access path #58.

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Meanwhile on Sullivan’s

Miriam Hurt, Paula Brady, and Neil Hunt found tracks at Station 13 where a turtle crawled ashore without laying eggs. But Helga Greim reported tracks at Station 23 where eggs were found. This is Nest #5 for Sullivan’s and was left to incubate in situ and treated with wolf urine to discourage coyotes. 

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Nest 25 for IOP

June 23, 2017

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After six days of no nests or false crawls the drought was finally broken today when Arlene Southerland and Sue Widhalm both found tracks at the north end of the IOP. The tracks at Mariner’s Walk were an obvious false crawl where the turtle bumped up against a small scarp there and went back into the ocean without laying eggs. But the tracks near the Ocean Point boardwalk led to a large nest of 140 eggs. However, they were laid below the spring tide wrack line in a place sure to be flooded before they hatched. Christel was out of town, but her pup Daisy stopped by to check out what was going on. We relocated the eggs to a spot between 25th and 26th Avenues. Even with the coast wide slowdown in nesting, we are still on track to have more nests that last season because of the very big number in May.

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DAISY

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Nest 24 for IOP

June 17, 2017

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For the third day in a row our turtles have nested at the north end. The last two days our nests had to be moved from flat washover areas in Wild Dunes, but Nancy Evans and Penny Gorby found one at the Links Course 17th tee that was actually slightly elevated on a dune this morning. The field signs were not the best with tracks the same length and hardly any thrown sand. However there was quite a bit of buried and broken green vegetation that we always look for. Unfortunately there was some piled up wrack nearby, probably piled up by the nesting loggerhead, that contained fire ants. They stung us viciously and painfully, but we were able to clean off the wrack and broken vegetation that was drawing them. We found the egg chamber which was free of the ants and marked the nest to incubate in situ. Our only worry was that it is right at the beginning of Dewees Inlet and an incoming tide might take emerging hatchlings the wrong way and not out to sea.

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Turtle Team's work continued later in the morning at the Poe Library on Sullivan's Island. Mary Pringle did a program on our loggerhead turtles and how the kids can protect the turtles and the beach.

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Nest 23 for IOP

June 16, 2017

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Wild Dunes is that away......

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Another nest with some abnormal eggs this morning. Arlene Southerland and Sue Widhalm found tracks and a body pit at Summer Dunes Lane as well as a false crawl at the northeast end of Mariner’s Walk in Wild Dunes. The Nest (#23) had three eggs that had irregular shapes and multiple yolks in them. One of them looked like a tube sock it was so long! So we might have three sets of twins. We counted 114 eggs counting the double yolked ones as two each. It will be interesting to see how these elongated eggs did when we do the inventory in August. The nest site was very flat, will be most likely be flooded frequently, and is in the renourishment project area. So the eggs were moved to a safe dune at 2600 Palm Blvd.

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Mary....come back!

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Nest 22 for IOP

June 15, 2017

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Billie McRae along with Dan and Doreen Tylak found a nest at the Ocean Point boardwalk this morning. It was low on the beach in the upcoming renourishment project area. There was one small egg with no yolk and there was another broken egg in the center of the clutch. We were going to use that egg for the genetics DNA sample. But the inside of the shell was an abnormal yellow color and the yolk was solidified as a hard boiled chicken egg would be. So another egg was used instead. There were 80 eggs in all (counting the unyolked one and the solidified one) which were relocated to a safe higher dune one lot north of the 25th Avenue Access Path.

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Nest 21 for IOP & a Maddening False Crawl

June 11, 2017

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This morning Cindy Moore, Dottie Stubel, and Gwen Chianella reported tracks just north of the Ocean Point boardwalk at approximately 53 Ocean Point Blvd. Cindy was able to find the clutch of 135 eggs which were relocated just north of the 25th Avenue Access Path and marked as Nest #21. Unfortunately two eggs appeared to have been broken deep in the clutch by the turtle while laying. These were used for the DNA sampling.

