Measurements being taken by Kay, Louise, and Jonny on the turtle's incoming crawl.

What a great morning for ATV rider Jackie O! Finding a beautifully intricate turtle crawl by a very picky Loggerhead. Mom journeyed all the way to the foot of the dune, then traveled along the dune line north for about 20 feet before she picked out the perfect spot to lay her eggs, just next to the base of the stairs. Apparently mama wanted to make sure her babies didn’t get lonely!

The votes were in and the diggers were digging to see who's hypothesis was closest!

Her trek through the dune line made it a little more difficult to read where she had buried the eggs, especially since she had some sand fall down as she moved across the base. The team took bets as to where the eggs would be found. They knew mom was facing north instead of her traditional staring at the dunes while she worked so the traditional cues might just not work in this case.  So after all bets were in, the team got to work.

After all of three minutes of digging, it was lucky Ray who found the first egg.  Of course Ray found them because after all, it was his BIRTHDAY!! After shell-ebrating him with chants and songs, the first egg was taken for the DNA Research Project while the public hovered closely to learn about our turtles and what NEST does.

The happy birthday boy and first egg of the nest!

Since our turtle had picked a GLORIOUS spot to nest, clear away from the high tide line, we were able to leave the nest as is and mark it off producing plenty of room for beach goers to walk around without disturbing the site. In about two months we’ll have to start recruiting nest sitters so let’s get cracking! (get it? get cracking, haha).

– Marissa, 2014 Intern