Photo Log: Island Turtle Team

Isle of Palms/Sullivans Island

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Inventory of Nest #5 on Sullivan's

 

Nest #5 on Sullivan's Island was laid on June 16 and incubated for 56 days. It was found by Heather Harden and Rene Stauffer and 155 eggs were moved higher at that location between Station 26 1/2 and 27. We know this is the same turtle who laid Nest #1 in Breach Inlet on May 20 and believe she also laid the surprise nest in Breach Inlet two weeks later on June 3 that is listed as Nest #14. This season she has been nesting either in Breach Inlet or at the north end of the island close to the inlet. On inventory we found 23 undeveloped eggs, 2 dead hatchlings and 2 live hatchlings that were released by Heather to crawl to the water. Sullivan's Island is known for the large number of dog walkers (off leash) that are there in the morning. Many were present with their owners today, but they sat obediently on leash in a line behind the ropes as the two hatchlings crawled by. Hatch success was 84.3%.

 

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Two Great Inventories on IOP

 

Fishes Eye View of the Inventory at 21st Ave.

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Nest 21 at 21st Ave.

 

 

Nest 21 at 21st Avenue was laid by Loggerhead #1415 who has laid over 30 nests that we know of since 2010 when we started taking DNA samples. She mostly nests on the Isle of Palms and also laid Nests #2 and #7 this season at 5th Ave and at the 5A path. This one was found by Kathy Magruder when she and Lindsay Schoen were on patrol on June 14. It contained 138 eggs and had to be relocated out of the part of the beach where trucks and police cars drive everyday which was also below the spring tide line. We found 5 undeveloped eggs, one dead hatchling and 4 live hatchlings in the nest 4 days after the other turtles came out. Hatch Success was 95.6%. They were released by Lindsay and Kathy to crawl to the water. 

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Nest 23 at 3rd Ave. 

 

 

Nest 23 was laid by Loggerhead #3507 who is nesting for the 4th time after starting out on Hatteras Island NC in 2011. This nest was discovered by Susan Lipsey on June 16 at 312 Ocean Blvd near the 3A Access Path. There were 132 eggs which relocated onto the primary dune above the high tide line. We found 14 undeveloped eggs, 5 dead hatchlings and 16 more hatchlings who were stuck in the very hard sand after our recent rains 4 days after the nest "boiled." We examined all of them to make sure their umbilical yolk sacs were gone and that their plastrons were fused. They were all mature. We were glad we found them while they were still alive and could be released to go to the water by Susan. Several appeared to have problems with their right front flippers, possibly from being stuck in the hard sand for several days. Hatch Success was 89.3%.

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We were pleased to have the Fowler family, Anthony, Gabrielle, Vivian and Collette at both inventories. They are visiting from Charlotte and were excited to see live loggerhead hatchlings going to the ocean for their first swim.

 

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SURPRISE ! Nest #14 for Sullivan's

 

 

 

Nest #14

There was a nest in Breach Inlet that we didn’t know about! It was near the first house away from the bridge. On June 3 Christel Cothran spotted loggerhead tracks there and we were unable to find any eggs. The 27 inch size of the tracks matched exactly the size of the tracks at Nest #1 for Sullivan's which was also laid in the inlet. We recorded this as False Crawl 5 for Sullivan's. But today Christel was out there and saw a slight depression in the sand, dug in, and found empty loggerhead eggshells. The Team inventoried it and discovered 156 empty shells, only one undeveloped egg (which we used for the DNA sample) and no hatchlings dead or alive. Nest #1 had 156 eggs and was relocated to Station 26. We are betting that this was the same turtle nesting again two weeks later for her second clutch. Congratulations, Sullivan's Island Team, on your 14th nest with a Hatch Success of 99.3%.

 

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Three More Inventories for IOP 

 

 

Nest #20 was inventoried at 57th Avenue this morning. It was laid on a low dune two doors north of the path and not relocated on June 14. This turtle crawled about 100 yards to find this dune and the eggs were found close to the surface as if the turtle had overflowed the egg chamber. We now know that this is Loggerhead #10916 who has only been documented as nesting once in 2017 on Folly Beach and then laid this nest. The egg count revealed 52 empty eggshells, 56 unhatched eggs, no dead hatchlings and one live hatchling. We suspect that the heavy rain on July 2 which caused a large lake of standing water next to this nest may have caused ground water to invade the nest underground and killed the eggs at the bottom of the clutch, killing over half of them. Hatch success was 47.7%. The lone hatchling was released to crawl to the water by Campbell Adams, Linda Tucker's granddaughter.

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Scary Beginning to a Long Journey  

 

Nest #18, we now know, was laid by Loggerhead #12661 who started nesting in 2019 when she laid 3 times on the IOP. This is only her second season to lay eggs. This season Nest #5 also laid at 36A was hers in May and then she came back and laid this one on June 13th at 57th Avenue where 131 eggs were moved here near her first nest. Out of all these eggs we only found 2 that did not develop as well as no hatchlings. About 30 minutes before the inventory Barbara Jervey saw one turtle coming out of the nest at dawn and walked it down to the water. Guess it didn't want to stay around for the inventory? Hatch success was 96.9%.

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Nest #19 was laid by Loggerhead #14825, showing us that she was another young female, laying her first eggs this season. Her first nest was at Botany Bay near Edisto Island on May 27 followed by this one on June 13. Several eggs were found broken in the bottom of the clutch when they were moved from the 33A Access Path where Linda Forslund and Lori Nelson discovered the tracks. Hatch Success was 82.7% and there were no turtles left in the nest.

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Four Inventories for IOP 

 

 

Nest #17 This one incubated for 52 days. It was found by Penny Gorby and Nancy Evans at Ocean Club Villas on June 11. Today we found 18 unhatched eggs and 17 dead hatchlings. There were roots grown around some of the eggs and one of the dead hatchlings appeared to be leucistic with a light beige shell instead of dark. If you Google "leucistic loggerhead images," you can see some interesting pictures of this abnormality. This can be a partial condition and is similar to albinism but not quite the same and is sometimes seen in reptiles and birds that are partially white. Hatch success was 81.5% but emergence success was only 64%.

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Nest #22 Gina and Doug McQuilken discovered this nest on June 15 near Port O'Call condominiums. The 130 eggs incubated for only 51 days and again there were problems with 54 dead hatchlings in the nest. We don't know if they were affected by extreme heat or possibly heavy rain that could have killed them while still in the nest. We found 64 unhatched eggs, some with roots growing around them. Hatch success was 50% but only 8.4% of them made it out of the nest after hatching.

Nest #24 This nest was laid near the Seagrass Lane boardwalk in Dewees Inlet and dug up by coyotes before it was found on June 16 by Laura Lovins and Diane Troy. Out of the 116 eggs laid, we were only able to clean and salvage 78 which were moved to this location. This nest only incubated 51 days. We found 11 undeveloped eggs and 39 dead hatchlings in the nest. But the good news was that there were 7 healthy live ones in it. Because of the coyote damage the hatch success was 57.7% and emergence success was 18.1%. The hatchlings were released by Laura Lovins.

