Sometimes there is no other way to describe crazy but crazy. This active mother loggerhead not only crawled up and down the beach making several U turns but also created what looked like a second nest! ATV driver Paul K found the nest and stayed around to do a wonderful job of educating visitors. Paul was riding one of our brand new ATVs!
Early Wed evening on Aug 5th, John, the nest parent went to listen to the nest with his hydrophone to see how much progress nest 4 was making. After hearing a few faint waterfall sounds (sounds of hatchlings moving around under the sand), a 4″ wide sink hole formed. John then called for reinforcements and together they heard occasional waterfall sounds for a while followed by silence.The Acoustic Monitoring Project team arrived at 10 PM and stayed to record sounds for a while.
Early Thursday morning John returned to the nest and discovered the nest had been dug up by at a fox. Strewn around the nest site were a number of completely empty shells and a few eggs that had been ripped open but still contained egg white and yolk. John eventually identified 27 hatchling tracks leading all the way to the water. Curious tourists found two hatchlings out on the beach.
After talking to Karen Clark, our Science Advisor, John started to excavate the nest and immediately found a number of empty shells typical with an emergence, a few ripped open eggs containing undeveloped egg white/yolk, and two hatchlings. Further excavation revealed more empty shells, 5 pipped eggs (shells cracked open with hatchlings still inside) and an unknown number of unhatched eggs below them. At this point, the nest was reburied in hopes the rest of the nest would emerge normally.
The Nest #4 team monitored the nest on Thurs – Sunday nights and did not hear or see any activity. Karen Clark decided to excavate the nest on Monday evening, August 10th. During the excavation they discovered 15 live hatchlings, one dead hatchling, and 10 unhatched eggs. its important to note that hatchlings generally stay beneath the sand for several days before emerging from the nest.
The final statistics for Nest 4 are 42 live hatchlings to ocean, 70 empty shells, 14 eggs damaged by fox, and 10 unhatched eggs. Despite all the challenges Nest 4 was still a successful nest!
- nest number: 4
- town: Nags Head
- date eggs laid: 06/11/2020
- actual emergence date: unknown due to fox predation
- live hatchlings: 42
- total eggs: approx 94 some fox predation
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