Weather permitting (no lightning, no downpour), there will be a nest inventory on the beach near 315 West Ashley on Thursday, August 28 at 7 p.m. The nest has already hatched. The inventory will reveal how many hatchlings made it out of the nest. Join us on the beach to learn more.
It’s been over 3 weeks since the last “incoming” tracks were found. That’s usually a good indicator that the momma turtles have finished their work and have moved on for some well-deserved R&R.
We’re now in the hatching phase of the season with hatchlings having emerged from six nests. Inventory results have been very good so far.
During this hatching time, we ask folks to remember to RESPECT THE NESTS by leaving them alone, and to practice LIGHTS OUT FOR HATCHLINGS.
If you encounter a stray hatchling or see signs of turtle activity, please call Folly’s Public Safety 843-588-2344 to report the location.
Thanks very much for your cooperation!
As she was working to find and relocate the eggs in Nest #21, folks walking the beach said “You have another one!”
What? Wow. We only had a couple of days with multiple nests this season. Surely it’s a false crawl.
But, no. A second (”twenty-second” to be exact) nest was confirmed about 100 yards from the first.
Both turtles had the same behavior — crawl to the wrack line, create a small body pit, dig a nest, deposit eggs and return to the ocean. It was that “crawl to the wrack line” that signaled “relocation needed” to Cindy and Nancy.
Both clutches were moved to new, above the high tide line sites nearby.
Cindy, Lexi and Nancy enjoyed the company of wonderful visitors from Harrodsburg, KY and from Minnesota. Thanks so much for your interest and for sharing this great 2-nest morning with us.
Because of the bad behavior of people who dug into Nest #1 and disturbed the eggs on Saturday night, there will be NO INVENTORY TONIGHT.
The inventory of Nest #1 scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight (Sunday, July 27) is CANCELLED.
SEA TURTLES and THEIR NESTS ARE PROTECTED BY STATE AND FEDERAL LAW. IT IS AGAINST THE LAW to DISTURB NESTS, EGGs, and LIVE or DEAD SEA TURTLES.
PLEASE help the turtles by sharing that information and reporting any nest disturbances that you see. Thank you.
We ended the 2007 season with 20 nests, and now, hopefully not quite finished, 2014 has 20 nests.
Many thanks to Allison and Carol for taking such good care of relocating the eggs to a new site, ensuring a better chance of successful hatchling development.
It’s often hard to project 55 days to the future hatch date and imagine what changes might occur to the Momma Turtle’s choice of nest site.
This one wasn’t that hard.
She had laid in the current wrack line, making the nest too vulnerable to higher tides. Eggs don’t develop in wet sand.
Thanks to Susie and Lisa for getting Nest #19 off to a great start!
The Momma Turtle had come ashore during a low tide and stayed awhile, but still had a long trek back to the ocean after she nested.
Her travels left the beautiful tracks that attracted Marlene, who followed them to Nest #18.
Because the turtle chose such a good site in a newly vegetated dune, Marlene and Linda were able to leave them in situ.
Public Safety and County Parks staff were the first to see the turtle in distress. As they were calling to alert our Crew to the emergency, Linda, Marlene and Judi arrived.
Joined by Bob, they attempted to turn the flipper flailing turtle over, but were unsuccessful — just too heavy.
More help needed in a hurry! The tide was already reaching her head which was pointed toward the ocean.
How long can an upside down sea turtle hold her breath under stress?
We didn’t want to know.
Who do you call?
Folly’s Fire Fighters, of course!
They came double-quick, turned the turtle over, and off she went faster than any turtle ever moved, back into the surf.
So what how did she manage to get in that fix?
She had emerged from the ocean sometime during the night to find a nest site.
She crawled parallel to the ocean for a long way, then turned inland and attempted to create a nest chamber.
The sand was very hard and gritty and she was only able to dig down a few inches.
She abandoned that attempt and crawled away, again parallel with the ocean.
She was probably seeking a more acceptable site when she crawled right over County Park’s new groin at the far end of the beach.
The groin is doing its job. It’s trapping sand on its east/north side. The negative effect of this is that the other side of the groin becomes sand-starved.
On this day, there was about a 4′ height difference — quite a drop.
And it’s this drop that caused the turtle to flip over on her back. What a horrible surprise.
Thanks to alert staff, responsive volunteers, and especially FOLLY’s FIRE FIGHTERS, the story ended with a live Momma Turtle rushing back into the surf.
The groin remains, of course. The height differences will change as wind and water shift the sand supplies.
Orange cones have been added to alert people to the drop, but the danger to nesting sea turtles remains.
We are so grateful to the Park staff, Folly Public Safety staff, our Crew (Judi, Linda, Marlene, Bob, Lars and Ann), and especially to the guys who did the HEAVY lifting to save the turtle.
THANK YOU, FOLLY FIRE FIGHTERS!!
(Photos provided by Lars, Judi, Bob.)
So far this season, only 17 tracks have led to nests. An additional 19 have led right back to the ocean. That’s more than 50%, which is a little higher than the state’s average “beach success.”
Sometimes false crawls are just a few quick strokes toward dry sand that loop back into the surf.
Other times, they may lead to a partially dug egg chamber that the turtle started, but abandoned, usually due to overly gritty, hard-packed sand or a disturbance of some kind.
And still other times, they just wander all over the place, but never result in an egg chamber or a body pit — just lots of tracks in search of that special spot to lay eggs.
Shanna encountered the HUGE horseshoe-shaped track shown in her photos. It covered the width of 3 lots! This one, too, finally ended at the ocean. No nest.