Turtle Tracks on Folly Beach 2007

Hatch Dates
based on
50-60 day average

incubation time
Nest 1   (R-1)


May 20126CGS-EJuly 9-190 of 126



Kristen found Folly's first nest of 2007 - yeehah - they're here! She reported a "beautiful, classic crawl" near 1565-East, a few houses past "The Washout" (GPS 36.6714/-79.90461), and noticed that the track width was fairly narrow and the eggs were small, suggesting that this may be a small or young turtle. Whatever the turtle's size and experience, she found a perfect nesting site above the spring high tide line and between two sections of sand fencing. She did a great job, but her eggs had to be moved to protect them from the beach construction project headed their way. Kristen carefully removed the 126 eggs from their original nest and transported them 2 miles east to the undeveloped end of Folly where she created a new nest for them in a safe spot (GPS 32.68336/-79.88768). Kristen, and other members of a special nest protection crew working with the beach renourishment project, will continue to monitor and protect this nest until it hatches. It's Nest #1 on Folly, and also Nest R-1 -- the Renourishment Crew's first nest. Nests will be numbered consecutively here on the website, but on the beach, each nest will be marked for its original location (e.g., "R" for Renourishment area, "W" for West side, etc.) along with its sequential number. As the season progresses, clustering of nests from different areas may develop in an effort to better protect nests through hatching.
Nest 2   (E-1)


May 21114CGS-EJuly 10-200 of 114


Suzie had "beginner's luck" this morning -- a nest on her first day as a new volunteer! There was a huge differential in the length of the incoming and outgoing tracks, indicating that the turtle spent a long time on the beach. On closer examination, another difference was clear -- one side, or flipper mark, was very different from the other. The turtle probably has a stumped or otherwise injured right flipper. But it didn't stop her from creating a nest on the edge of the wrack line, and laying 114 eggs. Based on latest new moon tides, the nest was in a risky flood zone. So ... after Judi B came to the rescue and found the eggs (thank you!!), Suzie and Nancy moved them to a new site about 15' higher. Suzanne, visiting from Germany, who had first seen the tracks around 5:30 a.m., returned in time to see the whole egg-finding, relocation process. It was a very special start to the day for all of us to share!
Nest 3   (M-1)


May 2966305-EJuly 18-280 of 66



6 a.m. wakeup call from Carole (who got the call from Public Safety at 2 a.m.!): "turtle seen nesting near the 3-East walkover!" Shannon immediately contacted Betty and Lauren who found narrow tracks that led to a neat body pit in front of the spring high tide line. This is the season's first nest in the "middle (M) east" section, AND, the first nest in the 3d block in 2 years! Exciting!! Nest assessment and a few probes found the spot where 66 eggs waited to be relocated. Betty removed the eggs from the original site (sure to be overwashed by high tides), and Lauren dug the new nest and placed them in their new home for the next 55-60 days. Great to have Emily from Johnson City, TN share this nest with us, and a big thank you to Mr. Henderson who took the time to notify Public Safety about this turtle's visit to Folly. (Thanks for photos, Betty!)
ANA 1 (R-A1)
Rebecca reported an aborted nesting attempt in the renourishment area. An "ANA" is an "aborted nesting attempt," also called a "false crawl" or a "non-nesting emergence."
May 31 R-E  
ANA 2   (W-A1)
Judi and Linda found tracks just past the crossover between the shelter and bath-house in the County Park. "Tracks were very blown over and could have been easily missed. But eagle-eye Linda spotted them right away. Only a slight differential in length. It appears that she came in, walked into the V of the sand fence, banged her nose, turned and walked back to the ocean." Great to have the tracks! Maybe next time, a nest, too?
June 4 Co.Park-W  
Nest 4   (R-2)


June 5109CGS-EJuly 25-Aug 4

First emergence
July 28
53 days

12 tracks
noted July 31

98 of 109


Kristen found one line of tracks in the renourishment area around 1 a.m. Amazingly, the tracks looped over one of the sand "ramps" that cover the long renourishment pipeline at various intervals. The tracks then crawled along the land side of the pipeline for about 50' before heading farther inland. Kristen had followed the single line of tracks and found the turtle as she was laying her eggs. Once the turtle finished, Kristen and the work crew stood quietly by in case the turtle needed help finding an exit ramp. With a few gentle redirections, the turtle found the next sand ramp over the pipeline and, once the ocean was in sight, "booked it" back to the water. Amazing! Were it not for the on-going beach reconstruction project, this nest could have been left in situ, but for the safety of the hatchlings to be, Kristen relocated the 109 eggs to a beautiful new nest site on the eastern end of the island. For folks who always ask "What time do they nest?," Kristen has the answer for this turtle: just before 1 a.m. Turtle left the beach about 1:45 a.m. High tide was at 11:19 p.m. Original nest location was near 1679-East (32.6772 N / 079.89571 W) and relocated to 32.68344 N / 079.88747 W.
Nest 5   (M-2)


