Turtle Patrol Report for July 16 – July 22

We have one new viable nest this week which brings us to a total of 35 for the season! Please remember to check the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol (SITP) website for dates and times of upcoming inventories. 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. There are often a few stragglers that will be released to the sea. The Turtle Patrol will have educators available to explain what we are doing and if stragglers are found, we will encourage them to parade down the sand to the ocean. It can be quite the spectacle so bring your family down to enjoy the show. 

July 16, 2023
Nothing of interest other than an obvious false crawl. A false crawl is an actual, real crawl but no nest is laid. There can be a number of reasons for this. The turtle may have been disturbed by humans or other animals, she may have just not found a location she liked, or there could have been obstacles such as holes, toys, chairs, sand castles or a myriad of other things.

July 17, 2023
Nothing to report but we would like to extend our appreciation to Stephanie and Raymond Hamilton who have donated a great deal of fencing equipment that the Pre Hatching Activity Team (PHAT) will utilize when preparing the nest areas for the hatchlings. This saves the patrol a good chunk of money. Thank you Stephanie and Raymond!

July 18, 2023 – Nest 35
Linda and Bill Nelson, Tory Kindley, Patt Tamasay and Amber Berry along with guest Kristen Jester, who was visiting all the way from Norway, located a crawl in front of Boardwalk #3. The nest was located and 88 eggs were moved to higher ground further from the boardwalk. Linda also provided this gorgeous sunrise photo.

July 19, 2023
Not much to report this morning but we have obtained 10 coyote cages from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). Since coyotes tend to dig into the sides of the nest, these cages have deep sides that are buried below ground. This morning, Mike Vinson, Lesley and Tony Gore, with our fearless leader Jane Magioncalda, installed some the cages on five of our nests that are close to hatching, or “boiling” as we call it. You can see from the attached photos that we dig a trench around the center of the nest, place the cage and cover it with sand. 

The Seaturtle Volunteer Network Facebook page indicates that nests are beginning to hatch in South Carolina but they have unusually long incubation times. Edisto and Lighthouse Islands are reporting incubation is taking 64-67 days and 71-77 for Cape Island. Our first nest is at 66 days while the second is at 58. We will probably have to wait at least another week or two.

July 20, 2023
No new nests this morning but due to the storms and winds, some of the nests needed additional sand to cover the eggs properly and other nests needed to have sand removed to ensure the hatchlings are able to easily make their getaway when the time comes. We can always find something useful to do.

July 21, 2023
There were no new nests today but some of our walkers exhibited the can-do attitude of the SITP! These enterprising walkers took it upon themselves to knock down a large edifice near Boardwalk #5! As stated by Jane Magioncalda, “It takes a Village!”

July 22, 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 constructions may be fun to build but they can endanger the nesting turtles, their hatchlings and other beachgoers. Filling them in or knocking them down uses the time and resources of the island. 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. I realize that if you are reading this, I am preaching to the choir so I want to thank everyone that does their part.

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)