Nest #25 Was laid on the same date as #24 which was June 16. This one was found near the south end of Ocean Point by Allen Owens and Bryan Stevens. Unfortunately 77 dead hatchlings were found in the nest with 16 undeveloped eggs. The bright spot was that there was ONE live and healthy hatchling for Allen and Bryan to release to crawl to the water. Hatch success was a very respectable 87.7% but with 31.6% making it out of the nest.

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Three Inventories for IOP 

 

Three Inventories, one hatchling and a rain shower this morning that got us wet, but at least there was a rainbow.

Nest #15 at 25th Avenue was laid on June 10 and had incubated for 56 days and contained 95 eggs along with one very small yolkless egg. We found 89 empty eggshells, 5 undeveloped eggs and 8 dead hatchlings there. Hatch Success was 93.6%.

Nest #12 was dug up by coyotes on June 7 and contained 143 eggs. Only 47 of them were not destroyed that first night. They incubated for 58 days. We found 31 empty eggshells, 15 undeveloped eggs and one live hatchling which was released by Sue Googer, Linda Bettelli, Barbara Allen and Jane Powers to crawl to the water. Hatch Success on this nest was 21.6% because of the predation by coyotes.

Nest #14 was found on June 9 and incubated for 57 days. We found 94 empty eggshells, 18 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchling. Hatch Success was 84%.

 

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Nest #43 & #44 for IOP 

It was a surprise to have not one but two nests laid this late in the season and both in the same section. At first we thought one must be a false crawl but both had body pits and both contained eggs. These nesting loggerheads had almost the same size tracks.

Nest #42 was found by Ann Evans and Terri Stafford along with Ann's dog Jojo at the 33A Access Path. It was laid below the spring tide line and only contained 68 eggs instead of the usual 120 plus number. This is an indication that this is her last clutch of eggs for the season which is winding down. We moved them to a higher dune just north of the 30th Avenue path. Nest

#43 was found by Penny Portman and Rene Rivlin near 39th Avenue. It also was laid below the spring tide line low on the beach. There were 80 eggs in this one and an egg at the very bottom of the clutch was found to be broken and was used for our genetics sample. This nest was put near Nest 43 at 30th Avenue. Two late nests which might hatch and emerge at the same time this fall!

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Nest #13 & #16 on IOP Inventoried

 

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The people who attended the inventories at 5th Ave this morning were hoping to see some hatchlings released, but there were none left in either nest. Good for the loggerheads, disappointing for the onlookers. No genetics results have been reported on either of them. Here are the results:

Nest #13 - found on June 9 had hatchlings emerge after 54 days. The inventory showed out of 128 eggs there were 21 undeveloped eggs and one dead hatchling. Hatch Success was 82.8%.

Nest #16 - found on June 11 which incubated 53 days contained 88 eggs with 13 undeveloped eggs and no hatchlings dead or alive. Hatch Success here was 84%.

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BUT if you were lucky enough to be on the beach three days ago, you were lucky enough to see nest Nest #13 emerge in the daylight !

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Nest #4 on Sullivan's Inventoried

        

Nest #4 at Station 16 was a success story. After having a couple of hatchlings come out for several days previously, it finally boiled on Monday night after 57 days of incubation. It was found by Alex Garcia and Tracy Doyle on June 5 and 139 eggs were moved higher on the beach. Today we found only one unhatched egg and 4 dead hatchlings left in the nest at the inventory. This meant that the hatch success (after we took our sample egg) was 98. 5% and the emergence success was 95.6%. We wish all nests could do this well.

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Sebastian Garcia (Next Gen Turtle Team) Learns About Turtles

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Nest #41 for Isle of Palms

      

     

Nest #41: Just when we thought our turtles had laid all their eggs for the summer, another loggerhead crawled up at the north section of Beach Club Villas in Wild Dunes during the night. Tristi Lowther and Patti Horton discovered tracks that were 20" from claw to claw. The nesting mother crawled up on the dune but then came back down again to lay her eggs. If she had stayed at the elevated spot, we would not have had to move the eggs at all. But to keep them safe from fall king tides, 93 eggs were relocated to a suitable dune at that location. This nest probably won't hatch until the end of September or early October depending on the weather.

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Inventories at Nest #11 and #6 on IOP

      

     

Nest 6 was laid on May 31st and the nesting turtle was still on the beach when Andrea St Armand and Leslee Gordon discovered this nest. She had wandered all around and was finally resting on the nest, throwing sand around and then crawled back to the ocean after laying 88 eggs. Today we found 3 live hatchlings still in the nest who were ready to go and were released by Andrea. There were only 4 undeveloped eggs for a 94.3% hatch success.

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Nest 11 was laid high on the dune there on June 6 and was discovered by Linda Forslund, Lori Nelson, Liz Hartzell and Patti Porfelli. We discovered today that it was a large clutch of 142 eggs, and they did well. We found 130 empty eggshells, 11 undeveloped eggs, one dead hatchling and released 6 live ones. One of these had a rather convex plastron but he was able to crawl and used his flippers well as he crawled to the ocean. Hatch success was 91.5%.

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The Beginning of a Long Lonely Journey

 

 

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Inventories at Nest #9 and #5

      

     

Nest #9 at the Property Owner's Beach House just could not catch a break. First it was dug up by coyotes the night it was laid on June 4. Only 61 eggs out of the 112 laid were still whole when it was found. It incubated for 53 days and today we found 33 empty eggshells and 28 unhatched eggs along with 12 dead hatchlings. The unhatched eggs had quite a lot of small roots from dune plants growing on them which may have contributed to the poor hatch rate. However, we are not sure why there were 12 dead hatchlings or if the heavy rain could have been a factor. Because of all these problems the hatch rate was only 29.4%.

Nest #5 at 36A had been moved higher to get it above the spring tide line and out of the path of vehicles on the beach on May 30. This was a young loggerhead mother who only began to nest in 2019, skipped two years and is now nesting again in 2022. So far all her nests for both years have been in Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms. This nest incubated for 58 days and today we found 9 unhatched eggs and no live or dead hatchlings. Hatch success was a good 92.1%.

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Loads of Inventories

Great Inventories But No Live Hatchlings to Release 

     

Nest #7

Nest #7 at 616 Ocean on The Isle of Palms found by Karen Thompson and Penny Huebsch on June 1 was a major hatch success. Out of 137 eggs only 4 plus the DNA sample egg did not hatch. That means the hatch and emergence success out of the nest was 96.3%. Unfortunately, there were no healthy live hatchlings to be released today. Many thanks to Dan and Judy Cohen for the use of the dune at their house for incubation of Nests 7 and 8. 