June 5in situ807-EJuly 25-Aug 4

First emergence
August 1
57 days

114 of 119


As Juanita was answering Carol H.'s question about what the turtle tracks would look like, a perfect example appeared in the distance ahead! The incoming track led into the sand-fencing where it appeared the turtle may have bumped it head on, then followed the "V" of the fence out and up the small dune between two sections of fencing. Perfect site. With support from Shannon, Jordana and Lauren, Juanita probed and dug to confirm the location of the clutch. FOUND THEM! Always a good feeling. Kim arrived to help stake the nest and is excited to have a chance to keep watch until hatchlings emerge in about 55 days. Betty also visited this new nest to take photos (thank you!) and had a good time "talking turtle" with a 3-generation family visiting from Spartanburg. Turtles do bring people together!
Nest 6   (W-1)
June 5in situ405-WJuly 25-Aug 4

First emergence
August 1
57 days

153 of 157


Yes!! A WEST Nest! Probably the same turtle who bumped her nose on sand-fencing yesterday (ANA-1 above). She bumped again today, but this time manuvered around the fencing and found a great nest site between the fences, just as mom of Nest #5 did. Judi's report: "As Linda & I were returning from our walk, we received a call from Cheryl. She had tracks and maybe a nest but she just wasn't sure. When we arrived, we understood her confusion. The turtle came in, entered the the left side of a sand fence, followed the V around, climbed the dune behind the fence, nested, walked around the back left side of the fence, followed her in tracks for a bit, then crossed over and headed to the ocean. Confused?? So were we. But after much probing...success! The nest was confirmed and left in situ. Cheryl's grand-daughters from Minnesota, Victoria and Olivia, were on hand to share the experience." (Thanks to Judi for report and photos!)
ANA 3   (E-A1) + Track detail of ANA2
This short crawl didn't reach dry sand. For whatever reason, the turtle did a quick turn and crawled right back to the ocean. No nest, BUT ... this crawl exhibited the very same unusual right flipper mark that we saw in the crawl for Nest #2, in this same location, two weeks ago. We're hoping to see this crawl again real soon -- like tomorrow.
June 5 CGS-E  
ANA 4   (E-A2) + Another view of ANA3
Just as you're thinking the Inlet won't have tracks this season, there's a strong, symmetrical crawl (unlike ANA 2 above) about two-thirds of the way down this long stretch of wet beach (really an intertidal zone now instead of a "beach"). The turtle crawled all the way to the deep wrack line, but didn't cross it and didn't dig in it. She just turned and went straight back to the ocean. We're hoping she'll try again on Folly's ocean side, though nearby Morris Island may be more appealing.
June 5 CGS-E  
ANA 5   (M-A1) + Another view of ANA4
Betty, Denise, Judi, and Shannon investigated tracks into and around sand-fences near 501 East Arctic. Turned out to be a "false crawl" -- no signs of a nest. Maybe tomorrow? (Thanks to Betty for photos!)
June 6 501-E  
ANA 6   (M-A2) + Another view of ANA5
Whoa! Sharon found more tracks up and around sand-fencing, but ... still no nest confirmed. A very site-discriminating turtle! Wonder where she'll finally nest? (Thanks to Betty for photos!)
June 6 811-E  
Nest 7   (W-2)
June 7109 (-2)Co.Park-WJuly 27-Aug 6

First emergence
Aug 1
55 days

hatched photo
baby tracks photo

94 of 109


Judi: "As Charlotte, Kelly & I were at the very end of the County Park parking area, we spotted tracks and followed them to the body pit. Kelly probed and quickly found the eggs (109 total), which were very close to the surface. One egg was collapsed and torn with no yolk and one egg was broken in the nest. So, 107 eggs were moved to higher ground within the County Park."
Nest 8   (W-3)
June 7in situ701-WJuly 27-Aug 6

First emergence
July 29
52 days

99 of 110


Mike discovered and followed long, long tracks to the body pit. This girl came in went into the "V" of a sand fence and started to dig. Too close to the fence, too much rack... who knows? She left that location, went in and out of the "V" of the next THREE sand fences before she rounded the corner, climbed to the top of the dune between the sand fencing, turned around, headed back out, stopped, and finally nested on her way out of the dune. Whew!! The egg chamber was located and left in situ.
Nest 9   (R-3)
June 7132CGS-EJuly 27-Aug 6

First emergence
August 2
56 days

hatched photo

86 of 132


Courtney discovered short lines of tracks going from high tide mark to sand-fencing and back, but oh, my, goodness ... LOTS of tracks behind the sand-fencing near 1303-E! The clutch could be hidden anywhere in a 12' "trench" of turtle-disturbed sand. Bringing her clutch-finding skills learned on the NC Outer Banks, Courtney found the 8" nest cavity that contained 132 beautiful eggs behind the V of the sand-fencing. Because this area will soon be renourished, the eggs had to be moved. Courtney chose a site within view of this turtle's first nest laid 17 days ago. How do we know it was the same turtle? She evidently has a lame right front flipper. It leaves a very distinctive track (compare photos at Nest #2 and ANA-2 above). We hope to see them again in about two weeks when she comes back to lay her third nest. Many thanks to Courtney for taking such good care of this turtle's new generation!
Nest 10   (W-4)
June 16147Co.Park-WAug 5-15

First emergence
August 8
53 days

48 of 147


high temps

A happy morning on the West side! "Linda spotted the long tracks heading right into the V of the sand fence near the end of the County Park area. At first, we really didn't think she nested. There was so much rack in the sand fence and no body pit. It appeared there were just tracks in and tracks out. But probing proved otherwise. Linda wasn't sure she was going to get them all out of the nest - the bottom of the nest was shoulder deep. And then she wasn't sure the bucket was going to hold all 147 eggs, but it did and they were moved to higher ground." (Thanks to Judi for report and photos.)
ANA 7 (R-A2)
Rebecca reported a "perfect U" aborted nesting attempt near the east end of the renourishment area.
June 18 R-E  
ANA 8 (W-A2) + Another view of ANA7
Judi reported: "This girl walked a long way in a short area! She looped and crossed over and couldn't decide where she wanted to go and eventually went back to the ocean. Her tracks are distinctive and she should be easy to identify. Her left rear flipper makes 2 "v's" side by side. We'll be looking for her tomorrow." (Judi's photos.)
June 18 Co.Park-W  
ANA 9 (M-A3)
Juanita reported a short false crawl "U" below the high tide line in the 700E block.
June 19 700-E  
ANA 10 (W-A3) + Another view of ANA8
"Yesterday's ANA [see ANA7] came back today in almost the same spot in the County Park. And still didn't nest. She spent a much shorter time on the beach. Just a quick in and out." (Judi's photos.)
June 19 Co.Park-W  
ANA 11 (R-A3)
Kristen reported an aborted nesting attempt near 1587-E: "The turtle crawled up to the pipe turned around, crawled back towards and along the pipe and then turned and went back into the ocean. The crawl was found around 1am but the turtle was not observed."
June 20 1587-E  
Nest 11   (W-5)
June 20102Co.Park-WAug 9-19

First emergence
August 9
50 days

93 of 102


"It was another fine morning in the County Park and Jaime, our new west end volunteer, experienced her first nest! The nest was discovered beyond the County Park buildings, near the end of the new parking area. Beautiful tracks and a perfect body pit, but below the high tide line. The eggs were quickly located and Jaime moved 102 eggs to a higher location a short distance away." (Reported by Judi.) Many thanks to Tim Fell for photos!
ANA 12 (W-A4) + Another view of ANA12
Judi reported two aborted nesting attempts in the County Park area, the first at the "very, very, very end of the beach." Turtle crawled "forever," looping over her tracks and finally returning to the ocean without nesting. (Photos by Judi.)
June 21 Co.Park-W  
ANA 13 (W-A5) + 2d view & 3d view
The second false crawl at the West end was along the river where the turtle confirmed that there are no good nesting sites. She encountered wrack, circled and headed to water again. (Photos by Judi.)
June 21 Co.Park-W  
Nest 12   (R-4)
June 22103CGS-EAug 11-21

