Turtle Tracks on Folly Beach 2004

Hatch Dates
(based on 50-60 day average incubation)
Nest #1
May 23143915-EJuly 12-22
First emergence
July 14
(52 days)
49 of 143


Phyllis and Dave found the FIRST FOLLY NEST of 2004 near the very end of their walk where the island turns and Lighthouse Creek merges with the Folly River (CGS-E-Left). A beautifully formed nest, unfortunately too close to water, yielded 143 perfect-looking eggs. With help from old and new Crew members, Phyllis carefully relocated them to 915-East. An auspicious beginning to the unknowns ahead.
Nest #2
May 25in situ1205-EJuly 14-24
First emergence
July 16
(52 days)
94 of 106


New volunteer Sharon was thrilled to see these tracks -- one short and one long -- a sure sign that a turtle had spent extended time on the beach and maybe nested. Sure enough ... there was a "body pit" with a great arc on the dune. With assistance from Paula, Carole probed with her one good arm and found the eggs! The nest remains where the mother turtle laid it, carefully marked for monitoring until hatch time.
May 26 CGS-E-Right 


ANA? Wha'? ANA is "aborted nesting attempt," also known as "false crawl" or "NNE," non-nesting emergence. Whatever you want to call it, these 2 were perfect examples -- beautifully executed "U-turns" in the sand just before the last eastside groin. One set of these continuous tracks was quite short, maybe 10-12 feet from the ocean's edge and back; the other was quite long, probably 70-80 feet from the ocean and back. The 2 sets of tracks were less than 10 feet apart. Same turtle? Probably. Hopefully she'll give Folly one more chance and nest tonight.
Nest #3
May 30125701-WJuly 19-29
First emergence
July 28
(59 days)
119 of 125


Judy K, thinking she was sub'ing for Jeannine, ended up meeting her at tracks! A surprise all around! The tracks were close together, indicating a small turtle, but she produced a large clutch of 125 eggs. They were moved to the dune above the original nest site. It had been on flat beach, in danger of being flooded by high tides. A GREAT start for the WEST side! Thanks to Jeannine, Judy K, Carole, and Paula who took care of protecting this third nest.
June 5 1687-E 


This turtle came late to the party -- the church group left the beach at 10:30 and she arrived at 11:30. Unfortunately, she bumped into a fence post. It appears to have halted her progress to the dune. Her tracks looped around and headed back to the ocean. Tony spotted her about this time and he and his friends gave her safe escort back to the ocean.
Nest #4
                          Signs of hatching
June 5in situCGS-E-LeftJuly 25-Aug 4
First emergence
July 28
(53 days)
96 of 117


Bob found this incredible nest just 15' from where Nest #1 was laid -- near the river-end of north Folly. The interval between the 2 nests is 13-days -- highly suggestive that the same turtle laid both nests! This time she found the ONLY high "bald" spot on the whole northeast end of the island (see it toward the top left of the first photo) -- a true dune. What an amazing gal!
Nest #5
June 7in situ709-EJuly 27-Aug 6
First emergence
July 26
(49 days)
95 of 108


A group effort -- new volunteers Florence and Betty found the tracks (yippee!!) and called Machelle who called Carole. Gentle probing found the eggs. They were carefully left in the great spot that momma turtle chose. Thanks to Betty for the photos!
Nest #6
June 7in situ903-WJuly 27-Aug 6
First emergence
August 2
(56 days)
97 of 100


The West side had tracks today, too. The turtle took an interesting detour around the front of a big bush, then nested along side it higher on the dune. That may be welcome shade in the days to come. Jeannine found the tracks and Judi and Carole confirmed the eggs which were left undisturbed on this beautiful site. Check out those gorgeous V's on the her back-to-the-ocean tracks in 3d picture. Thanks to Judi and Betty for the photos!
June 13 CoPark-W 


