Turtle Tracks on Folly Beach 2005

Hatch Dates
(based on 50-60 day average incubation)
Nest 1


May 12142CGS-EJuly 1-110 of 142


Folly's first reported nest was also South Carolina's first reported nest -- quite an honor! The nest was laid on the wrack line against an escarped dune, so the clutch was relocated to a higher, sloping dune about 30 yards to the east. This area of the beach, and further east, is not within the Corps of Engineers renourishment project. Its "outside-the-project" status enables it to be used as a relocation "nursery" for the clutches laid in the path of the renourishment project. This will be our relocation target area until new, useable sand is ready for turtle nests in the 1600-1700 blocks of East Ashley.
Update July 12, Day 61 -- nest attracted the attention of ants. As it turned out, the ants were not only streaming in, they had created their own nest within the egg chamber. We've seen this behavior a couple times before when hatchlings have started to emerge from their shells. This time, no hatchlings. The majority of the eggs were "sunken in," indicating that they had not developed. 16 eggs had a different appearance and were relocated to an ant-free site. We don't have much hope that these will produce hatchlings, but will certainly watch closely. Update July 27 - The remaining 16 eggs did not produce live hatchlings. It's possible that this early clutch was not viable. Biologist theorized that the eggs may have already been in the oviduct before the turtle mated.

May 23 1713-1717 E  
An "ANA" is an "aborted nesting attempt," also called a "false crawl" or a "non-nesting emergence." Kristen found and followed the faint tracks. The turtle had looked for a suitable nesting site along the base of an escarped dune. She crawled past several houses, first going left, then doubling back to the right. She found only flat, wet sand, an escarped dune too high to climb, and a big rock pile. No place for a nest. We'll be on the lookout for her return tonight.
May 25 1101 E  
Short tracks in and back out. Betty, Sharon, and Carole checked the possibilities carefully, but no nest found.
May 25 601 W  
Charlotte and Judi found tracks leading to base of dune, a turn in middle (probably an attempt to climb the dune), and more tracks along the base of the dune before she turned and went back to the ocean. Crew probed and dug the 2 turns carefully for egg chamber, but nothing found. We're hoping she'll try Folly again (but Kiawah probably looks mighty inviting).
May 28 1411E Washout  
Beautiful loop of tracks -- turtle looking to nest. Washout not the best of choices. Hoping she'll try elsewhere tonight.
Nest 2

May 29149CGS-EJuly 18-28

First emergence
July 31

63 days

133 of 149


Looks like she came back -- and to the Washout again!! Nest #2 found by Machelle and friend from Columbia in a corner of Washout where construction has been going on. Useable turtle nesting habitat is mighty hard to find. Bob, CC, Carole, Judi, and Linda helped to make the long trek to a better spot in the Coast Guard Station "nursery." 149 eggs safely relocated outside the path of the renourishment. Update August 1 - 2 hatchlings emerged and safely made their way to the ocean this morning. One hatchling's journey was recorded -- it's a large (1MB) file -- will be very slow download over phone line connection. This is for you, Machelle! Update August 5 - Inventory uncovered 77 live hatchlings -- very unexpected for a 68-day old nest. It appeared they may have been traveling more horizontally than vertically. A wide interior opening had developed even though there was no strong evidence of a "dome" -- a thick, hard roof that sometimes develops over a chamber after sand dries following rainy weather.
Nest 3

June 180(-2)CGS-EJuly 21-31

First emergence
July 29

58 days

67 of 78


Judi and Linda rescued this extreme West end nest laid near the river. 78 eggs were successfully relocated to the CGS nursery.   Update July 29: one very weak little hatchling upside down, about 3 feet from nest; no other tracks seen. Update July 31 - much more definite signs of hatchout, but still no discernable tracks -- assuming rain erased.
Nest 4



