Turtle Patrol Report for July 9 – July 15

We have four new nests this week which brings us to a total of 34 for the season! This is also an exciting time as the first nests should be hatching, or boiling as we call it, very soon. About three days after the turtle hatchlings leave the nest to start their grand adventure, the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol will inventory the nest. We will examine the nest and report to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) the vital statistics of the nest. Many times there will be a few stragglers that will be released to the sea during this inventory. We will have educators available to explain what we are doing and if stragglers are found, they will parade down the sand to the ocean. It can be quite the spectacle so bring your family down to enjoy the show. Dates and times for inventories will be posted on the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol website.

July 9, 2023 – Nest 31
Nest number 31 was found by Rachel and Marshall Carter, their twin daughters, Nettie and Neva, along with Valerie and Mark Doane. Unfortunately, that troublesome coyote found it first. The valiant turtle patrol crew managed to save and relocate 56 of the eggs to a new nest located south of Boardwalk 2. We are happy to report that coyotes are not getting past the equipment protecting the current nests.

July 10, 2023
Even though no new nests were found, we were able to successfully complete our appointed rounds this morning despite the threatening weather. This remarkable photograph of what my family calls “Omulus” clouds was taken by one of the walkers.

July 11, 2023 – Nests 32 and 33
Anne Surrett and Ed Heskamp found a long, meandering crawl near the dog signs just south of Boardwalk 9. A higher and safer location was found for 125 eggs. Not long after, Linda and Bill Nelson, Tory Kindley, Ginger Seabrook and Patt Tamasy located the crawl between Boardwalks 2 and 3. Nest 33 with 97 eggs was relocated higher in the dunes north of Boardwalk 3. No signs of our wily coyote this morning!

July 12, 2023
No new nests today but beach constructions continue to pop-up. The area between Boardwalk 6 and Boardwalk 2 is, predictably, the most affected. These holes, castles and monoliths may be fun to build but they can endanger the nesting turtles, their hatchlings and other beachgoers. Filling in and knocking them down uses the time and resources of the island. One very large excavation near Boardwalk 4 and another large hole near Boardwalk 5 required the help of the Beach Patrol to fill in. Please enjoy the beach and build sandcastles to your hearts delight but don’t leave the laborious and unrewarding task of cleaning this up to others.

July 13, 2023 – Nest 34
Heather Fife and Debbie Vaughan (both pictured) along with Pixie Hider and Paula Baram found a crawl between Boardwalk 6 and Boardwalk 5. This turtle meandered up and over and around the beach. After digging a hole, she finally moved up to the edge of the dunes and found the spot that was just right. In spite of her determined efforts the 89 eggs of Nest 34 needed to be moved higher in the dunes. 

July 14, 2023
It was a surprisingly pleasant morning on the beach with a gentle breeze making the temperature bearable. The relatively low high tide this morning allowed walkers to cover the entire beach. This lovely sunrise photograph was taken by Kim Schutt at the point of Camp Saint Christopher. A view that definitely makes getting up so early worthwhile even if no new turtle nests were found. There were mystery tracks near Nest 25 on the other end of the island but the nest was not disturbed. Since this area is restricted and dogs are not allowed due to the shorebirds, we believe it may have been a bobcat.

July 15, 2023
Another beautiful morning on the beach but alas, the only item of interest was another large hole near Boardwalk 9 that the Beach Patrol will be filling in. The next time you see these young people driving the white truck with a surfboard on top, be sure to extend our thanks for all the hard work they do for us.

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)