Turtle Patrol Report May 28 – June 3

This week has been filled with unusual beach finds, sometimes challenging weather, a nesting turtle’s shenanigans, high tides and one crew of walkers going far above and beyond when it comes to keeping our beaches clean. We also have a new nest, bringing our total to 4 for the 2023 season. 

May 28, 2023
In spite of the fair weather and reasonable tides, nothing new was found other than some large debris on the North beach area. The Seabrook Island Beach Patrol assisted with removal.

Nest #4, May 29, 2023
Mike Vinson, Rob Jerome, Catherine Scully, Ed Harris, Cary Wiggins and Bonnie Bohme were the lucky walkers that found the Momma turtle while she was still laying the nest near Boardwalk 3. The turtle lingered long enough that quite a few beach goers were fortunate enough to witness the miracle from a respectful distance. Mike Vinson, who is specifically authorized by the Department of Natural Resources, was able to measure the turtle on her way back to the ocean. Her carapace (top shell) measured 38” long and 30” wide. Our crew moved 150 eggs to higher ground in the dunes near Boardwalk #3. I like to think this affirmation of life is a fitting tribute to all those who have served and sacrificed for our country on this Memorial Day. Please see the photos that were contributed by one of Seabrook Island’s favorite photographers, Glen Cox.

May 30, 2023
We had no specific turtle related activity today; however, that doesn’t mean our walkers aren’t doing anything. One of our most important duties is to help inform other residents and visitors about the nesting sea turtles and other wildlife on our island. Our walkers were able to engage with and explain our activities to some visitors. Please feel free to approach us if you see us walking on the beach in our brightly colored t-shirts. We are more than happy to talk about our beloved turtles. Many of our turtle patrollers are also well informed about the shorebirds and other wildlife here.

May 31, 2023
No new activity today. We have noticeably fewer nests than usual for May this year but do not despair, our busiest months for laying of nests are usually June and July. Some very high tides and erosion of the beach in our normal nesting areas are the most likely reasons. We do have very important work to do even when nests are not being laid, including keeping the beach free of litter, caring for the nests in place and providing education to anyone interested. We are keeping our fingers crossed for more nests soon.

June 1, 2023
We started the month of June with some activity but no new nests. We had one crawl but it was quickly determined that no nest was left. I want to send special thanks out to Lucy & Ray Hoover, Lisa & Jeff Caprossi, Carol Heilman, and Amy Kashmer. They showed dedication and initiative by removing a deeply buried tarp and a large black box from the beach at Camp Saint Christopher. We are also continuing to find unexpected creatures on our beaches.

June 2, 2023
It was a lovely morning to walk in spite of no new activity and extremely high tides at both ends of the beach.

June 3, 2023
We had high tides and nothing new on our beach today but we do have a message from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). 
“South Carolina’s commercial shrimp trawl season began as of 8 am June 1 with the opening of the General Trawl Zone (full shrimping grounds in state waters). A Marine Turtle Program aerial survey revealed numerous trawlers working offshore in certain areas, particularly from Kiawah Island southward to the Savannah River. Please let this serve as a reminder to be on the lookout. You may see shrimp trawlers working along the shoreline during morning nesting patrols. All boats are required by state and federal laws to be equipped with Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and are routinely checked by SC state law enforcement officers.”

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)