June 5125(-1)CGS-EJuly 25-Aug 4

First emergence
Aug 7

63 days

50 of 124


Now we ask you ... is that any way to make a sea turtle feel welcome in her own nesting grounds? Human junk left on the beach was fortunately only a hurdle for her and not an entanglement. Despite the debris, the turtle successfully nested near 1141-East. 124 eggs were relocated to CGS. Young Tyler and his family came by and enjoyed the action! Many thanks to Machelle, Betty (great photos, too), and Carole for keeping these eggs safe. Update August 7 - Nest check revealed very dry hatchlings on top and an unusual number of pipped dead. Extreme heat during sensitive development time may have influenced outcome.
Nest 5
June 6137(-1)CGS-EJuly 26-Aug 5

First emergence
Aug 2

57 days

109 of 136


Betty and Lauren followed this turtle's long journey to a nest that would have been safe in the dune where the turtle put it in front of 411-East if renourishment activity weren't expected to be there within the next 60 days. Instead, this nest has joined 4 others in the CGS area beyond the renourishment project. The sea turtle bumped into, then went along and over the concrete groin in order to find the site she wanted. She even started a chamber, but gave it up in her quest for the best. Really hated to relocate this one! Credit for the beautiful photos goes to Betty. Update Hannah and her dad witnessed this hatchout late Tuesday night. Hannah reported that about 70 hatchlings made their dash to the ocean. A couple more were found in sand near the nest and Hannah's Dad helped to point them in the right direction -- away from the city's glow and toward the darker ocean horizon. Thank you, both, for watching out for the hatchlings!
Nest 6

Click on turtle to download
MOVIE of her return to ocean
(Note: VERY slow download over phone line)
June 7133CGS-EJuly 27-Aug 60 of 133


Michelle's wake-up call enabled us to see this turtle leaving the beach near 1621-East where she had nested in front of the pipeline! She was evidently satisfied with the quality of the new sand! A beautiful textbook nest yielded a clutch of 133 eggs (thanks for pointing it out, Carole!!) Update August 7 - Nest check revealed lots of undeveloped "yolked" eggs. Eggs appeared to have not been fertilized.
Nest 7

June 7133CGS-EJuly 27-Aug 6

First emergence
Aug 6

60 days

126 of 133


Second nest of the day and 4th in 3 days! Traffic is definitely picking up! Melissa and Sharon delivered this clutch of 130 eggs to the CGS nursery which is beginning to get crowded. Original nest site was near 1313-East.
June 7 1315-E  
Within sight of Nest #7 was another set of tracks from a smaller turtle. We'll be on the lookout for her return tonight.
June 8 1311-E  
Same or another turtle gave this area another look. Hopefully she'll find what she's looking for on Folly.
Nest 8


June 8156(-3)Co.Park-WJuly 28-Aug 7

First emergence
July 29

51 days

86 of 153


A very LARGE West end nest -- top eggs were only about 2 inches from surface. Total clutch was 156 plus 1 small spacer egg. 3 eggs were broken. The surrounding habitat was just too good to consider moving these eggs all the way to CGS, so a new West end site was chosen outside of the renourishment stakes and higher on the beach. This is the 5th Folly nest in 4 days! Update July 29 - one weak little hatchling upside down, about 3 feet from nest; no other tracks seen. Update Night of July 29 - Judi B went back to check and found 2 dead hatchlings on the nest and ants invading the chamber. She was able to send some strong hatchlings to the ocean, rebury unhatched eggs in another location, and find a safe haven for pipped eggs until the hatchlings were ready to emerge on their own. There's no question that Judi's quick and careful actions saved this nest. Update August 5 - reburied eggs have hatched!! Way to go, Judi!
June 8 Co.Park-W  
Looked like a 2d nest might have been laid n the County Park area, but turned out to be 2 abandoned nesting attempts. Looks like Miss Nema's back in town!!
June 10 411-E  
Lauren found tracks, and Machelle and Carole joined her to determine whether a nest was present. Looked like a continuous crawl -- no evidence of nest site. Maybe tomorrow??
Nest 9
June 10129Co.Park-WJuly 30-Aug 9

