The season has gotten off to a fast start with six nests arriving on Folly in one week, and over 200 in the state in just over two weeks. Looking good!
Susie and new volunteers Kristen, Tyler, and Fallan took care of finding and carefully relocating a huge clutch of 151 eggs for Nest 6. Many thanks to all for your thoughtful work.
The arrival of 6 nests in 7 days means that 6 individual sea turtles have nested.
With luck, they’ll be back to lay their next nests on Folly in a couple of weeks, and be joined by new arrivals in the meantime. Once we reach two weeks, we won’t know if we have repeat or new traffic coming ashore until we receive their DNA results.
And only one false crawl located so far. The mommas seem to be finding what they need right away; very different from last season. Hope that continues.
A full moon was still visible in the western sky and 8 shrimp boats were on the horizon when Bob found the turtle’s tracks.
Her incoming track was significantly shorter than her outgoing track, indicating that she’d spent a long time on the beach and probably did create a nest.
Bob quickly found the clutch, collected the DNA sample, and staked the site with its orange tape and sign — all set for a protected incubation.
Allison, Teri and Jane found and relocated Nest 4 from the high line to a better site nearby where it will be more protected from heavy over-wash.
Great start for over 100 hatchlings to be!
Susie found the second nest of the morning and moved its 104 eggs from a vulnerable site below the Spring high tide line to a safer location.
She noted some unusual eggs in the clutch — one oblong egg and several very hard ones. We’ll be alert to abnormalities in other nests.
Volunteer newcomers Jennifer, Kristen and Lucia were on hand to observe and help out.
A great welcome for Nest 3!
A great surprise … a two nest morning!
The first was discovered by Teresa and Katherine. They decided to leave the nest where the momma turtle laid it — on a nice little dune rise above the high tide line.
It’s always extra nice to be able to respect the momma’s choice.
Folly’s nesting season is officially underway with the arrival of Nest 1.
Thanks and congratulations go to Teri and new volunteer Dave for identifying the tracks and expertly locating and protecting the nest for the many days of incubation ahead.
Always great to be able to say the sea turtles have found Folly again!
The timely appearance and quick thinking of FBTW volunteer Teresa and her neighbor at Marshview Villas enabled a 440-pound leatherback sea turtle to be rescued from the marsh after being stranded by King Tides early Friday (May 6).
Teresa notified Bob (FBTW stranding crew coordinator) and SC/DNR who quickly responded with extra help to shade, cool and coax the turtle onto a tarp for a mighty heavy lift and carry to the DNR truck for transport to the SC Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.
It is currently receiving hydration while being assessed and will likely be released in a day or two. You can follow “Mariners” progress on the STH website.
Many thanks to Teresa, her neighbor, Jenna, Liz, other DNR crew and Bob for their quick action in protecting Mariner from what could have been a long and perhaps deadly day baking in the sun before the tide’s return.
As it happened, high tide was at 8 a.m., the stranded turtle sighted about 9:30, and on its way to the hospital by 11. Very impressive response and action!
Leatherback sea turtles have nested on Folly Beach three times in past seasons, but this is the first live leatherback stranding Folly has experienced, and only the second admitted to the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital for immediate care and release.
(Photos courtesy of Teresa and Bob.)
Update: Mariner, the leatherback has returned to the ocean. See photos on Post and Courier Facebook page.
Jellyfish left by the receding tides, first stranded (dead) sea turtle found on the beach, ocean temperatures reaching 70 degrees — all are signs that nesting season is about to begin.
Folly’s nest protection volunteers are ready to begin morning patrols on May 1st, anxious to find the first tracks of the new season. It’s a time of hopeful excitement and concern as the turtles begin to tell their story once again.
When will the first nest arrive? How many nests will there be? Will the Momma Turtles find enough good habitat to create their nests? How many nests will be threatened by tidal erosion and need to be relocated? How many healthy hatchlings will be produced? Will visitors and residents remember to keep lights out on the beachfront so that mommas and hatchlings can find the ocean? Will humans respect the turtles’ need for a dark, quiet, barrier-free beach?
The answers to those and many other surprises are ahead.
While we wait and watch, we want to acknowledge everyone’s generous support and help last season: SC/DNR Marine Turtle Conservation biologists, City of Folly Beach staff (particularly code enforcers, first responders and beach management patrol), our own volunteers, of course, and the many people we encountered throughout the season that expressed their interest, concern and support for the turtles. We appreciate those of you (listed below) who adopted Folly nests through seaturtle.org. Your action resulted in financial support for turtles worldwide as well as locally. Thank you all so much!
Vincent & Serafina Amato
The Bennett Family
Greg & Kim Smith
Tina & Tucker Davis
Norbert & JoAn Czernia
Leila Rose & Hudson
The Awesome Owner & Staff at All is Well
Find our booth on Center Street at Folly’s Sea & Sand Festival today (April 9, 2016) between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to learn about our efforts to protect sea turtles on Folly Beach. We have t-shirts and handmade items for sale!
More news of the season ahead will be posted very soon.
Folly’s last numbered nest of the season came as a wonderful surprise on August 17th when Julia and Sarah saw tiny hatchling tracks along Lighthouse Inlet beach.
Rewind to June 24th …
It was a gorgeous morning when Candace found clear evidence that a loggerhead sea turtle had come ashore and attempted to create a nest. Everything looked simple until Candace, Bob and Nancy could not find the eggs to confirm the nest. Agh. Lighthouse Inlet, with its dynamic tides and high water table, is not where you want to leave a nest, so finding the eggs is pretty important … usually.
In this case, Momma Turtle’s timing and site selection worked well (hatching about 10 days before the August King Tides), and Sarah and Julia saw the hatchling track evidence. Success was further confirmed three days later when Julia and Bob inventoried the nest — 140 eggs laid, 135 empty shells, 5 undeveloped, 0 dead, and 1 live straggler to wish farewell. 95% nest success for a presumed false crawl. Unexpected joy is mighty sweet!