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Nest #8 on IOP

The best inventory results this season were found this morning at Nest #8 at 616 Ocean Blvd. Dan Cohen spotted hatchlings early in the night on Sunday, but it did not seem that there were anywhere near even half of the number of eggs laid that night which was 126. However, it has been so windy that their tracks are erased within an hour or so, leaving no signs in the morning. We were a little concerned that we would find many unhatched eggs or even hatchlings dead or alive this morning. But there was only ONE undeveloped egg and all empty eggshells left behind. The enthusiastic and interested crowd did not get to see any turtles crawling to the ocean. This is one of our favorite turtles, Loggerhead 1415, who has nested more than 29 times since we started taking DNA samples in 2010 and she is apparently large (from her track size) and very healthy from the great hatch success of this nest at 98.4%. Congratulations to Aelecia Rideout, Bev Miller and Linda Thompson on finding such a successful nest on June 1st.

 

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Nest #3

Nest #3 on Sullivan's found by Jenn Gragg on May 30 was near the Sand Dunes Club path. It incubated for 58 days. Out of 110 eggs only 5 did not develop. Hatch Success here was 94.5% and again there were no hatchlings left in the nest at all. Our turtles are just too successful for any to be available for release! 

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Nest #40 On IOP

     

Nest # 40: Today Cindy Bergstrom, Patti Horton and Tristi Lowther found the 40th nest on the Isle of Palms. This has surpassed last season when the IOP ended up with 36 total. Sullivan's is tied with last season's count at 13. This nest was laid on the flat beach at Port O'Call in Wild Dunes and relocated to a spot at the Property Owners' Beach House near yesterday's Wild Dunes nest. It contained 73 eggs which is typical for the nests laid this late in the season and is probably the final one for this loggerhead who is likely to be running out of follicles to produce eggs. She has probably laid several other nests in Wild Dunes this year at two week intervals. One egg was found broken in the bottom of the clutch, possibly from the sharp seashells in the coarse sand that was pumped ashore to renourish the beach in 2018. It was used for the genetics sample, and we will receive the results this fall.

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Busy, Busy Morning for the Turtle Team

     

 

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Nest #39 On IOP (With the Turtle on the Beach)

     

This morning Janis James-Rubin and Sue White came upon a loggerhead near the Dunecrest Lane Access Path just as she was finishing her nest. She was lying there in her body pit throwing sand which is something that all nesting sea turtles do instinctively, perhaps to disguise the location of the egg chamber they have just laid and covered up. Janis and Sue were afraid that she was trapped and worried about her, but this was not the case. This turtle was, however, a little slower than normal when she crawled back to the ocean and appeared not to fully extend her front flippers when she crawled. But she made it safely into the waves. Her nest contained 124 eggs which were relocated nearby at the Wild Dunes Property Owners' Beach house where other nests are incubating on a good line of dunes.

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Two Inventories on Sullivan's Island

Nest # 1 at Station 26

     

     

Nest #1 at Station 26 was an amazing success. This was the turtle who was seen nesting near the boulders at the Breach Inlet bridge on May 20. We only found 2 undeveloped eggs out of 156 laid minus our genetics sample egg. Just before the inventory one last little group of hatchlings emerged from the nest on their own and since the tide was low and the sun was up and dogs running off leash, we let them crawl partway and then put them in a bucket. They were taken a little farther away from the main sandbar in that section and released to crawl the rest of the way by Mary Irene Delamater and Aussie Geer who patrol this section on Wednesdays. Hatch Success was 98%. This turtle has nested 25 times and probably many more before we began collecting her samples in 2010 and she lays huge clutches of very successful eggs.

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Nest # 2 at Station 16

     

     

Nest #2 at Station 16 did well also. It was found on May 24 by Raye Ann Osborne and Joanne Staton. Here there were 115 eggs that had been moved from the spring tide wrack line up into the dunes there. Out of these 13 failed to develop and hatch in addition to our genetics sample egg. This means that the Hatch Success was 87.8%. There was only one slightly deformed hatchling left in the nest and it was released by Choe Sultanian who lives at Station 22.

  

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Nest #38 On IOP

     

This morning Linda Tucker, Liz Firestone and April Nesbitt patrolled from 49th Avenue to the Property Owners' Beach House in Wild Dunes. Linda found a False Crawl at 58th Avenue where the busy Resort boardwalk and hotel are located. This turtle bumped into the trash barrels and turned around without digging or laying. But a little farther south Linda again found tracks near 56th Avenue. This time there was a good body pit and 125 eggs. The sizes of the tracks did not match with the nest tracks measuring 4 inches narrower than the false crawl tracks. It appears there were two turtles on the beach in Wild Dunes last night. The eggs were moved away from this wide, flat and sometimes flood prone section of the beach to a suitable dune near the 30th Avenue path for safe incubation.

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First the nest was located....and then the eggs 

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The eggs were moved to a safe location at 30th Ave.

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Nest #4 On IOP Inventoried

   

When we checked on Nest #4 that was laid in Dewees Inlet at the 17th tee and found by Laura Lovins and Holly Barron, we were happy to see that all but 3 eggs had hatched (plus one for DNA) but we were sad to find that there were 26 dead hatchlings and no live ones still in the nest. We think a possible reason for this was that there was so many heavy downpours of rain between the time they came out of their shells and before they got out of the nest. We have been told that this can cause a heavy influx of water just below the surface where we found these turtles. These hatchlings must have air to breathe and they can drown at this point in the process. It was sad to see and have none to release. Hatch Success was a great 96%, but Emergence Success was only 70.2%

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Meanwhile better news on Sullivan's

   

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One of the nests that's about due on Sullivan's emerged this morning, much to the delight of this morning's beach patrol 

      

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Nest #2 On IOP Inventoried

   

   

Inventory of Nest #2 at 5A showed that a total 142 eggs were laid by this turtle who is known as CC1415. She has been in the nesting database since 2010 and may have been laying eggs for decades before we started taking genetics samples in 2010. During her last two nesting seasons she has laid five nests exclusively on the Isle of Palms, so we are honored to have her back this season and now know that she also laid Nest #7 a block from this one which is coming up for hatching near the end of July. She probably has 3 more nests on our beach for which the results are not yet in.

Penny Huebsch and Karen Thompson discovered this nest and Penny released the solitary hatchling remaining in the nest this morning. We tried to create more order during the release by using the new system of PVC pipes and rope made by Stan Schwab since our last release was rather chaotic. It worked well in keeping people and dogs back and we plan to use it again. Final numbers on this nest were 133 empty shells, 1 DNA sample egg, 8 unhatched eggs and one live hatchling which crawled to the ocean. Hatch Success was 93.6% and Emergence Success was 92.9%.

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Nest #13 For Sullivan's 

   

Nest #13 should be called the "rainbow" nest. Cyndy Ewing along with Michael and Ashley Kirshtein were on patrol this morning when Cyndy found tracks at the Sullivan's Island Elementary School at Station 20. This was a larger turtle than we have been documenting this season with tracks measuring 26-27 inches between rear flipper claw marks. She laid 102 eggs on the flat beach, and they were moved higher onto a small dune at the same location. Maybe this was the pot of golden eggs at the end of the rainbow?