First emergence
August 3

54 days

115 of 129


Judi found this "perfect nest" just two houses down from the 4-West walkover. Turtle came in, climbed the dune and nested right on top. Carole and Mary located the clutch while Judy K and Cathy dug a new egg chamber in the West end nursery. Judi transported 129 eggs safely to their new home. Great work by all! Thank you, Turtle! Update August 4 - Judi B found 2 dead hatchlings at the top of the nest and ants invading. Judi, Linda B, and Carole were able to send some hatchlings to the ocean, find new location for intact eggs, and a safe resting place for turtles that still needed to absorb their egg sacks. Another timely save from the deadly ants!! Update August 8 - All pipped hatchlings have been successfully released! Linda and Judi did a terrific job protecting these turtles!
Nest 10


June 12149CGS-EAug 1-11

First emergence
August 4

53 days

137 of 149


Discovered by Jenny near the Coast Guard Station about 3 groins beyond the renourishment area. The nest was up against the escarpment, above today's tideline, but right in the middle of the wrack line. Eggs were located by Judi, and 149 eggs relocated by Jenny & Judi to a higher location near Nest 1. Job well done by exceptionally hardworking crew! Thank you. Update August 4 - Very surprised to see tiny tracks this early! Incubation appears to have suddenly decreased from 58 days to 53-54 days overnight. The extra hot spell in late July may have caused this sudden shift.
Nest 11


June 151221625-EAug 4-1443 of 122


Another welcome wake-up call from Michelle! She had been alerted by Public Safety Officer Travis that a turtle was on the beach near 409-East Arctic. They were able to watch the momma turtle finish laying her eggs, cover her nest, then go back to the ocean. Carole, Betty and Jenny investigated and found a deep clutch of 122 eggs! Perfect timing to begin relocations into the NEW SAND which was tilled yesterday. This relocation is THE FIRST ONE placed in Jenny's research study grid of the renourished beach. Betty did a great job removing the eggs from the original nest, digging and relocating in the new one. MANY THANKS to all involved. It will be carefully watched! Update August 10 - In an attempt to help minimize the influence of artificial light on the nest, a dark screen (black fabric mounted on fence posts) has been placed behind the nest. 20' of garden edging has also been added to help start the hatchlings in the right direction. Residents in all houses near this nest have been reminded that Folly has a beachfront lighting ordinance and that their help is absolutely critical to hatchling survival. Update August 14 - Checked nest for dome-ing at day 60 since there had been no emergence. Eggs were very deep and sand "heavy." 40 live, but very dry hatchlings crawled into the ocean.   [Shaded]
Nest 12


June 161061655-EAug 5-15

First emergence
Aug 12

57 days

105 of 106


This nest was laid at the base of a 4' escarped dune just beyond the footpath at the Coast Guard Station turnaround. Sunnie quickly found the egg chamber and Linda M, Jenny, and Harley helped to relocate this clutch into NEW "renourished" sand at 1655 East Ashley. Update August 12 - FIRST nest to HATCH from RENOURISHED SAND! Looked like very successful emergence, but a few tracks traveled far (several houses) to the west -- perhaps some lighting disorientation.
Nest 13

June 16in situCGS-EAug 5-15

First emergence
Aug 12

57 days

16 of 79


This is our first "in situ" nest this season -- left where the mother turtle laid it (about 30' from last groin overlooking lighthouse). She officially crossed the spring high tide wrack line in an area that will not undergo beach renourishment, so we're respecting her instincts on this one. Egg count will be known at time of inventory. This is as natural as it gets on Folly. Update June 20 - a bit too natural perhaps. Nest was lightly overwashed on 6/20 and again on 6/21 by full moon high tides. Update July 24 - Overwashed again on 7/23 and 7/24 with full moon high tides. Update August 12 - A least a partial hatching for this in situ nest -- on the same "schedule" as Nest #12 which was a relocation into renourished sand. (That's a good grade for the relocated nest!) Hatchlings that emerged from #13 seemed confused by lighting (perhaps city glow) and/or influenced by crabs. Hatchling tracks headed behind the nest (toward city) even though the ocean is easily viewed from this nest site.
June 19 419-E  
Betty reported that "The crawl was in, up on top of the dune, a turn around, down the dune to lower, level ground, another turn, back to point of entry, another turn and then tracks out. Maybe she was square dancing???? We probed all three turn around areas, in vain. Am hoping for a productive return visit (tonight) of this turtle!" Thanks for good news and photos, Betty!
Nest 14

