As soon as the curfew was lifted post Hurricane Dorian, NESTers were out checking on nests including Nest 22. From the steps at the top of the dune, volunteers could see the only thing left at the nest was the deeply buried rebar used to secure our monitoring equipment. The stakes were gone. Since several feet of rebar were exposed, they knew nearly two feet of sand and likely the nest had been wash away.

Volunteers used the rebar and the orientation stakes to find this single egg about an inch beneath the sand. Since Nest 22 had been relocated, they knew there were originally 106 eggs in the nest. Photo by Jan M

With some detective work, nest parent Jan M found a single egg beneath an inch of sand! Were there more eggs beneath it? Should sand be added to the top of the nest?  Our Science Advisor, Karen Clark, suggested some sand be added to the top of the nest and which Jan did. Her team soon began watching over the nest hopeful that some hardy hatchlings would make it to the ocean. Jan’s team constantly fought the wind and over wash of the King Tide that occured after Dorian.

The nest stakes were replaced and Jan’s team prepared to protect the nest from further damage. Photo by R. McCormick

The berm to help protect the nest from over wash was built by Jan’s team of hardy and determined volunteers. Infra red photo by R. McCormick

Volunteers at Nest 22. Photo by R. McCormick

Yes hard work does pay off. Volunteers saw 6 hatchlings emerge from the nest and make it safely to the ocean!!  A few days later at excavation, they found 6 empty shells and one undeveloped egg.  We feel certain some of these hardy hatchlings will grow up and return to the Outer Banks!