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Elizabeth Rast Crider also found tracks at 112 Ocean Blvd. This turtle climbed on the very high newly created dune there and all the field signs indicated that she had laid eggs. But there was a very soft spongy layer of decaying mulch and a complete sprinkler system there where the homeowner and “landscaped” the dune with plants that did not belong there and had been covered with accreted sand. After we had probed and dug for at least an hour, getting our hands black with the soil that should not be there, we finally gave up and put a plain stick with an orange ribbon on it saying that we need to check that area during the first couple of weeks of August for hatchling tracks. We fear that daily irrigation will not be good for the nest habitat as well. Very frustrating.

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WHAT A MORNING!

Two Nests and a false crawl

June 10, 2017

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The first call of the morning came from Nancy Evans. She and Penny Gorby were patrolling the north end of IOP and found tracks near the north end of Shipwatch condominiums. This turtle wandered all over the flat and flooded washed over beach up there in the upcoming renourishment project area. Her tracks must have been about close to the length of a football field! She finally decided to lay eggs in a valley between two low dunes. There was a small non yolked egg included in the clutch which was about half the size of a regular loggerhead egg. These eggs were taken to a safe place next to the 32A Access Path & marked as Nest #20 for IOP. HOWEVER, like so many areas of the islands right now, we soon discovered that this path was flooded from our recent rains. So we waded in water between knee and waist deep. About halfway out to the beach, we had a mosquito spraying airplane fly low right over our heads and we were bombarded with whatever chemical crystals they were dropping!! We tried the 31A path to come back from the beach. It was flooded but not quite a deep and the plane did not strafe us there.

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Nest #20 for IOP

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The walk to the beach at 32A was tough and wet...the walk back on 32 was still wet but only calf deep.

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Meanwhile...Nest #4 for Sullivan's Island

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And the final stop was on Sullivan’s Island. Karen Britton was back on patrol with Boykins, Ruby & Cricket as well as Paula Brady and Neil Hunt. They had tracks just north of Station 17, close to yesterday’s birthday tracks for Karen. This turtle retraced her tracks and laid in a very scary erosional spot with the eggs right in the roots of the dune grasses on the low primary dune. By the end of the season, these dunes might be gone just like the recently lost nearby Sand Dunes Club dunes. It was decided to move this rather large clutch of 136 eggs higher and about 20 feet from yesterday’s nest #3 just north of the Station 16 path.

AND because Dave Peterseim reported last evening that a crab had gotten into our new Nest #3, we took a PVC crab trap and installed it landward of that nest. Karen had seen the crab going into the nest this morning. We dug into the fresh clutch from yesterday and found an egg that it had opened and destroyed. This was removed. We were not able to find the crab, but left the trap there and are hoping that someone on patrol there will soon see him in the bottom of the PVC pipe! Both of these fresh nests were treated with a fresh sprinkle of wolf urine to deter the coyotes who live near there. Congratulations to Karen - so unusual to find nests on two consecutive days.

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Anne Royall reported tracks at 312 Ocean Blvd. These proved to be a false crawl where the turtle wandered up on the dune but kept going and returned to the water without laying. It was GPS’d and documented.

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Nest #3 for Sullivan's Island

June 9, 2017

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It was a great birthday present for Karen Britton walking with Boykin spaniels Ruby and Cricket this morning when she found tracks near Station 17. This turtle appeared to have a wound or abnormality on her left side according to the tracks which were hard to measure. She laid 117 eggs low on the beach near the water in a dangerous spot. So we relocated them nearby to a new dune about 100 feet north of the Station 16 marker. Unfortunately the only high dunes in that section at the Sand Dunes Club were washed away by Hurricane Matthew, so pickin's are slim for relocation. In the picture Karen is holding the jar of granulated wolf urine which was used to disguise the fresh turtle smell of the nest. It seems that turtles like to nest near the known coyote dens at Station 16 and Station 26.5. Go figure!

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Meanwhile on the IOP, the team had to wade through a flooded path and then dug in water soaked "rock" hard sand to try and find a nest...No luck maybe she will be back tonight.