June 201051707-EAug 9-19

First emergence
Aug 14

55 days

79 of 105


Betty got her wish! A great nest of 105 eggs laid near 300-East! This in addition to 2 false crawls that she and son-in-law Byron, visiting from GA, saw on their morning run between the pier and The Washout. The turtles from week of June 8th are looking for their next nest sites!! Beautiful granddaughters Ashlyn & Brook and mom Karen gathered to help put these eggs into their new home at 1707-E. A special thank you to Brook for helping to fix the turtle nest! Updated August 13 - Sunnie reported large crater, but no tracks visible. Heavy rain may have erased, or crater could just be first sign that hatchlings are nearing their emergence time.   [Shaded]
ANA 10
June 20 900-E  
This turtle was seen about midnight by the Public Safety Officer who notified Carole. Lots of people had noticed the turtle and were taking flash photos. Sudden movement and flashing lights do not create a welcoming environment for a sea turtle seeking a nest site. She returned to ocean.
ANA 11
June 20 1597-E  
This turtle almost took a trip over the pipeline, but she turned and went looking elsewhere. Maybe she saw the "Keep off the Pipe" sign. (Actually looked like she seriously considered a spot at the base of the pipeline, and probably found it much too wet for a nest site.)
ANA 12
June 20 1141-E  
Tracks approached almost exact spot where Nest #4 was laid. Turtle reached the dune line, but did not nest.
ANA 13
June 20 Co.Park-W?  
ANA 14


June 20 1025-W  
Judi reports that "Turtle came in 11:00 - 11:30 pm in front of 1029-W. The people who live in 1025-W saw the turtle. They were taking their dogs for a walk and fear they may have scared her away. She turned around and headed back to the safety of the sea. But, then ... she came back in at their house, 1025-W! Unfortunately, she reached the dune line and went right back out!"
Nest 15

June 21132(-1)Co.Park-WAug 10-20

First emergence
Aug 12

52 days

122 of 132


This welcome Westside nest was laid just above the full moon high tide wrack line, but in a low spot where the water table can be a problem, so Judi moved it higher (good call! see #13) to safeguard the eggs from future high tide inundation.
Nest 16

June 221131651-EAug 11-21

First emergence
Aug 16

55 days

113 of 113


Another great Westside nest! A call from a friend alerted Charlotte to the possibility of a nest at 807-West, and Judi confirmed it. To avoid the renourishment project's bulldozing, the nest was relocated into beach that has already been renourished and tilled at 1651-East Ashley.   [Shaded]
Nest 17
June 23143Co.Park-WAug 12-22

First emergence
Aug 15

53 days

119 of 143


AND ... another great Westside nest!! Judi reports: "Long tracks from the water to the escarpment of the County Park renourished area. The storms last weekend created about a 2 foot escarpment. Flipper marks were visible where she tried to climb to the softer sand above the tide line, but she just couldn't make it. She walked along the escarpment 8 to 10 feet, tried again and success! And, boy, was she ready to drop those eggs. As soon as she crested the escarpment, she dug her nest, right at the very edge! Because of the renourishment project, (and the fact that it would have been washed away) the nest was relocated to the West End dunes beyond the renourishment area. She was a large girl. The bottom of the nest was deeper than shoulder to hand. Linda B carefully placed 143 eggs into their new home."
Nest 18

June 25in situ1719-EAug 14-24

First emergence
Aug 16

52 days

114 of 144


A rainy morning for us, but a busy night for one or more East end turtles. This nest was between 2 false crawls -- one very close by at 1699-East and one about a quarter of a mile north. Probing revealed mostly soft sand, then a hard, compacted area. Digging the compacted sand revealed the egg chamber. This is the FIRST IN SITU NEST (left where momma turtle put it) in the NEWLY RENOURISHED SAND. We're hoping she'll spread the word that Folly has lots of sand to offer now, and send her friends. It was great fun to share this nest with our friends from Social Circle, GA! ... Well ... all day onshore storm on the same day the nest was laid pushed high tide washover past the nest. It was overwashed by high tides on 6/25 and 6/26. It does seem to be drying out well between high tides, but ... should have heeded Sunnie's warning on this one.
ANA 15
June 25 1799-E  
A beautiful horseshoe shaped crawl. She came up quite high on the new beach, but turned and headed right back to the ocean. Lights? Dogs? People? Something sent her back without nesting in this location, but we're pretty sure the same turtle laid nest #18, about 100 feet away.

