Our ATV drivers head out at sunrise in search of sea turtle tracks on the beach. We go early before the evidence a turtle leaves in the sand is erased. Once an ATV driver finds a nest site, they mark off the area to preserve some of the tracks and the nest site.
The wonderful team of women who man our 24 hour hot line put out a call to response team members notifying them a nest has been found. Team members rush over to the site to confirm a nest with eggs exists. They collect data, and secure the nest site.
This Loggerhead sea turtle mom exited over top of her nest making it even more tricky to pinpoint where the nest chamber was located.
Responder Emma, who found yesterday’s nest chamber on her first attempt, tried her luck on this more difficult nesting site. Once again she found the eggs on her first try! We think she has a special connection with our turtles or some kind of magic egg finding power. The white rope circles the area where team members think the nest is located. When a turtle lays eggs, she burrows down as she digs the hole leaving a nice body pit. Behind the body pit you will find thrown sand piled up where momma turtle covered up the nest. She is trying to hide it from predators.
Once the egg chamber is found, team members add data loggers that capture the hourly temperature inside and next to the nest. Since sea turtle development is based on temperature, we monitor the average temperature of the nest over time to determine approximately when it may hatch. A hotter nest will develop faster than one that is cooler. Many of our late summer nests take a very long time to hatch or may not hatch at all due to colder temperatures. The picture below shows our team member removing a few eggs and adding a data logger into the middle of the nest. The removed eggs are gently placed back into the nest similar to how they were found. The the nest site is covered back up.
The nest site is then secured with four small stakes, string and flagging. Team members smooth out the surface and we wait approximately 2 months for the eggs to develop into little hatchlings that will dig their way out of the sand and head for the ocean. Congratulations Nest #10 Team Responders!
- nest number: 10
- town: Corolla
- date eggs laid: 06/17/2022
- actual emergence date: 8/23/2022
- live hatchlings: 22
- total eggs: 102
See all active nests