Our turtle nesting season is well underway, with the first nests beginning to hatch. We do need walkers to be on the beach in the evenings to check nests– please see Gary if you are interested. We have a total of 14 protected nests on the beach right now, and we are so grateful for all of the walkers and observers who are helping us with turtle conservation.
Here is a recap of the season– which we will update as we have more information.
Discovered on June 6 by Bob, the nest was named Jill-Bob since Jill had found a false crawl the day before. It was located just North of Osprey walk, with a V-V measurement of 22 inches. The first hatchlings emerged on July 29. We inventoried this nest on Sunday, August 1, at 7:30. We were delighted to find that almost all of the hatchlings had made their way to the sea. There were three unhatched eggs, two dead hatchlings, and the remainder of the 118 eggs were accounted for with eggshells, signifying that this was a very successful hatch.
Nest 2. Our farthest crawl from the boardwalk, this nest was north of the shoal.
Named for Gary, the nest was left “in situ.” The nest was found on June 10, and hatched on July 31, when Gary found 50+ tiny tracks leading to the ocean. We inventoried the nest last night and were perplexed to find that there were lots of eggs, at least half the nest, that hadn’t developed. They had the appearance of a nest that had seen a washover, but this was high upon the dune. In addition, there was a dead leucystic hatchling that either had no fully formed shell or a white, soft shell. Interesting that whatever prevented over 50 eggs from developing did not seem to affect the half of the nest that hatched.
Nest 3. “Jane” is just North of Osprey. It was found on 6/14 by Jane and relocated. This nest is currently sporting a green sign that lets us know it will hatch soon. If you are down on the beach in the evening or night, please be aware that hatchlings may be making their way to the ocean and watch your feet. If you notice activity, please call us. The inventory will be scheduled for 3 days after first evidence of hatching. (52 days will be today, August 4).
We had a good crowd up at the nest last night, waiting and watching. Tips for watching a trutle hatching: Be very quiet. Set up your observation spot far from the nest, and sent a quiet volunteer back to check every so often. No bug lotion– wear long pants and sleeves. Bring water. Only use a flashlight with red lights so as not to disrupt your night vision or that of the turtles. Nest 3 did not hatch last night, though we could swear we saw a concave spot.
Nest 4. “ReggieBob” found on 6/17 by Reggie. It is just north of the Ancient Dunes Boardwalk. The nest was left in situ, so we don’t know how many eggs are there. The V-V measurement for this turtle was 20″. Estimated hatch date range (46 – 58 days) is August 3 – 10. There is a green flag signaling imminent hatching there too. (52 days is August 7).
Nest 5. “Courtney” found by intern Courtney on the North End on June 23. The nest was relocated to the sand bar area and is closer to Osprey Walk than Nest 2. The v-v measurement was 19 inches. There were 91 eggs. Estimated hatch range is August 10- 17, with 52 days at August 13.
Nest 6. “Rita”. On her FIRST day walking on June 24, Rita found a nest immediately. The nest was left in situ just south of Osprey Walk. This was a curious one to start with– the nest had been dug into by some sort of canine. 3 eggs were broken and left on the surface. Our initial sense was that a small dog had done the digging, but subsequent patterns may point to a fox. We cleaned up the broken eggs and caged the nest. The next day, there was another home where another (or the same) canine had dug into the hole. We extended the caging, and there has been no activity there since. Estimated hatch range is August 11- 18, with 52 days at August 14.
Nest 7, “Fio”. Named for the Fiorino and Fiorenzo families, renting from New Jersey, who also found a nest on their first day walking on July 9. The nest is near Marshmallow walk, and was below the spring tide mark in a low area. We relocated 130 eggs to a higher area. V-V measurement of 21.5″ Estimated hatch range August 26 – September 3, with 52 days at August 30.
Nest 8, “Fiona”. Our youngest nest discoverer so far, Fiona got up early to accompany her grandmother Jane on her Monday walk. Fiona found the nest on July 12, and there was a rather distinctive 2 barnacle track. Near Ancient Dunes, the nest has an estimated hatch range of August 29 – September 6, with 52 days at September 2.
Nest 9, “Anne.” Found by Anne and Jim on their regular Thursday walk on July 15, nest 9 is way around the South end by the Riley’s dock. It, too, was well investigated by a fox, who dug a hole into the top of the body pit, but did not encounter eggs. The egg chamber was about a foot away from the fox disturbance. The lateral gait and particular track made us pretty sure that it was a fox. The nest was left in situ, and is scheduled to hatch between September 1 and 8, with September 5 being 52 days.
Nest 10: “Art-Gin”. Art and Ginny found nest #10 just south of Needlerush on July 16. It was left in situ, and the v-v measurement was 20″. The fox had again investigated the tracks. The hatch date range is September 2 – 9, with 52 days at September 6.
Nest 11, “Judy”. Found on July 21 near Needlerush, the track showed some sort of missing flipper. One egg had been left out of the nest and was on the surface, undamaged. (Consistent with missing flipper). The nest was extremely shallow (2-6 inches), so we built a dune around the nest and caged it away from predators. Estimated hatch range September 7- 14, with 52 days at September 11.
Nest 12, “Melinda”. Also found July 21 named for Melinda walking the North Beach that day. Located in a low washover area at Ancient Dunes, the 112 eggs were relocated to higher ground right near Ancient Dunes. The original site has since been washed over, so we are feeling good about that decision. Estimated hatch range September 7- 14, with 52 days at September 11.
Nest 13, “Mary/Molly” Found by Mary and Molly on their first day of walking, nest 13 is located near Ancient Dunes. There is something off kilter about the track. The nest was relocated to the higher dunes in the same area. The nest was found on July 22. Estimated hatch range September 8-15, with 52 days at September 12.
Nest 14, “Jill” was found by Jill just south of Osprey walk on August 3. It was relocated to higher ground and 105 eggs were relocated. The track had an offset gait, with a v to v measurement of 22″. Estimated hatch range September 21 – 27, with 53 days on the 24th of September.