Became nest #36
(see #36 below)

June 25in situCGS-EAug 14-24

First emergence
Aug 15

Day 51

A crawl up on the dune slope. Turtle's turn evidently created a sandslide that covered her actions -- great hiding technique! Lots of probing and digging by Jenny and Nancy, but no nest uncovered. We're labelling it a false crawl, but will carefully watch this area during August 14-24 for any signs of hatchling activity. Update August 15 - A few tiny tracks and 2 live hatchlings making their way to ocean told the story -- this was NOT a "false crawl." It's now Nest #36!
ANA 17
July 4 Co.Park-W  
Fourth of July False Crawl in County Park area -- Nema's signs recognized.
Nest 19
July 4in situCGS-EAug 23-Sep 2

First emergence
Aug 25

52 days

69 of 91


Fourth of July NEST! Finally. After a nine day lull, it was wonderful to finally see tracks in the Coast Guard Station ocean side. A long crawl in and out indicated probable emergence at low tide. Turtle crawled above the wrack line and over a log. Bob located the chamber to confirm the eggs, and the nest was left in situ (where the turtle put it). Happy Birthday, Carole!
ANA 18
July 5 Co.Park-W  
Fifth of July False Crawl in County Park area -- usual suspect -- Nema.
ANA 19
July 6 600-W  
Judy K reported another wandering crawl with multiple attempts to create an egg chamber. Sure signs Nema has been on the beach again. Hopefully she can nest soon and take a rest.
ANAs 20-25
July 6 Washout-E  
Melissa reported 6 (SIX!!) false crawls in The Washout area! Amazing. Hopefully the turtle looking created one of the nests laid today (see below).
Nest 20
July 61431695-EAug 25-Sep 4

First emergence
Aug 25

50 days

131 of 143


Very large clutch found and collected by Mike, Cathy and Jeannine near 400-West. Because of coming renourishment activity, eggs were safely relocated to 1695-East. Update August 25 - Day 50. Big crater, but no tracks. Crater may be "cave in" from rain (and turtle activity below). We'll watch.
Nest 21
July 61121679-EAug 25-Sep 4

First emergence
Aug 27

52 days

105 of 112


Another great Westside nest found just beyond the 10-West walkover by Linda B and Mr. Lucky (Tyler), and collected by Judy K and Jeannine. Eggs were sent to "the research grid" at 1679 East Ashley to keep them out of the path of the renourishment. Many thanks to Mike for all his help in getting Nest 20 and 21 safely relocated.
ANA 26
July 7 1601-E  
11:00 p.m. A LONG crawl from ocean all the way to where the grass meets the beach near the houses. Thankfully, the turtle only ventured a couple of flipper marks down into the yard area, then turned and found her way back to the ocean. Was she expecting to bump into a dune before nesting? Jenny, Bill, Lisa and Nancy got to witness her return to the ocean. Thanks for that call, Jenny!
Nest 22
July 7125(-1)1685-EAug 26-Sep 5

First emergence
Aug 28

52 days

120 of 124


3:30 a.m. Another LONG crawl from ocean all the way to the yard edge of the beach underneath the walkovers. Jenny got another good look -- same turtle that false crawled early in the night. Turtle attempted entry at one walkover, but hit a chair and a post, then turned and crawled right until she found the next walkover -- VERY dark, VERY secure, VERY far from the ocean. She nested there, leaving 125 eggs. By the time the turtle returned returned to ocean, she had spent 2 1/2 hours on the beach. Linda M successfully relocated the clutch to The Grid at 1685-East. Relocation was necessary because the nest was south of the incoming pipe where renourishment activity will still be taking place during the next 60 days.
ANA 27
July 7 CGS-E  
Just before the 3d groin, in front and all around the "Keep of the Dunes!" sign -- turtle tracks. Lots of crawling along soft little dune line, but did not appear to be a nest. Crawl and behavior was identical to turtle that laid Nest 22. Maybe ...
ANA 28