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This morning we had a bit of rain and wonderful rainbows 

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Nest #37 - A "Flying" Turtle

   

  

This morning Elizabeth Rast and Susan Lipsey found a strange set of tracks 17" wide from claw to claw at 606 Ocean Blvd. From a distance it looked as though she might be still up in the dunes or that she was what we jokingly call a "flying turtle" for not leaving two sets of tracks. But what was left on the beach were the outgoing tracks which were approximately 75 feet long. This meant that she laid her eggs on an outgoing tide and really took her time doing it. The short incoming tracks in the soft sand were hardly visible. She crawled into an elevated area on the primary dune with quite a few sea oats, and we discovered eggs there. Since the location was suitable, we did not dig into the egg chamber except to get our DNA sample. The nest will incubate there, and we will not know the number of eggs laid until the inventory in September.

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Nest #2 A Spectacular Daylight "Boil"

   

  

Nest #2 on Isle of Palms - A Spectacular Daylight "Boil." Last evening before dark on July 15, the Redd family from Aiken SC who were staying in the vacation rental house at 512 Ocean Blvd, noticed one hatchling coming out of Nest #2 which was laid on the beach right near their path to the ocean. They called the 800 hotline on the nest sign and reached SCDNR in Columbia. The DNR Radio Room contacted the Turtle Team and by the time we got there the ground inside the orange triangle was heaving and cracking because over 100 hatchlings were digging together and pushing up to the surface. A daylight emergence is unusual since they usually wait until sometime when it is dark. Perhaps our rain cooled air made them think it was dark outside the nest? Several neighbors such as Elizabeth Jackson and Dr. Rick Wagner who live in that block joined us and before long the hatchlings reached the surface and "boiled" out of the hole. It was good that there were caring and protective people there to make sure they all got to the water safely. They appeared to be strong and healthy. When they come out during the daytime, they are able to actually see the ocean and do not get disoriented by lights while trying to find their way start.

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First Inventory and Nest #36 today It's crunch time with new nests still being laid and now the May nests are beginning to hatch. Those turtles are keeping us hopping.

Nest #1 Inventoried

   

  

Inventory of Nest #1 The first nest of the season was laid on May 16 at the 5th Avenue Path and produced hatchlings sometime during the wee hours of Tuesday morning. We excavated it this morning and found that it was a great success. Out of 123 eggs laid only 4 were not successful. This includes our one DNA sample egg. Along with two dead hatchlings in the nest there were 3 live ones to release. Jane Solomon, Peggy Klimecki and Trisha Hoff did the honors of letting them go to crawl to the water since these team members discovered this nest. We have learned from our genetics research project that the turtle who laid this nest was a neophyte or first time nester in 2019 when she nested on Bulls, Capers and Pawleys Islands. Then she did not nest again until 2022 when she came to the Isle of Palms to 5th Avenue this May. It will be interesting to see if she has laid more eggs on our island as the results of more nests come in. Hatch success was 96.7 percent. We are off to a great start.

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Nest #36 for Isle of Palms

     

    

Nest #36 at 54th Avenue Louise Martin and Nicki Rambeau discovered tracks near 54th Avenue in Wild Dunes. This turtle laid 96 eggs on the flat beach there. They were relocated to an elevated spot near 36th Avenue for safe incubation.

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Nest #35 for Isle of Palms

    

Nest #35 at Ocean Point. Last night a loggerhead laid her eggs at Ocean Club Villas, a favorite spot of them. However, before Bryan Stevens(Thanks for the pictures of the nest), Laura Lovins and Holly Barron patrolled at dawn, coyotes had dug up the eggs and eaten all but three of them. There were 58 empty shells next to the hole on the beach. The three surviving eggs were taken to a dune two doors south of the 36A Access Path (which has been flooded for about two weeks now) and reburied to incubate. It is so sad when first night depredation occurs, but no one know where or when these turtles are coming ashore. Coyotes have been seen running up and down the beach at night, so there is not much that can be done to prevent this.

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An enormous hole was seen nearby on the beach that could have trapped this turtle or even caused her death.

   

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Meanwhile on Sullivan's, the Turtle Team needed to remove accreted sand to give the hatchlings a fighting chance to dig their way out of the nest.

    

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Nest #34 for Isle of Palms

   

    

Nest #34 at Ocean Point. Unfortunately, the coyotes found this nest during the night before Tristi Lowther and Paige Owens did early this morning. They dug up and ate 65 eggs out of the 105 that were laid. That means we had to find a new spot for the 40 that were not destroyed. They were taken south to a location just south of the 36A path for safe incubation. This is the 5th nest that has been disturbed by coyotes, all in Wild Dunes at the north end of the Isle of Palms.

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Nest #33 for Isle of Palms

   

   

Linda Forslund and Patti Porfelli found two sets of tracks this morning, a false crawl at 40th Avenue and Nest #33 just south of the 36A path. This turtle did not get very far above the high tide line on the flat beach before laying 82 eggs. This was a small clutch of eggs that also had two near the bottom that had abnormal calcium deposits and were found broken. Perhaps part of the shell was thin and caused this? The one with the more normal shell of the two was used for our genetics sample. The nest was moved to a higher and safe location at that same location. There was also a false crawl just north of 25th Avenue.

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Nest #12 for Sullivan's

   

   

Nest #12 for Sullivan's Island. For the second day in a row, Sullivan's has had the only nest found on our beaches. Madeleine McGee and Tommy Knisley were on patrol when Madeleine and her two Boykin spaniels Stoney and Millie found 24 inch wide tracks at the Dangerous Currents sign at Station 28 1/2. This loggerhead crawled up and bumped into the post with the station or street number on the beach, but she kept on going and laid 117 eggs at the base of a very steeply eroded dune with about 6 to 8 feet vertical drop off. This nest would not have survived next week's King Tides, so we moved it down the beach near yesterday's Sullivan's Nest 11 to incubate near Station 18. After the rain last night, we could look across Charleston Harbor and clearly see the individual houses on Folly Beach and the Morris Island lighthouse.

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Relocated to Sand Dunes Club near Station 18

   

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Nest #11 for Sullivan's

   

   

Nest #11 for Sullivan's Island. Maureen McNichols and Paula Brady found loggerhead tracks halfway between Station 18 path and the Sand Dunes Club path this morning. This turtle had climbed up onto a dune that had been damaged some by May's King Tides. But she got up off the flat beach. This spot was where the red tailed hawk ate some hatchlings that were coming out of their nest in the daytime two years ago. The field signs were not certain that there was a nest here, but we kept finding buried green broken dune vegetation when we dug for eggs, so we kept trying and were finally rewarded with discovery of eggs. Even though the egg chamber was elevated enough to leave the nest where it was laid, we are a little concerned about upcoming King Tides in July, August and September causing erosion and hope that we will not have to do an emergency relocation during incubation. We need everyone in the lower section of Sullivan's to keep an eye on it and let us know if the tide ever threatens it. Next King Tides will be July 12-15.

