Some NESTers feel that mama sea turtle of nest #3 may have been trying to find a suitable spot to lay her eggs for a few days. There was a crawl with no eggs found on Sunday, June 18 and a false crawl on June 19. If it was the same mama sea turtle, June 20 was her day and she had quite a crawl to the base of the dune line.
It was certainly a strange nest and it apears that mama sea turtle after laying her eggs crossed over the nest before making her homeward bound crawl.
The response team arrived and following the crawl incoming and outgoing track discussed where the possible egg site may be. The dig began and the and eggs were found in a timely manner.
The DNA egg shell was put in the vial to send for analysis and twenty eggs were removed to allow the temperature data logger to be put in the nest. The eggs were returned to the nest and the remaining measurements were made and the nest area marked off.
Normally our excavations are planned in advance but another animal had a different plan in mind. It was noted by one of NEST’s ATV Riders in the morning that this nest had been dug up which can happen since fox and raccoons will predate on sea turtle nest in our area. With empty egg shells scattered all around NEST volunteers were instructed by NC Wildlife Biologist to do an exploratory excavation and to continue to do so if only empty egg shells were being found. 20 empty eggs shells and 1 whole egg were still found in the egg chamber but after compiling all the egg shells together the nest’s total egg count was 81 eggs. The 1 whole egg left was an undeveloped eggs but those eggs still get recorded in our data. Out of those 81 eggs it was determined that 53 live hatchlings made it out to the ocean which means this nest had great hatching success! Overall it was a happy ending for this nest and a BIG thank you to all the volunteers who helped on this nest!
- nest number: 03
- town: South Nags Head
- date eggs laid: 06/20/2017
- begin monitoring: 08/13/2017
- actual emergence date: 08/20/2017
- live hatchlings: approx 53
- total eggs: 81 nest predation on 8/22/2017
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