Became nest #37
(see #37 below)

July 7in situCGS-EAug 26-Sep 5

First emergence
Aug 29

53 days

Just before the 4th groin -- a quick crawl and turn on a little dune hill -- not really enough sand to create a nest. Turtle returned to ocean. These tracks looked different from all others seen today. Update August 29 - Not enough sand, eh? Well, guess again, Human. Turtle found JUST enough sand behind an old sea wall to lay her nest. Lots of little tracks this morning revealed her work!
ANA 29
July 7 1315-E  
Melissa saw this crawl between 13th Street and The Washout. No nest.
ANA 30
July 8 1315-E  
Machelle reported this crawl in The Washout. No nest. Seems to be a trend.
Nest 23
July 8in situLHI-EAug 27-Sep 6

First emergence
Sep 1

55 days

60 of 151


Uh oh. Beautiful tracks about 10 minutes into the Lighthouse Inlet section (after Lighthouse but before the crescent). What's best? Leave or relocate? The right answer won't be known for 60 days. Update September 4 - Inventory revealed a HUGE nest, but unfortunately alot of unhatched eggs (89). Some just didn't develop, some were open with pipped dead hatchlings, and about 40 appeared to still have a chance to complete development. These were reburied in hopes that more hatchlings would emerge successfully, but for statistics collection, we're considering this nest "done" with the counts shown.
Nest 24
July 10881691-EAug 29-Sep 8

First emergence
Sep 2

54 days

75 of 88


Machelle and Carole reported "very efficient" turtle nested in 800-East block. She came straight in, created her nest, and went straight out again. To keep the nest safe from beach renourishment activity, the clutch of 88 eggs was relocated to "new" sand in the research grid at 1691-East, joining 4 other "foster" nests that Sunnie is watching. Update September 2 - hatchout tracks showed immediate disorientation within the "guidelines" (garden edging). About a dozen tracks took an immediate right turn at the end of the guides and headed to the west instead of directly toward the ocean. Indication of lighting problem? It was moonless night, so any illumination on the beach could have drawn the hatchlings away. No dead or injured hatchlings found.
Nest 25


July 121101625-EAug 31-Sep 10

First emergence
Sep 3

53 days

67 of 110


Cathy and Mike saw short tracks in and back out just above the high tide line. Cathy quickly found the egg chamber and was busy removing eggs when Judi arrived to relocate the nest. 1621-East was to be its grid location, but the sand was much too hard -- like concrete, so another position near 1625-E was chosen. Great job, Momma Turtle and Crew! Update September 3 - hatchout tracks showed immediate disorientation within the "guidelines" (garden edging). About 10 tracks took an immediate left turn at the end of the guides and headed to the east instead of directly toward the ocean. Indication of lighting problem? It was moonless night, so any illumination on the beach could have drawn the hatchlings away. No dead or injured hatchlings found. Update - September 4 - Inventory revealed 43 undeveloped eggs, about 30 of which appeared to be possibly viable. These were reburied. Stakes and guides were left in place for continued monitoring.
Nest 26
July 16131(-12)1639-ESep 4-14

First emergence
Sep 10

56 days

15 of 119


Melissa found this clutch in NEW, UNTILLED sand. Guess this turtle didn't mind hard diggin'. The nest was laid at 1563-E, in the active renourishment work area, so it had to be relocated. 119 eggs now reside in a new nest at 1639-E. So great to have a nest after 4 lonely days of no tracks! Update September 6 - Upper back porch light left on for 2 days after visitors vacated. Thanks to Carole and Public Safety Officer Robert, the problem was corrected before Nest #26 hatched. Photo was taken Sep 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Nest 27
July 171291717-ESep 5-15