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Nest #19 for IOP

June 8, 2017

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Getting up early and walking in the windy rain paid off for Ed Peyser this morning. He found tracks from a rather small loggerhead on the beach at 704 Ocean Blvd. Since this turtle got up on the primary dune far enough, we took a DNA sample and left the eggs where they were laid. Next time you walk, look for a nest sign at the third house north of 7th Avenue.

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Nest #17 and 18 for IOP

June 3, 2017

The Tale of Two Nests

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After seven years of patrol, Christina Willson was thrilled to have a nest on her walk. She came across the tracks for Nest #17 near the northernmost house at Beachside just south of the 21st Avenue Access Path. Since the 104 eggs were laid in an access path used by a beach vehicle/cart, we moved them a little higher to a dune a few feet away. Meanwhile, Sarah Castle, who shares Saturdays with Christina in this section, arrived and said there were more tracks near 24th Avenue. We found eggs there in a good safe spot and did not move them for Nest #18, so we do not know how many are there. Great job, Sarah and Christina! There were also tracks in Dewees Inlet on the Cedar Creek spit reported by Nancy Evans, but this turned out to be a false crawl. Maybe tomorrow?

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Lots of people and their pets on the beach really early in the morning

 

 

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Nest #16 for IOP

June 2, 2017

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This morning Ann Sherrill, Janie Fleming and Mary Stork found tracks in front of Senator Hollings’ house at the north end of Dunecrest Lane. These tracks and the body pit were irregular looking and at first we were not sure that any eggs had been laid there. But Jo did a good job of finding the clutch of 101 eggs quickly. Another unusual thing about the nest today was that some of the eggs had a trace of blood on the outside of their shells. Since they were in the Wild Dunes renourishment project area and below the spring tide line, it was decided to take them to the safer area near 32nd Avenue where Nest #15 was relocated

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Nest #15 for IOP along with 2 False Crawls

June 1, 2017

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Around 9 pm last night someone from Wild Dunes reported a loggerhead crawling up toward the dunes just south of the 49th Avenue path. A few team members went to make sure she was safe and not being harassed as she laid her eggs. Photos were taken without a flash, but the red lights did create a shadow. This turtle appeared to have a flipper abnormality on the left side and did not dig very effectively for her egg chamber. At the end of her clutch, the egg chamber started to overflow and a few eggs were pulled aside in an attempt to keep her from crushing them as she covered, but in spite of this three eggs were damaged by her. These were collected for DNA research.

Linda Bettelli and her group of retired teachers including Sue Googer, Barbara Allen, and Jane Powers discovered the nest and tracks at the beginning of their walk very early this morning. Since she laid down in the flat washover area below the spring tide line, her remaining eggs were taken to a good dune just north of the 32A Access Path.

Meanwhile Barby Harrington and Annie Vola discovered two sets of tracks near Breach Inlet. These might have been from the same turtle or perhaps two turtles similar in size. Neither one left a body pit or any eggs. So maybe there will be a nest there in tomorrow morning.

Charlie, the spaniel, kept an eye on Tee while she probed the false crawl.

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Nest #2 for Sullivan's Island

May 31, 2017

 

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Aussie Geer with her dog Wally and Helga Greim reported tracks one door north of Station 28½ that led to a nest on the primary dune. This was a medium sized loggerhead and she chose a good spot even though close to Breach Inlet. So we marked it for incubation where it was laid. Good to have another nest on Sullivan’s and hoping for one now at the south end too.We treated the nest with wolf urine while any possible turtle or egg scent is fresh. We are trying this instead of the plastic screening to see how this works. And also this is likely the same turtle who laid Nest #1 at Station 25 two weeks ago. The tracks are the same, in the same area, and the timing is just right. We will know when the DNA results come in next fall.

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Nest #12, 13 & 14 for IOP

May 28, 2017

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Our Isle of Palms loggerheads seem to favor the south end near Breach Inlet or the north end in Wild Dunes this season. This morning Elizabeth Rast Crider found a nest at the 2A Access Path. Again, we had to dig carefully with our fingers rather than probing in the soft spongy new dune created by the bulldozers last fall, but we did find the eggs and marked it as Nest #12 to incubate in situ. .

