Nest 20 down in South Nags Head turned out to be a real head scratcher for an unusual reason – we aren’t 100% sure if it was laid by a green or loggerhead sea turtle. Green and loggerhead sea turtle nests are usually easy to differentiate by looking at the pattern of their crawl as greens have opposing tracks with a defined tail drag mark in the center and loggerheads have diagonal step pattern tracks. Another clue is the big messy nests of greens laid up in the dunes. NEST seasoned ATV rider, Ricky J, found the nest.  Here is what he saw:

The incoming track is on the right. Mother turtle came on the beach during a hard rain so the tracks are not as distinct as the out going crawl on the left.

Hmmm big messy nest in the dunes and looks like opposing crawl.  That would be a green nest – right?  Next comes seasoned responders Peggy C and Margaret J.  It seems like a green but part of this crawl looks like the steps are on a diagonal.

So what do you think?  After consultation with Science Advisor, Karen Clark, and numerous other experts the consensus is ????? its probably a green sea turtle nest but maybe not. We hope whoever is the nest parent on this nest takes plenty of pictures of the hatchlings so we can verify it is a green sea turtle nest by the number of scutes on the carapace of the young turtles.

Beach goers support NESTers looking for eggs

Eggs found on first attempt 3 feet from the body cavity

Team 20 installs data loggers and stakes off nest.

Ace Team 20: Peggy C, Lori M and Beth H


  • nest number: 20
  • town: Nags Head
  • date eggs laid: 07/27/2021
  • actual emergence date: 9/23/2021
  • live hatchlings: 109
  • total eggs: 117

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