Judi found a long set of tracks that led to the wrack line, but no body pit or thrown sand. Paula confirmed what the even lengths of tracks also seemed to indicate -- false crawl. Conditions were evidently not quite what the turtle wanted. Hopefully she'll try Folly again. Thanks to Judi and Betty for the photos!
Unconfirmed #1
June 15in situ1617-EAug 4-14Area rechecked August 14
No eggs found.
Even tracks, but what surely looked like a body pit on the slope of a dry dune. Neither probing nor hand-digging could reveal the egg chamber, so ... this is the first of a new category of sites ... "unconfirmed." It will still be protected and watched very carefully. In about 55 days, the hatchlings can tell us where the eggs were.
Nest #7
June 16in situCGS-E-LeftAug 5-15


A very neat and compact "textbook" nest site greeted Phyllis and Dave at dawn. They put Charlotte's great training from last week to good use as they carefully assessed the site, gently probed, and confirmed the eggs! This nest is a "borderline" placement (a bit flatter than we HUMANS would prefer, but we're going to work with the turtle's wisdom. The eggs remain where she put them. A difficult decision well-reasoned -- THANKS, Phyllis and Dave! UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked; nest intact. UPDATE> 8/13/04 Attempted to account for eggs before Hurricane Charley. Completely excavated nest area to depth of 3 feet; unable to locate ANY sign of clutch. Perhaps stakes were relocated? Still trying to solve the mystery and get the count for this nest. UPDATE> 9/26/04 Made one last dig in and around nest site - no eggs found.
Nest #8
June 16in situCGS-E-RightAug 5-15
First emergence
August 6
(51 days)
97 of 143


"Oh, that's ok," said Shannon as she arrived at Nest #7 after the excitement was over. "There's another one down there." Huh?!! In trying to find Nest #7, Shannon had taken a shortcut and entered the beach right on top of ... TRACKS! And a BODY PIT! Wow! Shannon had definitely been called to that nest and not by the Crew. The body pit was in soft sand ... consistently soft sand. Probing couldn't detect the egg chamber, so Shannon, who has learned well from Charlotte and Paula, made some educated guesses and found the eggs! YES!! GREAT JOB, Shannon!! UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked; nest intact.
Nest #9
June 18in situ321-WAug 7-17
First emergence
August 12
(55 days)

89 of 92


Found and called in to Carole by Dr. T, this welcome West side nest was left where the momma turtle put it. Thanks to Jeannine and Catherine M., and especially Dr. T for helping to protect this one! UPDATE> 8/12/04 Fire ants were invading the nest. Crew intervened and found 89 hatchlings trapped in domed chamber (hard, thick layer of sand over open space). They scrambled to the ocean!
Nest #10
June 20in situ604-WAug 9-19
First emergence
Aug 10
(51 days)

97 of 136


Crew member Charlotte found another GREAT nest on the West side! Momma turtle chose a good site just above the spring tide line. Carole found a spacer/filler (yolkless) egg outside of the nest, and noticed an abnormality in the right flipper tracks. This turtle may have a flipper injury that impedes her nesting to some extent, but she still gets the job done! By noontime, human nests were keeping hers company. Thanks to Judi for the photos! UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked; nest intact. UPDATE> 8/10/04 An early inventory in defense of a fire ant invasion found 62 empty shells (hatched) and 39 unhatched eggs. To evade the ants that can wipe out a nest, 35 of the unhatched eggs were moved to a new location.
June 22 1731-E 


Rocks. Bummer. No place to nest. Long crawl wasted. Maybe she'll give Folly another chance tomorrow.
Nest #11
June 25117801-EAug 14-24
First emergence
Aug 13
(49 days)
110 of 117


Just on the other side of the groin from Tuesday's crawl, another set of tracks ... this time leading to SAND. Very helpful track length differences confirmed that the turtle had been on the beach a long time (nesting usually takes 1-2 hours). The elusive eggs finally appeared with the topmost egg at about a 5" depth -- shallow! The site was an easy "relocate" decision -- much too dynamic here with lots of dune loss, lots of people traffic, seawall construction nearby, and strong potential for high tide invasion. The 117-egg clutch was moved to a safer, more stable environment at 801-E. Thanks go to J.D.Mc for good company, choosing the right place to dig, keeping the count, and carrying the eggs! Teacher Elizabeth, who met the eggs at their new site, will be sharing the sea turtles' story with her 4th and 5th graders back in Michigan. Everyone's interest, concern, and stories of other turtle encounters are truly inspiring -- thank you! UPDATE> 8/13/04 Lauren saw hatchling tracks! An early inventory was done as Hurricane Charley's arrival appeared eminent. 48 more hatchlings raced into the ocean.
June 25 913-E 