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Meanwhile at Ocean Point....

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Also Gwenn Chianella, Cindy Moore, and Dottie Stubel (along with Gwenn’s daughter, Andrea) found two sets of tracks at Ocean Point. Nest #13 was several doors south of the Ocean Point boardwalk in the dunes. It was left where laid and Nest #14 was a couple of doors north of the boardwalk. Since this nest was lower on the beach and subject to flooding, it was moved nearby close to Nest #13. According to their track measurements, these two turtles were similar in size and nested about the same time of night.

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Good Morning IOP - Happy World Turtle Day!

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Nest #10 & 11 for IOP

May 27, 2017

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Anne Royall and her dog Ginger Snap were patrolling from Breach Inlet to 9th Avenue where there were two nests and a false crawl. Nest #10 was laid several doors south of 3rd Avenue in a very scary place on the back slope of the dune very near one of the in ground pools. We had great difficulty finding the eggs in the soft spongy dune bulldozed after Hurricane Matthew and even broke a couple of them probing. These were used for the DNA sample, however, so they did not go to waste. The remainder of the clutch was relocated to a spot at 612 Ocean Blvd where another larger turtle had laid Nest #11. So Anne is the proud mother of two nests at 612 Ocean. Another set of tracks below the high tide line was found just north of 7th Avenue nearby – possibly the same one who laid at 6A. Meanwhile there were two more crawls in Wild Dunes but no nests. Lori Roe reported tracks at the brown Asian style house at 6 Dunecrest but there was no body pit. And there was a false crawl at Grand Pavilion.

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Nest #9 for IOP

May 26, 2017

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This morning Mary Stork and Janie Fleming found tracks at #5 Dunecrest Lane. This is in the very unstable area where the Beachwood East sandbags and plastic wall are. The turtle crawled up onto the newly bulldozed dune there. The elevation was good but it is in a severely threatened area of the project area for the upcoming renourishment and was a precarious place to leave a nest. So the 121 eggs laid were relocated to a safe spot on the beach at 3206 Palm Blvd between the 32A and 33rd Avenue paths. Janie and Dan Fleming’s daughter, Kelly Fleming and their two granddaughters Lila Jane and Emme Porter were there to see the eggs being relocated. This is the first nest for the 30 to 49th Avenue section and we hope to have more because the dunes there are ideal for nesting and nest relocation. 

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Tee took our picture high on the dune..as I took Tee's picture down on the beach

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Nest #8 for IOP and a false crawl

May 21, 2017

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During the night a loggerhead tried to nest in the 200 block of Ocean but bumped into sand fencing and returned to the ocean without laying eggs. Jenn Connell reported these tracks which indicated a turtle who was larger than the ones who have nested near 3rd Ave this season. The lengths of her incoming and outcoming tracks and the lack of thrown sand that is done after covering were good indications that she did not lay eggs and none were found.

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Nest #8 at OCEAN POINT

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But Cindy Moore, Dottie Stubel, and Gwen Chianella found Nest #8 near the 17th tee of the Links Course in Wild Dunes. Unlike Nest #6 laid at the 17th tee three days ago, we believe this one had an adequate elevation to avoid being flooded by a king tide. So it was marked and left to incubate in situ.

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Nest #7 for IOP

May 19, 2017

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The first nest in this section of beach was found by Carol Jaworski who was patrolling there with Sue Hogan this morning. The turtle looped around once above the high tide line but then went up to the very small primary dune to lay her eggs. We thought the location good enough to leave the eggs to incubate in situ. Congratulations to Cindy Moore who probed and found her first clutch of eggs!

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Two Nests today....First one for Sullivans

May 18, 2017

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Nest #6 on the Isle of Palms

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Nest #6: Our first call came from Dan and Doreen Tylak and Billie McRae about tracks on the beach near the 17th tee of the Wild Dunes Links Course at Ocean Point. The turtle did not get up on a dune but instead laid 101 eggs in the flat washover area. So we decided to relocate this nest to the area near the sand fencing along the point at the 18th fairway that we have used in past years.

