Turtle Patrol Report June 4-10

The turtle season is starting to heat up here on Seabrook Island. We had 8 new nests bringing our total to 12 this season. I would like to express our gratitude to all the visitors and residents that provide support and information to our dedicated group of Turtle Patrollers.

Nests 5 and 6 – June 4, 2023
Through the gloom, wind, and sporadic sprinkles, the Seabrook Island Turtle patrol remained in high spirits. We now have Nests 5 and 6! Walkers Diane and John Woychick with Jennifer and Reagan Passatino found Nest 5 at the high tide line about 60 yards North of Boardwalk 1. 94 eggs were relocated to higher ground.

The crawl that became Nest 6 was first noticed from the walkway at Boardwalk 6 by Jennifer Gibson along with her niece Savannah Gibson and granddaughters Stella and Farah Gibson and Maggie Boevers. Joe Ficarra and Jane Magioncalda bravely navigated the SITP truck around the rising tide to drop off the equipment and then high-tailed it off the beach. The perfectly situated nest was left in-situ.

Nest 7 – June 5, 2023
There was good news and bad news for the turtles of Seabrook Island. Walkers Mike Vinson, Rob Jerome, and Bonnie Bohme along with Mike’s granddaughter Kate and her friends Chloe and Audrey found Nest 7 which was left in situ between Boardwalks 2 and 3. There are no pictures of the happy walkers because they were busy helping with the next bit of news.

Our first nest, which was laid on Mother’s Day, was found irreparably eroded by the high tide and had to be moved with the blessing of the SC Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The walkers helped Bill and Linda Nelson salvage and relocate the remaining 118 eggs out of the original 122 to a spot higher up on the beach and 230 yards north of Boardwalk 6.

Nest 8 – June 6, 2023
Lori Porwoll, Ruby Jenkins, Mary Van Deusen, Pam Salvestrini, and Lynda Zegers found Nest 8 about 200 yards north of Boardwalk 1. The nest was able to be left in-situ. Other walkers found a false crawl just north of Boardwalk 6. Unfortunately, the poor momma could find nothing more hospitable for her nest than rocks. Hopefully, she will soon find a nearby location for her eggs.

June 7, 2023
Tides were low this morning and afforded full access to all areas of Seabrook Island’s beach but unfortunately, there was no sea turtle activity.

This is not a sea turtle egg.

June 8, 2023
No turtle nesting activity on the beach but the walkers on the beach in front of Camp Saint Christopher reported old shells scattered on the sand near the kayak shed. One even had a plant growing in it! Out at the point, they also reported an intact bird egg that could be a royal tern or oystercatcher. This egg was, undoubtedly, washed up from elsewhere. 

Nests 9 and 10 – June 9, 2023
This has been a really busy morning for our turtle patrol. Not only did we have two new nests but the momma that laid one of those nests had a bit of an adventure on her way back out to the ocean.

There was excitement on the North Beach area. Walkers Marnie Ellis, J-Anna Smith, Sue Ferland, with her friend Nichole, and Bob Enzerra found a promising crawl. Nest 9 was found and 125 eggs were relocated to a safer and higher location. The confused momma turtle was still on the scene and appeared to be stranded in the tidal pool in front of the area. Glen Cox and Karin King, who were out early, were able to get some pictures. SCDNR-approved Turtle Stranding Responder Mike Vinson was called. He and a number of walkers kept a close eye as she swam back and forth unsure of how to return to the sea. The low tide at 7:30 am created a tidal pool that did not get reconnected to the ocean until around 9:30 am. Mike remained until he was sure the momma turtle had been able to return to the sea. Walkers Marnie Ellis, J-Anna Smith, Sue Ferland, with her friend Nichole, and Bob Enzerra were too busy with the momma in the tidal pool to get pictures at Nest 9.

Elsewhere on the beach, walkers Sandy Snead, Nancy Shenton, and Judy Morr were pleased to find an outward-bound crawl 100 yards north of Boardwalk 9. In Judy Morr’s words, “The momma obviously came in before or at high tide. She climbed the escarpment, tried digging a hole, and abandoned it. She then crossed the dune, where the nest was ultimately found, slid down the slope, and continued to walk through the grasses. She went back 30 yards towards the condos and then finally out to the ocean.” A tricky nest to find but our resident turtle whisperer, Bill Greubel, was called in to render assistance and found Nest 10 which was left in situ. 

Nests 11 and 12 – June 10, 2023
This week ended on a high note with two more nests! Susan and Bill Miller called with a crawl on North Beach not far from the previous day’s turtle tidal troubles. The crawl led behind the dunes and after originally thinking it was probably a false crawl the Millers left. Intrepid nest locator, Sandy MacCoss, decided to try a few more times and finally found Nest 11 which was left in situ. There is a picture of the crawl but no image of the Millers with their nest.

Walkers Nancy Chomel, Vivien Joklik, and Elaine Morris met some young visitors and their father who found a crawl very early in the morning before our walkers arrived. Nest 12 was found and 106 eggs were relocated to a spot 170 yards south of Boardwalk 5.

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)