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False Crawls in Wild Dunes

   

 

 

 

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Nest #32 for Isle of Palms

   

   

Nest #32 for IOP.Today's tracks were discovered by Louise Martin, Debbie Kurtz and Nicki Rambeau at Seagrove Lane, next to the Grand Pavilion and Boardwalk Inn at the Wild Dunes Resort. At 10:45 pm last night the Isle of Palms police reported that a turtle was on the beach there nesting. The IOPPD stayed with the turtle until she finished nesting and was safely back in the ocean. We are told that there were crowds of people playing music and partying in that very busy part of the island. Someone said that the turtle was not even noticed until a man made his way to the ocean to urinate and came across her laying eggs. Kevin Lasher and others staying at Seagrove helped protect her and took photos with a night vision camera. Barb Gobien was able to get there, help control the crowd and check the turtle for tags as she returned to the water. This morning her 123 eggs were found near the high tide line on this flat section of beach and moved to a safe and quiet dune near the 30A Access Path. 

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Nest #31 for Isle of Palms

   

   

Nest #31 for IOP. This morning Meg Greiner from Croton on Hudson, NY and her sister Sarah Jaramillo from Clover, SC were out on the beach very early hoping to see a nesting loggerhead. They found the next best thing, a set of tracks very close to the path at 5th Avenue. We met Meg in 2016 when a loggerhead laid eggs during the July 4th fireworks show on the beach and her family was staying at 702 Ocean Blvd. She has followed our activities ever since and comes back and stays on the front beach here in the 700 block every summer. So she and Sarah are very familiar with what we do and how tracks look. This nest contained 105 eggs, but they were on the flat beach below the spring tide line and also where the authorized service trucks drive on the beach. We moved them to a good dune next door at 408 Ocean Blvd for safe incubation. Congratulations, Meg and Sarah and thanks for your help in counting eggs and photography with Nest #31! 

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Nest #10 for Sullivan's Island

   

   

Nest #10 for Sullivan's Island. Bob Snyder found tracks near Station 15, just north of Fort Moultrie this morning. They were the same size as the turtle seen going back to the water after doing a false crawl at Station 19 yesterday at 24-25 inches between claw marks. So maybe she returned last night? All but about 2 feet of the tracks had been washed away at the high tide line and she laid 119 eggs well below the heavy wrack piles at the spring tide line. For this reason they needed to be moved before another tide covered that spot. We took them to a good dune about three doors south of the Sand Dunes Club path and screened them for safe incubation.

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Nest #30 for Isle of Palms

(And great false crawl on SI)

   

In spite of the fireworks and crowds on the beach last night, three loggerheads crawled ashore to nest. But two returned to the water without laying their eggs.

Sullivan's Island False Crawl #12 was near the Station 19 path. When Karen Bartlett, Tita Massie and Joanne Staton were starting their walk around 6 am, they were surprised and delighted to see this nesting female just making it back to the water. It was a beautiful sight. Too bad there were no eggs. We hope she will come back.

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Isle of Palms Nest #30 was laid at the Seagrove walkway, just north of the Wild Dunes Boardwalk Inn at Grand Pavilion. Janine Davis and Ann Thompson discovered these tracks which led to a nest with 98 eggs. People had left a white tent on the beach nearby during the Independence Day celebration.

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Since there were no suitable dunes on this flat crowded beach, the nest was relocated to near the 30A Beach Access Path which happened to be flooded from the recent heavy rains.

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Another set of tracks the same size was also found at the north end of Ocean Club. This might have been the same turtle, but she turned around without nesting at this location.

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Nest #29 for Isle of Palms

   

    

Nest #29 At last the Isle of Palms is getting lots of rain after weeks of dry weather, but that did not stop a loggerhead mother from laying eggs out from the center of the Port O'Call condominium building in Wild Dunes during the night. The police saw her but reported the location as Seascape instead, so it took a long time to find the nest which had a branch stuck into the body pit. Fortunately the downpours in the wee hours abated long enough for us to be on the beach but rain was visible offshore. The rain had also all but erased the tracks which could not be measured. Arlene Southerland and Sue Widhalm were covering the north end this morning and Arlene's sharp eyes spotted very faint tracks where we were not looking because we were still at Seascape. We did not get Arlene's picture because she continued on her walk, kept her distance and has a case of COVID. We found 117 eggs on the flat beach that is prone to flooding and took them to a good elevated dune north of the 30A Access Path.

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Nest #9 for Sullivan's

   

    

Nest #9 for Sullivan's Island was found between Station 25 and 26 by Heather Harden. There were 110 eggs and they were moved higher to get them above the spring tide line for flooding and storms.

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Nest #28 for IOP

Nest #28 Karen Thompson and Penny Huebsch managed to dodge the rain showers this morning to discover loggerhead tracks a couple of doors north of the 6A path between 612 and 614 Ocean Blvd between the stairs of the dune walkovers for those two houses. This turtle had the same track measurement of 26" between rear flipper claw marks as many of the false crawls that have been made in that neighborhood for the last two days. So we are hoping that she finally found her preferred spot which was high enough on the dune this time to leave the eggs where they were laid. We will not know the number of eggs in the nest until the inventory but did get a DNA sample.

   

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A busy night for our loggerheads last night. There were three false crawls near the south end of the IOP near 7A, 6th and 3rd Avenues and two more nests.

    

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Nest #8 for Sullivan's

   

   

Nest #8 for Sullivan's Island. Karen Bartlett reported tracks and a nest near Station 22 while she was patrolling along with Mark & Mimi Lowman and Tita Massie this morning. Since it needed to be relocated higher on the beach, it was taken to incubate next to yesterday’s Nest #7 at the Lighthouse. There were 114 eggs in it including the DNA research egg.

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Nest #27 for Isle of Palms

   

   

Nest #27 for IOP. This nest at Ocean Point was found by Paige Owens, Cindy Bergstrom and Patti Horton. It contained 136 eggs that were relocated to a good dune at the 30A Access Path.

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Nest #7 for Sullivan's 

   

 

It is possible that the same loggerhead crawled ashore at the high scarped dune at Station 28 during the night and then nested farther down the beach. She turned around and did not lay eggs near the 28 path. But then tracks were made a couple of doors SW of the Station 18 path that were exactly the same size of 20" between rear flipper claw marks. Diane Brumley and Jenn Gragg found these tracks and there was a body pit that contained 131 eggs. They were relocated to a suitable dune at the Sullivan's Island lighthouse nearby.

Exciting news! We have gotten the very first genetics sample report back and it is from Nest #3 also found by Jenn Gragg at the Sand Dunes Club on May 30. This turtle also nested multiple times in 2016 and 2019. In 2019 she nested four times on the Isle of Palms. It will be interesting to see if she has any other nests on SI or IOP this season.

