Turtle Patrol Report for the Week Ending June 4

The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol stayed busy this week and have identified new nests on 10 consecutive days as of Friday, June 4.

Saturday, May 29 – Nest 11

Karen Sewell and Betsy Quinn walking Zone 2 called in the long, beautiful crawl. Joshua Shilko probed and found a nest of 132 eggs, which were relocated above the high tide line. Similar to the ‘step nest’ last week, this mama bumped into a private boardwalk while finding the right spot to deposit her eggs.

Sunday, May 3 – Nest 12

The excitement started just as it became daylight when early morning beach goers had the privilege of watching a mama turtle return to the water after laying her eggs. After mama was safely back in the water, Mark and Valerie Doane followed her tracks to probe for eggs. They were surprised to find two eggs on top of the sand and decided to hand dig Nest 12. Two more eggs were found an inch or so from the surface, then all the other eggs were located at a typical depth. The nest was below the high tide line and 125 eggs were relocated on Zone 4. Diane and John Woychick were our Zone 4 walkers today.

Monday, May 31 – Nests 13 and 14

It was a happy, busy morning on the beach. Cool weather brought a mama into Zone 3 just north of Boardwalk 2 around 10:15 pm. A concerned beachgoer noticed the mama had come ashore and called Turtle Patrol as there were still two groups with bonfires going nearby. Turtle Patrol responded and educated the remaining bonfire attendees who were very respectful and extinguished their fire. The mama was able to nest successfully while Turtle Patrol gathered data for submission to the DNR. If you encounter a nesting sea turtle on the beach, please keep your distance, attempt to stay out of the turtle’s field of view, and use only red lights.

Walkers Mike Vinson, Rob Jerome, Gary Holtz, Bonnie Bohme and Catherine Scully along with Gary’s son Patrick called in the crawl in the morning. Bill Nelson responded and the 142 eggs from Nest 13 were moved further back on the beach.

Kim Neath, Melissa Andrews, Sarah Dewey and Julie Minch were ready to call in on Zone 4 with “no activity” when they spotted a promising crawl all the way at the end of the spit. This mama was very good at hiding her eggs. Multiple probers spent considerable time searching for the nest. Ultimately, Bill Greubel found Nest 14 with 97 eggs which were relocated closer to Boardwalk 1.

Tuesday, June 1 – Nests 15, 16, and 17

June began with more busy fun on the beach with three crawls leading to Nests 15, 16 and 17. The first call came in before 6:00 am from a beach goer, Barbara Long, out early to enjoy the sunrise. She called Turtle Patrol and while talking with the dispatcher, she saw the Zone 3 walkers Bill and Linda Nelson, Tory Kindley, Ginger Seabrook and Patt Tamasy in the distance. When the turtle patrol members arrived, they discovered the large mama was still laying her eggs just North of Boardwalk 3. Judy Morr and Lesley Gore found 140 eggs for Nest 16 which were relocated to a safer area.

Meanwhile another call came in from Vicky and Bob Becker and Marnie Ellis on Zone 2 reporting a crawl just south of Boardwalk 6. Jane Magioncalda and Sandy MacCoss probed to find 133 eggs in Nest 15, which was relocated further back from the original site.

During all this excitement, Zone 4 walkers also called in a crawl past the bird protection area near the dolphin box. Mike Vinson probed to find 120 eggs in Nest 17, which Zone 4 walkers Lynda Zegers, Lori Porwoll, Francie Segal, Pam Salvestrini, Ruby Jenkins and Mary Van Deusen helped relocate. 

Wednesday, June 2 – Nest 18

JoAnne Lewis and Gail Koornick had to walk all the way to the dolphin box on Zone 4 to find a crawl which went up into the dunes. Mike Vinson and Joshua Shilko probed the area and found 124 eggs which were relocated.

Thursday, June 3 – Nest 19

Zone 3 walkers Karen Preston, Lynne Madison, and Pixie Hider called with a crawl and small body pit halfway between Boardwalk 2 and 3. Sandy MacCoss and Jane Magioncalda responded and found the shallow nest. It was moved back further on the dune.

Friday, June 4 – Nests 20, 21, and 22

Zone 3 walkers Jane Magioncalda, Joe Ficarra and Sandy MacCoss were the first (and second) callers. They first had a crawl just north of Boardwalk 6 where the mama turtle ran right into the trash can. Bill Greubel and Amanda Shilko responded and found Nest 21 with the 139 eggs which were moved away from the trash can.
Their next call was with a crawl at Boardwalk 3. The Doanes responded and found Nest 20. The 118 eggs were moved further back on the dune.

J-Anna Smith, Anna Wechter and Annaliese Dorante were the lucky Zone 4 walkers. Judy Morr and Leslie Gore responded, and Bill Greubel came to assist and found Nest 22. The nest was able to be left in situ.

-Submitted by Josh Shilko

(Image credit: Turtle Patrol)