First emergence
Sep 8

53 days

7 of 129


Betty and Carole relocated this clutch from 800-E block. It was to be the first of THREE for the morning! It joined a growing population of nests in the 1600-1700 blocks of East Ashley -- otherwise known as "Jenny's research grid." Update August 23 - Nest overwashed by high tide. Update September 7 - Nest overwashed by wind blown high tide. Update September 8 - High tides threatened again at the worst time -- when hatchlings are ready to emerge. They will drown in the nest if overwashed at that stage. Nest investigated and one live hatchling emerged, 4 were dead in nest, and there were several other empty shells. The majority of eggs did not develop into hatchlings. Chamber was damp-to-wet even at bottom. The nest was about 60' feet from ocean when it was placed on July 17, and less than 10' from ocean on September 8. Very dynamic area near last parking lot on east end.
Nest 28
July 171031689-ESep 5-15

First emergence
Sep 8

53 days

97 of 103


The difference in the length of the turtle's tracks indicated that she spent some time on the beach, but didn't wander -- a good sign that she had successfully nested. Bob found and carefully carried the eggs from the first part of the CGS-E section to the research grid, several hundred yards away. It was fun to have CC and Sunnie help make a new home for these hatchlings to be.
Nest 29
July 171001703-ESep 5-15

First emergence
in true Nema fashion:

< 56 days

96 of 100


Jeannine and Judi had the privilege of finding a Nema Nest among her many tracks between the 517 and 519 West. [From Judi's report:] "In her typical fashion, she did everything she could to confound the human population. Her in tracks were on the left and straight as an arrow. Her out tracks, on the right, paralleled the dunes, meandered about and were crooked as a dog's hind leg. (I think the poor girl spends so much time on the beach and expends so much energy in her determination to nest, that she's slightly delirious by the time she heads back to the ocean.) Her tracks did, indeed, go into the dunes; back out; crossed over themselves; back into the dunes, where she left 2 holes; back to the beach; made a big loop; crossed over themselves, again; back into the dunes; out of the dunes; then, finally, to a beautiful body pit at the base of the dunes, with soft sand, a large hump here she turned, and well defined flipper marks as she turned. There was some thrown sand - not a lot, but definitely some. I probed and dug one soft spot, to no avail. The rest of the area felt pretty compact. I followed her tracks again, and went into the dunes, slightly above and to the right of the body pit. There was a little thrown sand there, too, but it, in no way, looked like she had dug. Nor did it look like a nesting area. But I figured, what the heck. The second time I probed, I hit a soft spot, dug, and by golly, there were eggs! She was actually facing the ocean when she nested! But instead of heading straight out, she came out of the dunes, turned right along the base of the dunes, did her almost 360 degree turn, to walk along the dunes and stager back out. " What a relief to discover that Nema actually nested AND found the ocean again! "100 future Nemas" were relocated to the research grid. It's a very special foster nest under Sunnie's continuing watch.
Nest 30
July 191501701-ESep 7-17

First emergence
Sep 8

51 days

134 of 150


5:30 a.m. Regular beachwalkers (2 women+4 dogs) alerted Judi and Linda that a turtle was ON THE BEACH NESTING! "But as we approached the area, she was just about to enter the water. We watched her walk the last few feet, disappear into the surf, pop up for one last breath before vanishing from sight." Judi reports that she was "Big and Beautiful. And a no-nonsense kind of girl. She came in, nested, turned and went right back out. Tracks were close together and merged toward the tide line." But, hello -- "The top eggs were very shallow - an inch or less from the surface." As it turned out, there were 150 good reasons for this -- a whopping huge nest! Judy K and Cathy removed the eggs (nest was in area that will be renourished), and carefully transported them to 1701-East where they created the new nest. Tyler and Zachery joined in the journey, and hopefully will be back to witness the emergence of hatchlings in about 55-60 days.
Nest 31

July 19111CGS-ESep 7-17

First emergence
Sep 10

53 days

107 of 111


6:15 a.m. What is it about THIS morning? Kristen saw ONE set of tracks leading from the ocean and knew right away that there was a turtle ON THE BEACH NESTING. Turtle was busy creating a body pit and settling in to nest. Thanks to the turtle's timing and Kristen's cell phone, lots of folks got to witness the turtle covering her nest and crawling back to the ocean. It was an amazing sight! Because the nest was located in a low dip on the edge of the wrack line, and the likelihood of washover at full moon high tide later this week, the nest was relocated into higher ground in the next section of "old" beach, well outside of renourishment traffic. Kristen moved all 111 beautiful eggs into their new home to develop into hatchlings.
ANA 31
July 21 1621-E  
Michelle P saw these tracks just north of the offshore sand delivery pipe. There was no indication that the turtle ever stopped crawling to nest. Her tracks came toward the orange equipment enclosure, slightly bumped a post, then curved and went right back to the ocean. We're hopeful she'll come back tonight.
Nest 32