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Nest #26 for Isle of Palms

    

   

This morning’s Nest #26 was found by Debbie Kurtz and Louise Martin at 10 Beachwood East in Wild Dunes. Looked like another small turtle new to the nesting population. There were 125 eggs in all and they were relocated to a beautiful dune just south of the 30A Access Path for incubation 

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Nest #6 for Sullivan's Island

   

  

Nest #6 was discovered this morning by Ashley and Michael Kirshtein with their dog Hank who is two days away from celebrating his eleventh birthday! They were covering the north end of the island along with Cyndy Ewing. Those of us who had not been to Station 28 1/2 recently were shocked at the degree of erosion there near the north end of Sullivan's along with the extreme sandbar offshore. The dune face was chopped off 20-30 feet in height leaving no dry sand for nesting at high tide. This small loggerhead whose tracks measured 20-21 inches, came ashore a little north of the severely scarped area but the nest site was still on the flat part of the beach that is prone to flooding. So the 93 eggs she laid were taken to a suitable and safe dune a little northeast of the Station 26 Access Path.

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It was a wild and a busy night for our turtles with three nests laid on the Isle of Palms and a nest and a false crawl on Sullivan's Island. On World Sea Turtle Day our girls really produced!

A big thank you to Raye Ann Osborne, Diane Troy and Allen Owens for stepping up with wonderful photos of today's nests.

 

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Nest #23 for IOP 

  

   

Nest #23 was laid near the 3A path at the south end of the IOP in the spring tide wrack line. Susan Lipsey and Ed Peyser were covering that section when Susan reported the tracks. There were 132 eggs that were moved higher on a dune at 312 Ocean Blvd for incubation.

   

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Nest #24 for IOP 

     

Nest #24 was laid in Dewees Inlet between the Links Course 17th tee and the Seagrass Lane boardwalk and had already been dug up by coyotes by the time Laura Lovins and Diane Troy discovered the tracks. A coyote was seen on the 18th fairway by the Turtle Team as well. The turtle had laid 111 eggs in all and 38 of them had been broken and eaten. We removed the remaining 78 of them to be relocated and screened on a dune at Beach Club Villas.

   

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Nest #25 for IOP

     

Nest #25 was found near Ocean Club Villas at the south end of Ocean Point Drive also in Wild Dunes by Allen Owens and Bryan Stephens. This nest contained 139 eggs which were laid on the flat flood prone part of the beach. These eggs were also moved to the dune at Beach Club Villas.

   

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Nest #5 for Sullivan's Island

     

Meanwhile on Sullivan's Island Heather Harden and Rene Stauffer first came across tracks near Station 26 but it was a false crawl with no nest. But then they found Nest #5 for Sullivan's Island halfway between Station 26 1/2 and 27 where there was a huge clutch of 155 eggs. These needed to be moved to a spot higher on the beach and were relocated .

   

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Nest #22 for IOP

  

This morning's nest was found by Gina and Doug McQuilken at the north end of Port O'Call in Wild Dunes. It was close to the small scarped dune at the high tide line. Again, the tracks indicated a small female loggerhead, likely a product of several decades of nest protection and the resulting increase in their population. The egg count was 130 and they were taken to the dunes near the Wild Dunes Property Owners' Beach House for incubation. Gina has been working with the huge nesting project at Cape and Lighthouse Islands since 2005. She does this two days a week in addition to helping the Island Turtle Team on the Isle of Palms and usually finds and works on more loggerhead nests in one day that we see in several months. Thank you, Gina and Doug for sticking with us even though our numbers are so much smaller!

  

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Nest #20 & #21 for Isle of Palms

Another two nest morning along with a false crawl. This morning Anna Sharpe, reporter for the Moultrie News, came to watch our Turtle Team activity for an article in her paper. She was on patrol with Ellen Gower when they came across a false crawl near the 1A path at the beginning of their walk. 

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Nest #20 at 57th Ave. IOP

  

  

Then Janine Davis and Ann Thompson discovered and reported tracks near the 57th Avenue path in Wild Dunes. This turtle crawled over 100 yards to finally get to a dune there and lay her eggs. Since it was suitably elevated, we marked the nest to incubate in situ. We were fortunate not to break any eggs probing because the last eggs laid overflowed her egg chamber and were only a few inches below the surface. We tried to carefully move about six eggs a little deeper into the hole so they would not overheat. The nest was marked and screened where it was laid.

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Nest #21 for IOP

   

  

Meanwhile farther south on the Isle of Palms beach, Karen Oldiges, Lindsay Schoen and Kathy Magruder were covering the 9th to 30th Avenue section and spotted tracks one door north of the busy 21st Avenue path. This turtle was seen and photographed at 5:55 am by people on the beach to watch the sunrise. It was laid low on the flat sand and we found 138 eggs there. We moved them farther away from the path area and up onto a suitable dune near 2104 Palm Blvd. Lindsay is having a baby in July and was having false labor contractions this morning. Perhaps her body was influenced by the nesting female loggerhead? The tracks at 21st were the same size as the false crawl at the 1A path near Breach Inlet, so it was possibly the same turtle who was just finishing at sunrise.

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Nest #19 for Isle of Palms 

  

Nest #19 And another nest in the 30's on IOP. Linda Forslund and Lori Nelson found tracks at the 33A Access path this morning. A small loggerhead laid 110 eggs almost at the High Tide Line on the beach. Field signs were rather confusing because there appeared to be two possible body pits. We usually search for eggs in the final one made, but this turtle tricked us and the eggs were in the first body pit. Normally a turtle will head straight for the water when she finishes but not this one. Three of her eggs were found broken in the bottom of the clutch and one shell was used for our genetics research project in its 13th year. Since the nest had to be relocated higher on the beach, the eggs were taken to 37th Avenue and put near yesterday's nest at 37th Avenue. 

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Nest #18 for Isle of Palms

  

Nest #18 was found today by Richard and Gillian Ellis on the flat beach below the spring tide/King tide line near 57th Avenue in Wild Dunes. Richard then found another set of tracks about the same size about 3 houses north of 54th Avenue which may have been the same turtle making an earlier attempt to nest. She laid 131 eggs at 57th that we relocated to a good dune near 37th Avenue. We took the usual genetics sample and screened it for coyotes. This time last year the IOP only had 7 nests but in 2020 we had 14 nests. But in 2019 we had 26 nests. It does vary greatly from year to year and this one appears to be a normal one for us by current standards. In South Carolina 2,662 nests have been recorded this season.

  

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Nest #16 & #17 for Isle of Palms

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Nest #16

  

Nest #16 The first nest found this morning was near Breach Inlet at the 2A Access Path. Several people saw this turtle finishing her nest and returning to the ocean. Nancy Willms was patrolling that section along with her dog Hannah. Her house happens to be right at the 2A path. In 2020 a turtle laid eggs high on the path up to Nancy's porch. It will be interesting to see when our genetics sample results come back if this is the same one returning. It may not be the same one because this turtle's tracks were very small and she laid a small number of eggs, so she may be what is called a "neophyte" nester, just old enough to be beginning to lay eggs at about 25 years of age. The dunes at 2A near the inlet are eroded with about a two foot drop off. The nest was laid on the flat beach at the base of the chopped off dunes where high tides regularly flood, so we knew they had to be relocated to survive and hatch. She laid only 88 and they were taken and buried at the 5th Avenue Path along with Nests #1 and #13.

