Turtle Patrol Report for June 25 – July 1

We have 5 new nests this week which brings us to a total of 26 for the season!
If you are planning to attend the Fourth of July Parade, keep a lookout for the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol vehicles.

June 25, 2023 

Six mysterious old loggerhead eggs were discovered early this morning by off-duty Turtle Patroller Nancy Chomel while she was walking her dog. The eggs were below the high tide line between Boardwalks 2 and 3. Nearby nests did not show any signs of predation nor was there any evidence of disturbance of an old nest. They may have washed up from another beach or an old nest was exposed by the recent high tides. Their origin remains a mystery. If anyone finds unexpected sea turtle items such as eggs, please report them to the Turtle Patrol and remember that since they are a protected species, they should not be removed from the beach.

We also appreciate everyone cleaning up their beach area and not leaving large holes or sand sculptures. This expansive work of art had to be cleaned up by Beach Patrol and they have spoken with the visitors in that area during the day. Holes and sculptures like this can cause injury to people and impede the ability of sea turtles to find a suitable nesting spot.

June 26, 2023
It was a quiet morning on the beach and nothing of interest was found other than this anxious beach resident and a fair amount trash.

June 27, 2023-Nests 22 and 23
Nest 22 was found by walkers Ed Heskamp and Anne Surrett on the beach in front of Camp Saint Christopher. Three exposed eggs were discovered before the full nest was found. 122 eggs were relocated a short distance to avoid the chance of water ponding on top of the nest during high tides and rainstorms.

Nest 23 was discovered near the end of the spit at North Beach by walkers Lynda Zegers, Pam Salvestrini, Ruby Jenkins and Mary Van Deusen. 145 eggs were moved to a safer location. Other areas of the beach had no significant wildlife but did have a fair amount of human detritus.

June 28, 2023-Nest 24
We now have 24 nests. Local photographer Glen Cox captured a stunning picture of a loggerhead returning to the ocean in the early morning hours.

Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol walkers Lynda Zegers, Gail Koornick, Jackie Brooks and Andrea Daley found the crawl in the bird nesting area on North Beach. With guidance from shorebird expert Mark Andrews, 96 eggs were relocated away from the nest of Oyster Catcher U5, and his mate to prevent them from abandoning it. Obviously, the mama sea turtle was unable to read the sign indicating it was a shorebird nesting area.

A false crawl was found near Boardwalk 3 but the loggerhead may have been disturbed by a ghost crab as indicated by the hole in the middle of the crawl. Other walkers reported some very pesky no-see-ums, trash and sand sculptures.

June 29, 2023
While sea turtles are continuing to come up on the beach, we only had two false crawls this day. Oddly, there were tire marks over one of the crawls. It was too early for beach patrol so it may have been code enforcement or joy riders. Please remember that no unauthorized vehicles are allowed on the beach in order to ensure the safety of visitors, residents and wildlife. While we are on the topic of protecting wildlife, the average incubation time for a loggerhead sea turtle is 60 days and we are hoping to be treated to the emergence of the first hatchlings in a few short weeks!

June 30, 2023- Nest 25

Walkers Marnie Ellis, J-Anna Smith, Edna Bickett and Betty Connel along with Marnie’s son, Xander, found Nest 25 just south of the bird sanctuary. 113 eggs were relocated 1 yard north of peg 4. The walkers found a second crawl where the sea turtle attempted to dig a nest three times but it was ultimately declared to be a false crawl. 

The walkers were rewarded with the sight of a beautiful painted bunting posing on the roadway next to Boardwalk 1.

Nest 26- July 1, 2023
Lesley and Tony Gore found Nest 26 as far out on the end of the spit as possible. 144 eggs were relocated to a safer location.

With the Fourth of July holiday coming up soon, I would like to remind everyone to treat the beach as if it were their own back yard. Sadly, we have found large holes, sand castles, and picnic debris left on the beach. While all this is part of having fun, it can cause big problems for the nesting turtles, birds and other beach goers when left behind. Building forts below the high tide line can even enhance a family’s fun as they can “defend” it from the rising tide. Hopefully everyone will have fun on the island during the holiday and all summer long but please leave only footprints and take only memories. Your thoughtfulness is greatly appreciated by all who want to use the beach.

For more information about Seabook Island Turtle Patrol, visit our website.

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)