Recent News

 

Nest #20

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 23, 2014

We’re so happy to report that the 2014 season will NOT be a record-making season for the lowest number of nests.

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.

Nest #19

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 23, 2014

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Yes! Finally a new nest in the “Middle”.

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!

Nest #18

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 23, 2014

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Marlene was so excited as she shared via cell phone what she was looking at — long, long trails of sea turtle tracks.

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.

Over The Edge

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 17, 2014

2014upsidedown1dscn2948dscn2949dscn2950dscn29514-07-13-14-768x1024dscn2962dscn2967dscn2964r5-07-13-14-1024x768A thankfully rare, but always unwelcome sight … a turtle on its back on the beach. Usually when we see this, the turtle has washed ashore dead, but this time, she was alive, but struggling.

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.

WHEW!

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.)

Nest #17

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 17, 2014

2014n17t2014n17n2014n17eLinda and Sand were amazed to see the l-o-n-g tracks coming toward the newly vegetated dune line.

Momma Turtle’s stamp of approval: a nest!

Sand’s beautiful photos tell the story.

False Crawls

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 16, 2014

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fc-horseshoe-ss3fc-horseshoe-ss4fc-horseshoe-ss5Not every turtle track that comes ashore leads to a nest.

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.

Pier Pressure

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 15, 2014

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An unwelcome catch … both for the fishermen and for the most endangered sea turtle species in South Carolina waters.

On Friday evening, two Kemps Ridley sea turtles were caught within two hours of each other on the Folly Beach Fishing Pier.

They had each tried to grab a snack and instead got hooked.

One Kemps was only about 12″ across. It had been hooked in the mouth. Fisherman Bill carefully removed the hook, and after a little recovery (more for Bill than the turtle), Bob and Bill released the feisty little turtle on the beach in the midst of a thunderstorm. Can it get more dramatic?

Well, yeah …

Less than hour later, another call from the Pier … another Kemps caught by another fisherman.

This one was larger by several inches, and evidently went for a bigger bite. It swallowed the hook. Not good.

DNR was contacted again, and this time Michelle loaded the turtle up for a trip to the Sea Turtle Hospital where it is getting first class treatment.

Nest #16

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 15, 2014

img_0188img_0179img_0202One of those very special moments … sharing the beach with a nesting loggerhead.

Thanks to a call from a visitor, Public Safety was able to let us know there was a “turtle on the beach.”

Expecting a crowd control problem, we hurried over and found one Public Safety Officer guarding a large Momma Turtle who was beginning to cover her nest. Thank you!

The full moon had brought out a lot of late night beachwalkers, but they were quickly rerouted and very respectful of the turtle’s presence.

After she returned to the ocean, her body pit was staked off until the morning Crew could investigate further.

The next morning, Susie was met by Erin, Jacob, Nancy and a huge downpour.

Drenched, but happy to finally see and help to move a nest, Erin and Jacob earned their permits, then patrolled another section of beach to look for more tracks.

Thank you, Susie, for your egg-finding and great leadership through the process!

And thanks to Momma Turtle for providing the privilege.

Nest #15

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 15, 2014

photo3revphoto2revphoto1revShanna’s Solo.

Well … maybe with a little support from Susie.

But it was Shanna’s True Test … and a great success.

Congratulations! (And thank you, Momma Turtle.)

The clutch of 123 eggs was moved higher on the beach to escape the high tides and enable hatchlings to develop.

GREAT JOB!

Nest #14

by The Folly Turtles Crew on Jul 15, 2014

img_0116img_0118img_0122Uh oh.

There were tracks in the wet sand, but they disappeared mid-beach.

Yikes.

Fortunately, the body pit, though covered with drifts of blown sand, was still visible.

Whew. Something to work with.

Sunnie, Becky, and Nancy accepted the challenge and after a lot of coming-up-empty, found the clutch and relocated the eggs away from the dreaded ditch and gully area to a more hatchling-friendly nest site.

We enjoyed sharing the experience with a young woman from Summerville who, along with her husband, had come to the beach for some early morning surf fishing.

She was pretty excited to see the unexpected, and so were we.