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Nest #1 on Sullivan's Island

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Nest #1:While we were moving those eggs, Heather Harden and Sheri Nolte called about tracks just south of Station 25 on Sullivan’s Island. This turtle crawled up the steep primary dune several times before finding a suitable spot. But the spot she dug was good enough so that we left the nest where she put it. Heather and Sheri are new to the Team this year and were thrilled to have found their very first nest!

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Very Busy Morning on the Isle of Palms

May 12, 2017

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Nest #4 on the Isle of Palms

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Nest #4: During the night Suzanne Fine called to report a turtle laying eggs at 216 Ocean Blvd, so we got pictures of her. This is only a few doors from yesterday’s nest at 302 Ocean. And again it was no probing in the soft powdery new dune, just careful digging with our hands. This nest was left in situ and we will give credit to Eileen Dulaney and Joanne Robinson who patrolled there this morning.

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Nest #5 on Isle of Palms
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Nest #5: Mary Stork and Patty Fournier reported 3 sets of tracks in their Wild Dunes section. The first two near Grand Pavilion were found to be false crawls, one of which kept bumping into the large rocks exposed by Hurricane Matthew. But at Beach Club Villas farther north there was a third set of tracks (the same size) with 115 eggs laid in a flat washover area of beach that would have been covered in the next King Tide. So Nest #5 was relocated to incubate next to #4 at 216 Ocean. And then yet another set of tracks was seen near #57 Ocean Point Blvd but it did not yield any eggs. Tracks were same size as the other 3 sets today in Wild Dunes.

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Busy Morning on the Isle of Palms

May 11, 2017

Dan and Doreen Tylak reported tracks in Dewees Inlet. There were two sets of tracks not too different in size, possibly the same turtle coming ashore twice near the Seagrass Lane boardwalk and then again further into the inlet where she encountered marsh instead of sand and turned around without laying. Maybe she will return again tonight and try again This morning there were two false crawls at the very end of the island at Dewees Inlet.

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Nest #3 for IOP

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A busy morning for the Turtle Team. A loggerhead nested just north of the 3td Avenue Access Path on the Isle of Palms. Jack Owens of Ocean Blvd and also Mischa Kuelling of Zurich, Switzerland reported these tracks. The turtle bumped into a log but then made it up on the newly created primary dune after Hurricane Matthew to lay her eggs. This new dune creates quite a challenge for finding the egg chamber because the sand has not yet compacted so our usual method of probing is useless with the stick going in to the hilt anywhere that is probed. We have to study the field signs and make an educated guess as to the location of the egg chamber in the 6 foot body pit. Then we dig carefully with our fingers until we find the top egg. After finding the eggs, we marked the nest with a sign and left it where it was laid.

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NEST 2 ON IOP

May 10, 2017

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LAST NIGHT---MIDNIGHT

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A loggerhead crawled up against the white pool fence at 510 Ocean Blvd and laid eggs around 11:45 last night. She was prevented from going any farther but fortunately left her eggs right up against the fence where they will incubate. After taking the required DNA sample, we marked the nest and will probably have to put a board for a barrier against the motion sensor lights at this rental house as well as lawn edging at emergence time to keep the hatchlings from crawling into the pool in July. Marilyn Markel and Chaunci and Eli Pirhalla will be in charge of protecting this Nest #2 on the Isle of Palms

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THIS MORNING

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FIRST NEST SEASON ON IOP

April 30 , 2017

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First nest laid at 57 Ave. on IOP

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The first nest to be reported in SC, NC or GA was found on the ISLE OF PALMS this morning! We have never had an April nest before and were quite surprised when Bill Schupp called and said that there were tracks near the 56th Avenue Access Path. The turtle was rather small from her track size and had crawled up on a dune where an individual beach house access path was and laid her eggs. Since the elevation was good, we decided to leave the eggs there to incubate in situ. So the season has begun and beach patrol will start tomorrow, May 1st. Very exciting!

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