   

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Nest #17

  

Nest #17 Then Penny Gorby and Nancy Evans reported tracks on the flat beach at Ocean Club Villas at the north end of Wild Dunes. The tracks showed that this was a larger turtle. We are SO HAPPY that Nancy & Penny found this nest and not the Wild Dunes coyotes! This one contained 103 eggs which were moved to the dune at the Wild Dunes Property Owners' Beach House and screened for protection from coyotes.

  

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Nest #15 for Isle of Palms

  

Nest #15 was discovered 2 doors north of the 25th Avenue access path today by Kristina Rudd-Ostergaard and Susan Riley Chagrin. This loggerhead had crawled on either side of a large hole left on the beach and laid 95 eggs between the multiple tire tracks of trucks and other vehicles that are authorized to drive on the beach near the dunes. Among her eggs was one marble sized yolkless egg that was not counted as a real egg in the count and also one oval egg that looked more like a bird had laid it. We discovered that the eggs were just under the surface, in a much shallower location than a normal nest. One was broken and used for our genetics sample. To get the eggs to a safe place from vehicles and flooding tides, we relocated them about 50 feet higher onto a nice dune at the same location. It was screened for coyotes since some are known live near 25th Avenue.

  

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Nest #13 and #14 for Isle of Palms

Nest #13

  

This morning Ed Peyser spotted a loggerhead returning to the ocean after laying her eggs at the wrack line in the 5th Ave vehicular access path. He took a video of her. Ed Peyser and Susan Lipsey were covering the section from Breach Inlet to 9th Avenue. At first we wondered if it was the mother turtle from Nest #1 who laid at the same place returning for another nest, but since that one was 24 days ago, the timing was not right for a 2 week interval between nests. She crawled back out over her body pit and the mounded place which made seeing the spot where the eggs were buried more difficult, but we found the egg chamber quickly. But the spot was very unsuitable , so we moved this one higher on a dune there just as we had done with Nest #1. There were 128 eggs.

 

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Nest #14

  

Nest #14 was found by Jane Powers, Sue Googer and Linda Bettelli near the Citadel Beach House at 48th Avenue. This loggerhead unfortunately walked around in the restricted and marked off least tern colony there before laying her 113 eggs. At least the nest was undisturbed by coyotes. The eggs were relocated to 23rd Avenue. It's crazy to have one endangered species threatening the eggs and young of another endangered species!

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Nest #11 for Isle of Palms

 

Nest #12 was found this morning at Ocean Club Villas at the north end of Wild Dunes by Tristi Lowther, Patti Horten and Paige Owens. We are heartbroken to report that once again coyotes got to the nest in the night before the Turtle Team could and destroyed 96 of the143 eggs, leaving only 47 of them intact. This is the third Wild Dunes nest this week where this had happened. Coyotes have only recently moved onto our barrier islands and it had taken them a while to learn to find and eat loggerhead nests. We have expected this to happen and are so sad that it is becoming so common. The 47 viable eggs were relocated to 23rd Ave. for incubation and screened against coyotes.

 

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Nest #11 for Isle of Palms

 

 

The 36A Access Path seems to be a popular spot for our turtles to nest. Today’s IOP nest #11 was from the third turtle to lay eggs there in the last week. Lori Nelson, Patti Porfelli, Liz Hartzell and Linda Forslund discovered long tracks again today after finding Nest #5 there exactly a week ago. This nesting mother had to climb over a pile of wooden debris on her way back out after finding a good spot in the dunes high enough above the spring tide line so that we could just mark and screen the nest and not move the eggs this time. It's good that she did not encounter this wood on the way in, get discouraged and leave before laying. She retraced her steps below the high tide line when returning to the ocean. 

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Nest #4 for Sullivan's Island

 

 

On Sullivan's Island Nest #4 was discovered by Alex Garcia when she and Tracy Doyle were sharing the patrol. Alex spotted tracks and a body pit on the flat section of beach at the Station 16 Access Path. The nest of 139 eggs was moved higher on the beach at that same location to incubate.  

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Nest #10 for Isle of Palms 

 

Nest #10 for Isle of Palms was hit by coyotes before dawn just as Nest #9 nearby was the night before. It was laid in Wild Dunes at 8 Dunecrest Lane and when Gillian Ellis arrived she found a hole surrounded by coyote tracks and the shells from eggs that had been eaten. The good news is that the coyote(s) left 80 of the 143 eggs that were laid undamaged. We removed the 63 broken ones from the beach and carefully relocated the 80 intact ones to incubate next to yesterday's predated nest just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners' Beach house. We think the coyotes in that section run up and down the beach at night looking for nesting turtles and unfortunately have been lucky to find them two nights in a row.

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Nest #9 for Isle of Palms

 

Nest #9: Unfortunately, coyotes dug up loggerhead eggs at 18 Beachwood East during the night. This was a new nest and could have happened just after they were laid. April Nesbitt, Liz and Avery Firestone and Linda Tucker were on patrol this morning and discovered this sad situation. We have been told that raccoons will destroy EVERY egg in a nest, but coyotes are more likely to leave about half of them uneaten. That is what happened here. The turtle laid 112 eggs in all and 51 of them were found broken in or near the nest. The other 61 eggs were carefully removed. About six of them were carefully washed in the surf to remove the runny yolk that covered them. Then they were taken to a dune just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners'Beach House and marked with a sign showing that this is Nest #9. The nest was screened to protect from further disturbance. Granulated wolf urine was sprinkled around in an effort to deter coyotes. We are hoping to still get quite a few hatchlings out of this nest. 

 

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Big morning for the Turtle Team

Nest #7 & #8 for Isle of Palms

Nest #7 

 

 

Nest #7: The first call came from Karen Thompson who was covering the south end of the IOP along with Penny Huebsch. A nesting loggerhead had laid 137 eggs at the base of the primary dune near 622 Ocean Blvd. To avoid the flooding King Tides during incubation it was relocated to an elevated spot near 619 Ocean Blvd.

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Nest #8 

 

Nest #8: The second call came from Aelecia Rideout who was on patrol with Team members Linda Thompson and Bev Miller. They found tracks near 50th Avenue very close to the restricted least tern nesting area. The terns were very upset at the presence of people near the nest. At least the turtle didn't crawl into the roped off area! That would have made it VERY hard to relocate the eggs and she could have damaged tern nests. There were 126 eggs in that nest. One egg was found broken down in the clutch of them and was used for the genetics sample. To avoid more disturbance for the nesting shorebirds and to have a spot that was not on the flat beach, these eggs were relocated to a quiet dune at 619 Ocean Blvd to incubate next to Nest #7 also laid last night. Aelecia also reported a false crawl near 56th Avenue this morning in that same section. 

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Both Nests Relocated to a Safe Dune at 6th Ave.

