The first nest of the season for our northern Outer Banks turtles!  Congratulations to new ATV rider Dolly on finding this Loggerhead turtle’s crazy set of tracks and nest site.

Incoming tracks and nest site

Note the incoming tracks, small depression and mound of sand where the turtle’s eggs were located.  This first small depression prior to the nest might have been where she first wanted to put the nest but then changed her mind and moved forward to a site she liked better.

Unlike most turtle nests, her final nest site lacked a distinct body pit in front of the mound of sand.  The body pit is a depression in the sand made by the mother turtle as she sits and digs her nest with her back flippers.  It appears she may have even spun around the nest site which further hid her movements.  But it didn’t fool our responding team.  They very quickly and on their first attempt, located the egg chamber in the mound of sand.

Egg Chamber located

 

Close up of eggs in the nest

As this nest was laid too close to the ocean tide line or where the ocean water at high tide would wash over the nest, it had to be relocated closer to the dune.  Our Lead Responder Sherri dug a hole with the same dimensions as the original nest and carefully placed the eggs back into the nest in the same order as they were found.

Placing turtle eggs into the newly dug egg chamber

There were a total of 126 eggs in the nest.  Loggerhead eggs are round and very similar to a ping pong ball.  In this nest they found an anomaly where one of the eggs was not the normal size and shape but rather oblong and larger than the other eggs.  Below is a picture of this unusual egg.

Abnormal egg found in the nest

Finally, momma turtle was ready to return to the ocean but seemed to take the long way home.  She may have gotten stuck in the deep ruts made by trucks on the 4 wheel drive beach.  Eventually she gathered her strength and plowed through the ruts to return to the ocean and relax.  Congratulations to our awesome team of NEST responders – you are #1

Nest #1 responding team

 

  • nest number: 1
  • town: Carova
  • date eggs laid: 06/12/2021
  • actual emergence date: 8/11/2021
  • live hatchlings: 111
  • total eggs: 126

See all active nests