Juanita and Florence were thrilled to find tracks, but, unfortunately the turtle didn't nest. She could be the mother of Nest #11 which was also found this morning about a mile away (see above). If so, it's kind of ironic that her eggs have now been relocated about a block from this crawl.
June 27 Washout-E 


Linda was surprised to see these tracks in the last block of the Washout. It didn't really look like the turtle nested, but Paula and Linda probed anyway (good practice). Declared a false crawl. We'll watch for her return.
Unconfirmed #2
June 28in situ709-EAug 17-27Area rechecked August 26
No eggs found.
Lauren found tracks leading to a "looks like a nest" site. It may very well be, but Machelle, Catherine, and Carole were unable to locate the egg chamber. With strong field signs, but no eggs located, this one goes into the "unconfirmed" category for now. We'll hope for tiny tracks to continue the story in mid-August. (Photos courtesy of Betty.)
June 29 SummerPlace-E 


"Rocky seawall is no place to nest" says the Wise Turtle. Couldn't humans be a bit more sensitive to other species and not consume The Habitat?
Unconfirmed #3
June 29in situ9??-WAug 18-28Area rechecked August 27
No eggs found.
Another well-hidden clutch. Not finding the eggs adds this site in the "unconfirmed" category even though there was good evidence that the turtle nested. The eggs' presence (and hidden location) will be known in about 55 days.
Nest #12
June 29121(-1)CGS-E-LeftAug 18-28
First emergence
Aug 20
(52 days)
17 of 120


Lance discovered these tracks across from the lighthouse. Based on general nesting indicators and the dates, this nest could be the return of the turtle who we think may have also laid Nests 1, 4, and 7. Paula probed and Michelle found the egg chamber. Lance and Michelle carefully relocated 120 eggs to a site less likely to be overwashed. Finding a turtle nest on your birthday is a mighty fine start to a new year! UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked. UPDATE> 8/23/04 Inventory found only 2 hatched eggs and a massive ant invasion; 25 pipping hatchlings lost to ants; intact eggs relocated to try to reduce ant take. UPDATE> 8/30/04 & 8/31/04 "Depression" noted; may be emergence-readiness or hatched during storms. UPDATE> 9/4/04 Inventory uncovered 55 dead hatchlings -- probably overcome by water as they prepared to emerge.
Nest #13
June 30101301-EAug 19-29
First emergence
Aug 20
(51 days)
76 of 101


Follyturtles' Eugene, Oregon friend Kathryn was on hand to find this great nest with Lauren. Unfortuantely, the nest was low and too close to the spring tide line, so when Carole found the eggs, Kathy, Lauren and Betty helped to move them to a new location in the dune. GREAT photos courtesy of Betty. UPDATE> 8/27/04 Members of SC Aquarium attended inventory of this nest and a great presentation by Carole highlighting loggerhead life-cycle and threats to sea turtle survival.
June 30 9??-W 


An over the dune walk, but it appeared no nesting took place -- false crawl, also known as "aborted nesting attempt."
Nest #14
July 677(-2)801-EAug 25-Sep 42 of 66


Sunnie's nest -- found, probed, moved, and CELEBRATED! She and Bill will continue to care for it until hatch time in late August. Jimmy from James Island gave this nest a big Thumbs-Up and a Sorry-You-Missed-This-One, TONY. It arrived on your doorstep, but also right on the tide line. You can visit it next door at its higher elevation. UPDATE> 7/31/04 The 5 feet of sand separating this nest from the ocean disappeared in an hour of full moon high tides pushed by northeast winds. Nest (-3 deflated eggs) was relocated 5' on backside of dune. UPDATE> 8/14/04 Dune at 1687-E just too fragile to continue to support this nest; 66 eggs relocated to stable 803-E location. UPDATE> 8/30/04 Six dead hatchlings found near top of nest during check after storms. Intact eggs also present. Recovered for possible further development.
July 8 901-W 


