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It was a very busy day for our Corolla ATV driver who found 2 nest sites on his early morning run.  The northern Outer Banks Beaches has seen a lot of activity by sea turtles wanting to nest here this summer.

The picture below gives a great aerial view showing where the mother turtle came onto the beach.  She was a no nonsense turtle that headed straight for the dune.  At the dune line she created a nest chamber and deposited a multitude of eggs.  A Loggerhead sea turtle will lay an average of 80 – 120 eggs per nest.  Also notice the turtle’s tracks stop above the water line.  This sea turtle nested when it was a higher tide.  She left the beach and went into the water where her tracks stop.  The water continued to go out (low tide) which makes it looks like her tracks magically disappear before the ocean’s water line.

Overview of the Loggerhead sea turtle tracks

After laying her eggs, our sea turtle mom covers up the nest by patting and throwing sand back over the eggs.  Below is a picture of this sea turtle’s nest site.  Notice the large body pit she created as she worked to lay her eggs deep in the sand.  Behind the body pit is the mound of thrown sand where her nest is hidden.

Nest site showing a large body pit and mound of thrown sand

Below is a close up of this loggerhead turtle’s tracks.  The smooth middle is her underside (plastron) dragging up the sand.  It looks like someone dragged a cooler up the sand.  The outer comma marks are her flippers digging into the sand as she pulls herself forward.  A Loggerhead turtle moves up the beach like she is doing the crawl when you swim.  She stretches out and pulls with her right front flipper and then does the same with her left front flipper.  This creates the alternating flipper zig zag pattern you see below.

Close up of a Loggerhead sea turtle track

What is really fun to see is the baby hatchling’s tiny little tracks when they head for the ocean after digging up 2 feet or more from under the sand.  But we will have to wait a couple of months before these little ones will appear.

 

 

  • nest number: 14
  • town: Corolla
  • date eggs laid: 06/26/2022

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