Turtle Patrol Report for July 30 – August 5

The Sea Turtle season is at the point where nesting is slowing down and hatching starts heating up! If you see hatchling tracks like those shown in the pictures below from August 1 and August 2 or even a hatchling, please do not approach the nest but we would be very grateful if you would contact the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol at Hello@siturtlepatrol.com. This week we have two new nests bringing the total for the season to 39 and five nests have hatched, or boiled, as we say. Three days after a nest hatches, an inventory of the nest will be conducted. We check the nest to see how many eggs hatched and other important data to forward to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) for analysis. These inventories will be announced on Tidelines and the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol website. They are a great opportunity to learn more about these amazing creatures and you might even get to see baby hatchlings!

July 30, 2023 
It was a slow day but walkers did notice that Nest 6 looks like it might boil soon. There was one unfortunate occurrence of someone not respecting boundaries around the Sea Turtle nests by leaving towels and shoes on top. No damage was done but the infraction was reported to the town and the beach patrol. If anyone notices other beachgoers engaging in potentially damaging behavior, please do not approach them but feel free to call or text the Beach Patrol at (843) 718-6083. Thank you for your assistance.

July 31, 2023
There were indications of impending boils of a few nests but no hatchling tracks were seen anywhere. Some interesting debris was found including a pink balloon, a swamped boat and a cooler lid. The Beach Patrol was contacted to assist with removal of the boat.

August 1, 2023 – Nest 7 boiled!
The month began with a beautiful boil on Nest 7 with at least 56 tracks out of the nest that all headed to the water with no signs of crab or other predation. A few tracks came out of Nest 4 but not sufficient to be considered a boil.

August 2, 2023 – Nest 4 boiled!
The morning started with a glorious sunrise coupled with a beautiful moonset. The full moon must have inspired the hatchlings in Nest 4 as we found over 70 hatchling tracks. In addition to these magical events, Nancy Kupersmith was able to take a great video of dolphins stranding at the end of North Beach.

August 3, 2023 – New Nests 38 and 39
Walkers Joanne Galivan, Pixie Hider, and Charlie Faught (not pictured) had all the fun this morning. Nest 38 was found five yards north of Boardwalk 3 and 117 eggs were relocated nearby with an assist by Mike Vinson and Anne Snelgrove to a higher elevation. The crawl for Nest 39 was also found by Pixie, Joanne and Charlie between Boardwalks 2 and 3. Tony and Leslie Gore, along with Mike Vinson, found the nest which was left in-situ. The very busy walkers also found two false crawls on the beach closer to Boardwalk 5. Turtle patrol walker, Debbie Daskaloff, sent in this amazing photo of a Bald Eagle. We truly have an embarrassment of natural riches here on Seabrook Island.

August 4, 2023
Despite the threat of significant storms, everyone made it home before the rain started. No new nests were found but walkers Jen Gibson, Kim Schutt and Anne Snelgrove did amass an impressive collection of unexpected and undesirable objects. You can’t see it in the picture but here is the description from Jen – “Lifeguard stand was where we put the stinky bologna to get on the way back. Basket was retrieved by Anne out of the surf by boneyard…We did have fun singing the Oscar Meyer jingle…” Also found were a balloon (found in the branches of a tree in the boneyard), a damaged casting net, a freezer bag that had to be dug out of the sand and numerous smaller items. On the positive side, these items probably washed down the river or from a boat and were not intentionally left on the beach.

August 5, 2023 – Nests 9, 10 and 12 have boiled!
The hatchlings must love the stormy weather as there were three boils detected by the careful walkers this morning. Baby tracks are difficult to see in packed wet sand, but the little tracks often can be seen by looking at the nests from different angles. Nest 9 on had about 50 tracks, Nest 10 had about 50 to 60 tracks and Nest 12 had about 40 tracks. Special thanks to Marnie Ellis, Mike Vinson and the rest of the Pre-Hatching Activity Team (PHAT) for the hard work of installing backstops and runways for the hatchlings in nests that present barriers to a swift escape to the sea. Walkers also found a stray hatchling near Nest 22. Since it is too early for that nest and there were no signs of emergence, we are assuming this little fellow washed over from Botany Bay. This is not uncommon due the angle of the sun on the beach in front of Camp Saint Christopher in the morning. This little one was encouraged to go back into the water so they could quickly swim away.

-Submitted by Anne Snelgrove, Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

(Image credit: Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol)