May 23, 2012 - 2 Nests! false crawl

Debordieu SCUTE

North: Frankie, walking for Denny, found a crawl at the 11 mile marker. She worked on it for a while and Kathi, after having no activity in the Middle, went to help out. Frankie eventually located the chamber and they decided to leave the nest natural.

Hobcaw: It seems the 'tidy turtle' returned early last night and made another attempt but with no success (maybe). The crawl was 74 yds. south of 11. She came up to the steep dune and appeared to climb it, turn north and go exactly back over her incoming crawl. Betsy probed and dug but found nothing. Kathi will give it another try tomorrow.

There was a text book crawl at the 13 mile marker with one track significantly longer than the other, a great body pit, uprooted vegetation, thrown sand, etc. (photo). It was a perfect natural nest above the wrack line...good turtle!

DeBordieu       4
Hobcaw            4
SCUTE           12
(2 at Garden City, 1 at HBSP today!)
SC coast       453

May 22, 2012 - Hobcaw false crawl

Debordieu SCUTE

Robin had a U-turn false crawl this morning 95 yds. north of mile marker 16. This is what we refer to as a 'tidy turtle' because of the way she came up, made a tight pivot and went back over her incoming track. There is no interruption of the flipper marks, no broken vegetation, no thrown or mounded need to probe one like this. She probably didn't like the scarp of the dune. If she had laid here, we would have to relocate it. Let's hope she tries again tonight!

May 21, 2012 - NEST! false crawl

Debordieu SCUTE

Middle: Carolyn, Susan and Nonie had activity this morning! There was a false crawl 18 yds. south of Walkway #7. The 2nd crawl, 45 yds. north of Walkway #6, may have been a different turtle (smaller according to measurements). Susan and Nonie both probed with Susan actually locating a soft spot. Carolyn checked, agreed and Nonie dug down to find and touch her first turtle egg! The turtle actually encountered a walkway on her exit (photo) and the group decided to relocate the nest to 73 yds. north of Walkway #6. There was a total of 110 eggs. Nonie and Susan both got good relocating experience. Way to go girls!

DeBordieu    3
Hobcaw         3
SCUTE          7
SC coast    395

May 20, 2012 - NEST! Tropical Storm

Debordieu SCUTE

We are experiencing a very rough ocean and windy conditions caused by Tropical Storm Alberto. This low pressure system developed Saturday afternoon from a disturbance off the Carolinas coast. It formed 13 days prior to the official start of hurricane season which is June 1....yikes!

In spite of these conditions, one fearless turtle dragged herself onto the beach last night 98 yds. north of Walkway #4 and deposited her eggs. Betsy was walking the Middle, found the crawl and contacted Susan to come. The crawl was textbook and Susan quickly found a soft area near the beginning of the disturbed area. Susan and Betsy were joined by Frankie, her houseguests, Kathi and Jenny (nest was in front of her house). After Susan located the eggs, the decision was made to leave the nest natural. Susan is one step closer to earning her certification! Jenny kindly took additional photos (See Photo Gallery 3).

DeBordieu       2
Hobcaw            3
SCUTE            6
SC coast      355

May 19, 2012 - No activity

Debordieu SCUTE

There was no activity this morning...perhaps a little too chilly for our reptile friends.

Ghost crabs: Carolyn and Jackie, walking the Middle, found a ghost crab hole near the chamber of the 5/14 nest south of Walkway #1. Carolyn instructed Jackie in how to install a crab trap. Ghost crabs are a real threat to developing eggs and hatchlings. They can burrow into the nest and pull out eggs. They can also pull hatchlings, still in the nest, into their burrows. When a nest hatches, ghost crabs can clip the tendon of the turtle's flipper, disabling it and drag it into its burrow. A ghost crab trap is a footlong PVC pipe with a perforated cap on the bottom for drainage. It is buried to ground level and resembles a crab hole. A ghost crab goes in to check out the competition and becomes trapped! Volunteers check crab traps each morning and empty 'catches' well away from the nest.

Trash in our oceans: Here is the link to an excellent YouTube video about trash, particularly plastic, in our oceans and what we can do to help. Thanks to all of you who regularly 'sweep our beach' are making a difference!

May 18, 2012 - NEST! false crawl

Debordieu SCUTE

There was activity this blustery morning on Hobcaw! Robin, walking for Bill, found 2 crawls near mile marker #1. She briefly investigated the activity and then continued her walk. Robin had to get to work so new volunteer, Susan and Betsy went to train on the 2 crawls.

The southernmost crawl right at mile marker #1 had the most potential of being a nest. Susan did a good job probing the area and 'talking herself through the process'. She found a soft spot, checked around in that area, dug a small hole and found eggs! The nest site was borderline but because it was on a good slant, it was left natural. The northernmost crawl, 19 yds. north of mile marker #1, was very meandering with 2 sets of ins/outs indicating the turtle may have come up 2 separate times. After Susan probed the area, which had a lot of roots and no classic signs of a nest, it was deemed a false crawl. Great job Susan!

DeBordieu 1    Hobcaw 3     SCUTE 5     SC coast  254 nests

May 17, 2012 - No activity

The turtles were smart and opted not to nest last night and contend with wet, heavy sand caused by the heavy rain.

The S.C.U.T.E. area is holding with 4 nests (Hobcaw 2/DeBordieu 1/MBSP 1).

May 16, 2012 - Beach ecology

Debordieu SCUTE

Yesterday's false crawler did not return to our beach last night. She may have preferred to nest on North Island. There was no nesting today in the S.C.U.T.E. area (North Inlet to the NC line).

Scute: Even with no turtle activity, there is always something interesting to see on the beach. On Hobcaw, Betsy found a turtle scute (photo). These are the bony plates that form the turtle's carapace (shell). The number and pattern of scutes determines the species of turtle. And, of course, this is the origin of our organization's name, S.C.U.T.E.!

Bird egg: 2 bird eggs were found at the edge of the water this morning. Many shorebird nests were washed out with the May 5-6 full moon high tides. We will find out from one of our birding experts what kind of bird laid this egg. It was a little smaller than a chicken egg and blue-green in color (Photo Gallery 3).

SC nesting: 195 nests (DeBordieu 1 - Hobcaw 2)

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