The NEST hotline gets a call from a guest that a sea turtle has left a huge body pit and nest site on the beach.  A second guest reported to the responding team that when he came out early to watch the sunrise, he noticed an animal creeping towards the ocean and upon closer inspection it was our sea turtle mom.  The best surprise was that this was a Green sea turtle nest.  Most of the turtles that nest on our beaches are Loggerheads so it is always exciting to see a Green Turtle nest.

Green Sea Turtle nests have large body pits as seen in this photo

We can tell it is a Green Sea Turtle when the flipper tracks are parallel from each other.  When the turtle mom comes onto land she pushes her front flippers in front and pulls her body forward, sort of like swimming the breast stroke.  She also leaves a large body pit as Green Sea Turtles are the largest of the hard shelled sea turtles.  The last clue is that Green Sea Turtles are  experts at throwing lots of sand over a wide area and hiding her nest.

Unfortunately this turtle nest was below the high tide line and would need to be relocated closer to the dune.  Especially because these later summer nests are exposed to some fall storms with very high tides that can deprive the nest of oxygen as water washes over the nest for longer periods of time.

The turtle mom hid her egg chamber so well, the responding team spent a great deal of time digging holes and then craters trying to locate her nest.  But with a lot of perseverance, the eggs were finally found!

The white dot represents where the egg chamber was finally located – a bit closer to the body pit then expected

Data was collected on the first nest and duplicated at a second site up closer to the dune.  The eggs were carefully collected by nest responder Katherine and moved to their new site along with some of the sand from the first site.  Once they were all tucked into their new site we finished putting up the protective posts and marking off the site.

A huge thank you to the guests on the beach (Paul, Nick, Adam, Sonya,Tristan, and Tanya) who helped us to dig the new nest site as we gathered eggs, filled in the original nest site and carried gear back to our cars (the responding team was exhausted).

Responding team Marissa and Debbie show off new nest site #21.

 

  • nest number: 21
  • town: Corolla
  • date eggs laid: 07/17/2020
  • total eggs: 104

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