Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivan's Island

 

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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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Meanwhile.......

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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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