ATV Turtle Patrol rider Denise L came upon a newly laid Loggerhead turtle nest. Below is a picture of the tracks and nest site of this Loggerhead turtle.
The Responding Team, led by Tony P, assemble around the nest to analyze the turtle’s movements. The team uses clues like the turtle’s tracks, the body pit she left while laying eggs, and the area of thrown sand to locate her egg chamber.
The team forms a plan and gets down to work digging – literally.
The search for eggs widens and more people jump in to assist with digging. This momma turtle did a great job hiding her eggs. The entire mound of thrown sand is explored and finally Ginny R locates the eggs! The crowd of volunteers and visitors cheer.
Once eggs are found, team members split into groups, tackling various other duties. One volunteer records data about the nest site. Another group of volunteers works to add data loggers in and around the nest. These data loggers record hourly temperatures in the nest and help us narrow down when a nest might hatch. Sea turtle embryo’s develop quicker if the average temperature of the nest is warmer.
Lastly a group of volunteers places stakes and flagging around the nest site for protection. More measurements are taken. We mark the height of the sand on the stakes. Later in the season with fall storms, we can get piles of sand on top of a nest. These markings let us know where the sand level was prior to the wind adding additional sand. We use whatever is available to mark a nest as we work – today it was someone’s coffee cup, or did the turtle leave it after she finished nesting? Turtles expend a lot of energy to pull themselves onto the beach, crawl to the dune, dig a large hole, lay eggs, throw sand and then head back to the ocean.
Shout out to our Pennsylvania family who cheered us on, and for Tori who helped with our DNA egg collection. And a great big thank you to all the volunteers who showed up today to help with Nest #20!
- nest number: 20
- town: Corolla
- date eggs laid: 07/11/2023
See all active nests