One of two "aborted nesting attempts" today on the West side of the island. Judi reported, "She came in, banged into the groin, followed the groin up the beach, banged into the crossover, went around the crossover into the dune, banged into the crossover again (it's one of those winding, many-sided crossovers), muttered a turtle curse [expletives deleted], and went back out to sea." Hopefully she'll find another Folly site with fewer human-made obstacles. Photos courtesy of Judi.
July 8 613-W 


One of two "aborted nesting attempts" today on the West side of the island. Maybe the same turtle in search of a good nesting site. Maybe tomorrow. Hopefully still Folly. Be on the lookout!
Nest #15
July 91011029-WAug 28-Sep 7
First emergence
Sep 1
(54 days)
98 of 101


And return she did! Right back to a West side site! Judi's notes follow: "Tracks & nest found about 1/2 way between County Park and end of the beach. Small turtle. Tracks not very wide. Nested in last year's renourishment area. Nice compact nest; eggs were an easy find. Above current high tides, but well-below wrack line. So 101 eggs moved to 1029 West Ashley." A GREAT, and hellishly hot, job done by Judi and Linda as they safe-guarded these eggs until hatching. [photo shows Nest #15 on right; Nest #19 on left] UPDATE > 8/30/04 Nest overwashed during Gaston, but intact.
Nest #16
July 10107CGS-E-LeftAug 29-Sep 8
Did not emerge
0 of 107


We have so few turtles nesting this season (only 1/3 the norm), that it's kind of easy to get into the rhythms and habits of an individual turtle. We're pretty sure, or at least strongly suspect, that the turtle who laid this new nest also laid nests 1, 4, 7, and 12. They have been our only Lighthouse Creek nests and, remarkably, have been laid in close proximity to each other at 10-15 day intervals. We're also guessing that she hangs out in the river/marsh estuary in between her nesting times. She's made it this far, so hopefully has the speed boat traffic figured out and can continue to defend herself against the humans successfully for maybe 1 or 2 more nests. Bob found the eggs quickly and relocated them about 10' behind the spring tide line. It was fun to share this nest with a marine biology student, her dog, and our TN family -- Ella, Hannah, Kelly, and Scott. UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked. UPDATE > 8/30/04 Nest overwashed during Gaston, but intact. UPDATE > 9/14/04 Inventory revealed no eggs hatched; many discolored; speculate too much extended exposure to water.

July 11 915-E  


Machelle called in these tracks that led to soft sand, then meandered AROUND and OVER and AROUND and OVER and AROUND again before heading back to the ocean. Didn't look like the turtle stopped to nest, so we'll be on special alert tonight and tomorrow for her return. Many thanks to Betty for the great photos!
Nest #17

July 12in situ521-WAug 31-Sep 9
First emergence
Sep 4
(54 days)
77 of 82


Judi reported that "Jeannine & Rebecca discovered tracks & nest near the 6th Street crossover. Nest is in a perfect location - in the dunes above high tide line. Eggs were confirmed and left in situ. Smart turtle. Came in just before high tide, nested and went back out before low tide. Tracks are even with tide line ... not so far to walk!" GREAT photos courtesy of Judi. UPDATE> 7/31/04 Full moon high tides & NE winds caused overwash -- looked relatively gentle; not soaked. UPDATE > 8/30/04 Hard crust noted on nest.
Nest #18
July 171191029-WSep 5-15
First emergence
Sep 10
(55 days)
66 of 119


First seen by Judi and Linda from the top of the County Park crossover -- whata great sight! Judy K, Cathy & Mike arrived to evaluate the situation. Because the nest was on the spring high tide line, and hurricane weather may arrive before the hatchlings do, the Crew decided to relocate the eggs to the more stable dune line. Judi found the clutch, and Judy K and Cathy relocated it. Mike kept everyone refreshed with glasses of orange juice! Pretty nice way to start the day! [Nest #18 in foreground; #19 and #15 in background.]
July 18 915-E  