 

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Nest #6 for Isle of Palms 

 

 

It's always exciting to see a nesting loggerhead on the beach at dawn. Leslee Gordon and Andrea St. Armand came upon a smallish adult female loggerhead whose shell measured only 31 1/2 inches this morning between the 35A Path and 36th Avenue. Her tracks only measured 22 inches, so she was possibly a young female just beginning to lay eggs. Our genetics sample from her will tell us if this is her first nesting season or not. She had finished laying her 88 eggs and was throwing sand to disguise the location of the egg chamber when we arrived. This is something they always do after they lay. She had traveled all over the beach making long tracks back and forth for a block long before choosing the perfect spot that suited her. We were able to measure her shell and scan her for embedded chips as she crawled back to the ocean. Stan Schwab analyzed the body pit and found the egg chamber on the very first probe! Because the spot was below the spring tide line on the flat beach, we relocated it to incubate close to yesterday's nest laid near there at the 36A path.

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Busy Morning for the Turtle Team

Our loggerhead mothers were busy on the night before Memorial Day laying eggs on both of our islands. Both of these turtles failed to get to the dunes on our very busy and developed beaches which are subject to flooding during King Tide cycles and driving by public safety personnel. 

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Nest #5 for Isle of Palms 

 

     

IOP Nest #5 for IOP was discovered near the 36A Access Path by Linda Forslund, Debbie Robinson, Liz Hartzell and Patti Porfelli. It was laid low on the flat beach below the spring tide line and would have been in the path of vehicles driven by the police and fire departments and the trash pickup contractor. There were 128 eggs that were relocated to the nearest suitable dune very close to the spot where they were laid for safe incubation.

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Nest #3 for Sullivan's Island

 

  

SI Nest #3 for Sullivan's Island was laid low on the beach at the Sand Dunes Club path between Stations 17 and 18. This one was discovered by Jenn Gragg and had 110 eggs. It was also moved to a suitable dune at that same location for safe incubation. We believe it is likely that this turtle crawled up near the Sullivan's Island Elementary School at Station 20 and changed her mind about laying there. These tracks with the same measurement turned around and went back to the water with no eggs laid. Cyndy Ewing reported those tracks which were documented as False Crawl #3 for Sullivan's

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Nest #4 for Isle of Palms

     

     

CONGRATULATIONS to Laura Lovins and Holly Barron, new Turtle Team members and both residents at the north end of the island, who found not only the first Wild Dunes nest but their first nest ever early this morning. This mother loggerhead whose tracks measured 20" crawled up on the beach in Dewees Inlet close to the Links Course 17th tee box and laid her eggs at the spring tide wrack line, a spot which would have flooded during incubation. It almost looked like only one set of tracks were made because she retraced her steps coming out of the water and going back in. And then the tracks disappeared because of windblown sand between the end of the tracks and where the eggs were found. However, the field signs were good with a well-defined body pit and thrown sand. So we knew eggs were there and it was not a false crawl. The nest contained 101 eggs which were relocated to a safer spot just north of the Wild Dunes Property Owners Beach House.

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Nest #2 for Sullivan's Island  

      

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Joanne Staton and Raye Ann Osborne just missed seeing this loggerhead mother returning to the ocean at 6:15 today. Some people on the beach did take her picture as she went back to the ocean about 150 yds north of the Station 16 path. Her 22" tracks showed that she wandered up to the scarped dune and wrack/high tide line and then back down on the beach only to return again and lay her eggs at the wrack line. We saw a coyote on the path as we went out to the nest. We found 115 eggs and two of them were joined together with another one being an oval shape. Two eggs were found broken deep in the clutch, so we used one of these for our genetics sample. They were moved to a more elevated and safer spot about 50 yds northeast of Station 16 and screened for coyotes there.

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Nest #3 for Isle of Palms

  

The third IOP nest was laid last night on the beach near the green house called "Casa Margarita" at 904 Ocean Blvd. Kathy Kowalchick was covering the whole section from 30th to 9th Ave and reported it after Susan Lipsey had noticed as she started her walk from 9th to Breach Inlet. Unfortunately it was laid on the flat beach where the first King Tide would have flooded it. It contained 106 eggs. It was relocated to a safer place just north of the 21st. Avenue path and screened for coyotes. We were expecting the mother loggerheads who prefer to nest south of the pier back this season after a rest in 2021 and so far all three of our IOP nests have been there.

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Nest #1 for Sullivan's

 

   

Nest #1 for Sullivan's this morning was truly an amazing find! Hampton Brand, a local artist, reported tracks right next to the Breach Inlet bridge at the Hunley Memorial on the SI side. This is well outside of our patrol area and only happens very rarely. The field signs made us think it was a false crawl with no eggs. We kept probing and finally found eggs among the buried boulders near the brush near the turnaround at the top of the crawl. It was an extra large clutch of 156 eggs that we decided to get out of the flood prone inlet with deadly currents that could sweep the hatchlings into the marsh and the Intracoastal waterway. We relocated this nest to a safe dune near the Station 26 access path and screened it for coyotes since they live near Station 26 1/2. Also the area between 26 1/2 and the inlet is undergoing some serious erosion issues at this time and might not be a good relocation area. There was a false crawl at Station 27 1/2 yesterday which may or may not have been this same turtles searching for a spot for her eggs.

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Nest #2 Isle of Palms

 

   

A loggerhead crawled up in front of the rental house at 512 Ocean Blvd at the 5A path last night and laid her eggs up on the primary dune, breaking off and burying some of the sea oats there. Penny Huebsch and Karen Thompson were on patrol and were pleased to see the suitable location of the nest and the very long outgoing tracks made as the tide receded, showing that the turtle spent a long time nesting. She also threw sand up onto and scoured out the side of the dune. We were able to find the top egg and leave the clutch where it was to incubate. Since turtles normally come back every second year to nest and in 2020 the majority of our nests were south of the pier, we expect that those same individual females will lay many nests again in this neighborhood. This was only a few doors from Nest #1 laid two days ago.

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First Nest for Isle of Palms

 

 

The first nest of the 2022 season was found this morning by Jane Solomon, Peggy Klimecki and Trisha Hoff at the high tide line in the 5th Avenue Vehicular Access Path on the Isle of Palms. It obviously needed to be relocated for both of those reasons. Barb Gobien, who was celebrating her birthday today, probed and found 123 eggs and they were moved to a suitable dune at that location. This turtle had rather small tracks measuring 22-23" across. A genetics sample was taken and we hope to see her again in two weeks. We are all happy to have the season begin successfully.

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2022 Season starts with a False Crawl on Sullivan's

 

Andrea and Chuck Kelly discovered the very first tracks of the year near Station 26 this morning. Michael Kirshtein was also in on the find while walking his dogs near his house at 26 1/2. Unfortunately the large loggerhead (tracks measured 25-26") turned around when she hit a dip behind the small dune before getting to the taller primary dune. So she turned around without laying eggs. We did mark the tracks with large X's to show they had been documented as False Crawl #1. The season has begun.

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2022 Season starts on May 1 Officially

 

 

 

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