First emergence
August 13
52 days

hatched photo
hatchling photo

90 of 103


Michelle: "She came over the pipeline in an area where it is somewhat buried in the sand, strolled around for a bit, then laid her nest a few feet from pipe. She was unable to get back across pipe as sand was not built up against it as where she initially crossed. One of the dredge crew (Robert) and I gave her a boost to the other side and off she went back to the ocean!" Michelle also reported: "The turtle was not very large in size and laid a clutch of 103 small eggs. The original nest location was 32.67853/79.89409 and was relocated to the far east end at 32.68285/79.88860." (Thanks to Michelle for great details & amazing photos! Be sure to click on 1st photo to enlarge it, then note nest in foreground and momma turtle headed toward pipe in background.)
ANA 14 (W-A6) + Another view of ANA14
Another false crawl in the County Park area. (Thanks to Judi for photos.)
June 22 Co.Park-W  
ANA 15 (W-A7) + Another view of ANA15
And ANOTHER fasle crawl in the County Park area. A very hard-working and probably desparate-to-lay turtle looking for the perfect nest site. (Thanks to Judi for photos.)
June 22 Co.Park-W  
Unconfirmed Nest

June 22in situCo.Park-WAug 11-21 
Long, longer, l-o-n-g-e-s-t tracks ever seen on Folly led to small dune toward the end of County Park-West. Is this the perfect site that the false crawls were seeking? All nest field signs present, including a lot of broken and buried vegetation, but eggs not found. Area has been staked off to continue the watch. Hopefully tiny turtle tracks will be seen in about 55 days. (Thanks to Judi for amazing photos!)
Nest 13   (W-6)
June 23134(-2)Co.Park-WAug 12-22

First emergence
August 15
53 days

hatched photo

93 of 134


"Judy K discovered this nest directly in front of the Pelican Watch shelter in the County Park.  This girl came in, started to dig then moved forward into softer sand.  Judy probed and easily found the eggs.  As Judy began removing the eggs for relocation and worked her way into the nest, we discovered a crab hole, one empty egg shell, one nearly empty egg shell and a tenacious crab who kept poking his head out of the hole to see if was safe to snag another egg ... NOT!  So, 134 eggs laid; 132 moved to a higher location above the high tide line." (Thanks to Judi for report and photos!)
ANA 16 (W-A8) + 2d view + 3d view
Would you believe ... ANOTHER false crawl in the County Park area! From Judi: "As Judy K. was pulling eggs from Nest W-6, I began walking along the sand fence in search of a higher, more suitable location.  I had gone only a short distance when ... TRACKS ... going into the sand fence!  But, no nest."
June 23 Co.Park-W  
Nest 14   (W-7)

June 23relocatedCo.Park-WAug 12-22

First emergence
August 13
51 days

96 of 115


An amazed Judi B reported yet ANOTHER WEST SIDE nest -- the second of the morning and the fourth in just three days. Wow!! Looks like at least 5 of the 6 nesters from two weeks ago (see June 5-7 above) have nested on Folly again. We'll expect a third round around July 7th. (Photo thanks to balky lense cover.)
Nest 15   (W-8)


June 24112Co.Park-WAug 13-23

First emergence
August 15
52 days

104 of 112


OK. This is getting ridiculous -- ANOTHER WEST NEST in the County Park close to the "Danger" sign. Linda found the eggs easily and packed all 112 into the bucket. In the meantime, Judi B was digging the new egg chamber in sand accumulated between sections of sand fencing. A very efficient operation for this FIFTH addition to the West side in past four days. Momma turtles are LOVING the West end of Folly!! (Thanks to Judi for photos; a few more to be added soon.)
ANA 17 (W-A9)
After a 2-week break in the action, it looks like the turtles may be heading back for their third round of nests. Judi found this loop of a false crawl in the County Park where most of the nesting traffic has been.
July 6 Co.Park-W  
ANA 18 (W-A10) + Another view
Another false crawl -- short lines of tracks with a loop just above the high tide line. A good sign, but we'd really like to have a new nest to watch.
July 7 Co.Park-W  
ANA 19 (W-A11) + 2d view + 3d view
And another false crawl -- this one with longer lines of tracks that also ended in a loop above the high tide line. The flipper strokes, however, were quite different from the other crawl. This one was lopsided with the right flipper mark being much lighter than the left one. This may the return of the injured turtle that has nested twice.
July 7 Co.Park-W  
Nest 16   (W-9)
July 889(-1)Co.Park-WAug 27-Sep 6

First emergence
August 29
52 days

83 of 88


Tracks in County Park again. 4th crawl in 2 days. But this time -- A NEST!! Mike probed an exceptionally neat "body pit" to find the hidden clutch of 89 eggs. He dug a new nest site in a small dune between the sand fencing, where the eggs were relocated to protect them from being overwashed by high tides. This nest should be the first in the series of six that Folly has been watching this season.
ANA 20 (R-A4) + Another view
A determined looking crawl reached the stairs and rock sea wall in front of a newly constructed house. The turtle rejected the site and crawled back to the ocean without nesting. Invasive humans strike again.
July 11 SummerPlace-E  
Nest 17   (E-2)
July 171081575-ESep 5-15