A huge loop of turtle tracks decorated the County Park end of the island -- just a really big loop as shown in Judi's photos. No nest yet, but ...
Nest #19
July 18661029-WSep 6-16
First emergence
Sep 12
(56 days)
56 of 66


About 250 yards from the Big-Loop-No-Nest were a neat line of tracks in to Beautiful Large Body Pit! Now that's a Nest! Judi and Linda found the eggs, but since the site was very low, relocation was needed. Judi B and Linda were especially grateful for early risers Jeff, Jim & Jim, vacationing from Indiana, who had not only called Public Safety to report these tracks "near the Barker family tree" (a.k.a. dead tree near Nema's tide pool), but also stayed to help carry the eggs and see them safely buried in their new nest just outside the park. Thanks very much, guys! Send photos!! (please ... note: if you've sent and they're not posted, please let us know & we'll send special instructions ... thanks) [posted photo not from The Guys; shows Nest #19 and #15] UPDATE > 9/13/04 Four hatchlings from this nest will be residents at SC Aquarium!
Nest #20
July 23112CGS-E-RightSep 11-21
First emergence
96 of 112


So pleased to get Barbara's call -- tracks at the end of Coast Guard Station Road! Even though the turtle found dry sand just above the wrack line, the location is known to flood on the full and new moon tides. Paula and Nancy moved the 112 beautiful eggs around to the ocean side where there is a stable dune line. We met lots of interested (and interesting!) people along the way and had the help of 2 great kids from Sumter. THANK YOU! We'll watch out for your turtles.
July 25 Co.Park-W  


"Just looking at these tracks made you feel as though you should go home and take a nap. This poor girl walked a long, long way. At one point on her way in, it appears she stopped for a rest. The outline of her carapace was clearly visible in the sand, but no attempt to dig a nest. She continued on, finally reaching the dunes which, unfortunately, were heavily vegetated. She circled a shrub and made that long, long walk back to the ocean." [Notes and photos -- thanks to Judi!]
Unconfirmed #4
as May 30
in situ8??-ESurprise!!
First Sighting
July 28
(53 Days)
Area rechecked 7/30/04
No eggs found.
What could be more exciting than finding tracks leading to a new nest? How about finding tiny tracks leading from what may be a previously unknown nest! Suspected nest area is kind of low on the beach and was possibly missed due to the tides at the time (approx. May 30 - June 3). Jeannine was on the beach at exactly the right time this morning to spot the tiny tracks and locate and mark what MAY BE a new nest. UPDATE> 7/30/04 Carole and Paula attempted to find the clutch and empty eggs, but nothing found. It may be that the tracks were from wayward Nest #5 hatchlings.
Nest #21
August 2in situ717-ESep 21-Oct 1
First emergence
Sep 29
(58 days)
75 of 94


The tropical storm off-shore didn't stop this gal from creating a textbook nest near the end of 7-East. Eggs confirmed and left in the great spot that she selected.
August 7 Co.Park-W 


Just when you think you've seen your big turtle tracks of the season ... a nice surprise for Judi and Linda ... TRACKS! But, no nest. Maybe she'll come back and give us another try -- be on the lookout!
Nest #22
August 16120(-2)915-WOct 5-15
First emergence
Nov 1
(76 days)
87 of 118


Fandamntastic! A great latecomer! It may take this nest longer to hatch as the temps cool down through September, but a bonafide NEST (even though you sure couldn't tell by looking at it ... see 3d picture above). An amazed Linda and Judi B moved the mighty clutch of 120 eggs to a higher location near the park shelter. UPDATE> 8/18/04 However, ... ghost crabs and fire ants moved in and began doing serious damage. Attracted by 2 crab-torn eggs, ants were pouring in and swarming over the clutch. Judi and Linda carefully, carefully cleaned every egg and relocated them to better digs near the 10th Street walkover. Well-chewed by ants, mosquitos, and no-see-ums, Linda and Judi could still get a big grin the next morning when Judy K, caretaker of 900/1000-West area, called saying "Judi! I have a nest down here that I don't remember seeing before!" Terrific job by a very dedicated Crew. (Thanks to Judi B for the story and the great photos.)