July 23128(-1)1657-ESep 9-19

First emergence
Sep 15

56 days

95 of 127


Nest was laid during a short, but violent thunderstorm around 1:30 Saturday morning. Her incoming tracks (on right) were much less distinct than her outgoing tracks. And her nest was just barely over the edge of the high tide line. From all appearances she really needed to lay that nest quickly. One egg was broken during probing, but 127 others were safely relocated about 50' inland from the original site. It was fun to have Allison and Ashley from Virginia share the experience, and add it to their Folly turtle memories.
MI Nest
July 27in situMorrisSep 8-18 
George S visited Morris Island and reported this fresh-looking nest. May have been laid by the same turtle that nested (#23) along Lighthouse Inlet on the Folly side about 2 weeks ago. We've always wondered how many nests are laid on Morris Island, but have had no way to effectively do daily monitoring. We really appreciate hearing from George about this one!
Nest 33

July 281191625-ESep 14-24

First emergence
Sep 23

59 days

118 of 119


Found a couple of blocks "downstream" from current renourishment action, this nest had to be moved "upstream" into sand that had already been renourished, and out of the way of moving machines. Many thanks to Nancy M. Moody for sharing the experience and sending her photos!
Nest 34
July 311031645-ESep 17-27

First emergence
Sep 26

59 days

94 of 103


Judi B and Linda found this nest on the far edge of the County Park. It was relocated to avoid the beach renourishment activity coming its way. As Judi reported it, "Linda and I headed for our stretch of the beach, but when we got there and parked, we were in the middle of a torrential downpour. The sky was dark and we weren't sure about present or future lightening, so we opted to wait it out. About an hour later, we jumped out of the car with phones and keys and marched down the beach. And there it was. Right at the very end of the beach. Long, long tracks and a huge body pit. And there we were. No probe, no bucket, no camera, no brains. Fortunately, Carole and Jamie from the County Park came to our rescue. Carole drove to the park and Jamie shuttled her down in the ATV. Carole found those eggs and had them in the bucket in less than 5 minutes! Jamie drove us back to the shelter crossover. We drove the eggs to the east end, Linda dug the new nest and Carole" put the 103 eggs in their new home. Update September 11 - Nest "lightly" overwashed by extra high tides influenced by Hurricane Ophelia.
Nest 35
August 41161695-ESep 21-Oct 1

First emergence
Sep 29

58 days

96 of 116


Egg delivery! All the way from County Park on the West end to 1695-East. After removing the eggs from their original nest (in the path of bulldozers), Cathy and Judy K carefully placed this clutch of 116 into their foster nest. It's a very welcome addition to the research project area and Sunnie's continuing watch.
Nest #36
(was ANA 16)


June 25in situCGS-EAug 14-24

First emergence
Aug 15

51 days

73 of 114


A crawl up on the dune slope. Turtle's turn evidently created a sandslide that covered her actions -- great hiding technique! Lots of probing and digging by Jenny and Nancy, but no nest uncovered. We're labelling it a false crawl, but will carefully watch this area during August 14-24 for any signs of hatchling activity. Update August 15 - A few tiny tracks and 2 live hatchlings making their way to ocean told the story -- this was NOT a "false crawl." It's now Nest #36!
Nest #37
(was ANA 28)
July 7in situCGS-EAug 26-Sep 5

First emergence
Aug 29

53 days

130 of 136


Just before the 4th groin -- a quick crawl and turn on a little dune hill -- not really enough sand to create a nest. Turtle returned to ocean. These tracks looked different from all others seen today. Update August 29 - Not enough sand, eh? Well, guess again, Human. Turtle found JUST enough sand behind an old sea wall to lay her nest. Lots of little tracks this morning revealed her work! Nest #37.