First emergence
September 5
50 days

hatched photo

98 of 108


Public Safety relayed a call from visitors from Oklahoma who said "There's a turtle on the beach!" Young Ryan had been walking on the beach around 10 p.m. when he saw something moving in the sand. He ran to tell family and got back in time to see the momma sea turtle laying her eggs. She threw lots of sand around to cover her nest, then turned and went back to the ocean. The family put lounge chairs around the nest to protect it, then helped Nancy stake the area off for the night. Next morning's site assessment determined that the nest was too close to the high tide line to leave it in situ. Sunnie carefully placed the 108 eggs in a bucket to move them to a new nest closer to the houses. They'll need extra help near hatching time to protect them from house and street lights nearby. This is the first nest that's been left in the freshly renourished beach. We're very grateful to eighth grade teacher and grandma Amy who remembered Public Safety's phone number after seeing it on Folly's TV channel earlier in the day! Many thanks to Reed and other family members for using the chairs to protect the nest site. And very special thanks to Ryan for his help staking the nest sites, and for his most wonderful discovery of the nesting turtle.
Nest 18   (W-10)


July 17110Co.Park-WSep 5-150 of 110


"Linda & I walked to the end of the Pelican Watch Shelter crossover. She planned to walk; I planned to visit the far east end of the beach.  But as we scanned the beach we immediately spotted tracks.  Linda headed for the beach to check out the tracks; I headed back to the car to get my probe and stakes.  Just as I reached the car, my cell phone rang and a voice whispered, "Judi, she's still here."  I said, "She's still nesting?"  The voice whispered, "Yes, hurry!" As I grabbed my gear and rushed back to the beach I started calling team members.  Phones were ringing up and down the beach.  Several volunteers and vacationers, including Cheryl T's sister and nieces, were fortunate enough to witness momma turtle covering her nest, throwing sand and making her journey back to the ocean.  She nested in the trough (low area) between the sand fencing and existing dunes ... an area that has been over washed by spring high tides.  Cheryl probed the nest while Mike dug a new nest and 111 eggs were moved to a safer, higher location in the County Park." WONDERFUL photos from Judi B and Betty T -- WOW!
ANA 21 (M-A4) + Another view
Denise found this false crawl in the 600-East block. "She must have started her crawl close to dawn this morning since the tracks were very clear and fresh and low tide was around 6:50." We'll be on the lookout for another visit from her. [Thanks to Denise for photos!]
July 20 600-E  
Nest 19   (M-3)


July 29in situ1207-ESep 17-27

First emergence
September 17
50 days

photo 1
photo 2
photo 3

80 of 89


Kim found this beautiful, long crawl just past the 12th Street Walkover. Not satisfied with the first little dune that she encountered, the turtle had crawled into the "trench," past rolls of sand fencing, and into the secondary dune. It was here, about as far from the ocean as she could get without going into backyards, that the turtle finally stopped and created her nest (it's the "disturbed" area of sand at the bottom left in 2d photo). Maybe momma turtle knows something about fall storm surges?? Her nest's placement between the two dunes will require guides to ensure that the hatchlings go straight through the trench, over the primary dune and on to the ocean. Shannon already has the plan in mind that will help the hatchlings find their ocean home. It was fun to share this very welcome nest with visitors from Union, SC. Nest results will be posted here in early October.
Nest 20   (W-11)

August 1096815-WSep 29-Oct 9

First emergence
October 3
54 days

86 of 96


Shannon received a call from Public Safety reporting a turtle sighting near 815 West Ashley. Upon investigation, Judi found where the turtle had dealt with "a large deep hole dug by beach-goers and not filled in at the end of the day." As if that weren't enough, the turtle then turned and banged into the poles of a beach cabana left overnight on the beach. Come on, People. The determined turtle finally looped behind the cabana and made her nest. Most field signs had been blown over by strong, early-morning winds, but thanks to Gene's Arrows and Jerry's "nest fencing," the site remained visible and protected. Unfortunately, and maybe the result of a tired turtle encountering multiple on-beach barriers, the nest was laid too close to the ocean. Cathy, Annie, and Mike ensured the nest's safety by finding and moving the clutch of 96 eggs back into the wind-built dune line. MANY thanks go to the MANY thoughtful and caring people who contributed to the safety of this (maybe last of season) nest -- MUCH APPRECIATED!