Nest sitting team 4 was just setting up and settling in for a night of nest sitting when a group of visitors came by. They discussed the activity for a while and the visitors continued on their way. A while later, they came back by and asked who was watching the nest down the beach “where all the little hatchlings are spilling out of right now?”! Shocked, the team ran down the beach to discover what we call a “wild nest”. That is a nest that wasn’t discovered when it was first laid. It is estimated that on any patrol beach, 10% of nests are undiscovered. With rain, wind, and tides often obscuring evidence of nesting turtles, they leave behind these “wild nests” that sometimes get discovered if people are lucky enough to pass by when hatchlings make their run. This mother turtle had left a clutch of eggs high up on the dune between the sand fence making it an even more challenging nest to find but helped to keep it protected.
Three nights after the emergence, the team returned and did an excavation. We discovered a clutch size of 131 eggs with only two eggs that did not develop. It had incredible success of 95% hatch rate! The live turtles that remained in the nest were released after dark by the team.