We are now down to six nests. I would expect that all nests will close by the end of the month. I think the success of the nests has been typical this year. Some nests have had really good hatch rates and we've had only a few really bad nests.
Nests are being closed almost daily. We have two to inventory tomorrow and one each on the following two days. Once those are closed, we will have 21 nests remaining. The nest that was closed today was our first nest this season that had no eggs to hatch. Foxes had gotten half of the eggs when the nest was laid, so only 40 remained.
Our last nest was laid on July 31, so if this nest should show no signs of hatching, it would be closed at 75 days on October 14.
We have now closed about a dozen nests and will have 3 or 4 more to close this week. Our early nests were reaching 62 to 66 days of incubation before boiling and the recent nests are more in the mid 50's range. We had a false crawl this morning! It was a very large female, but it looked like she may have been spooked by a fox and she also hit a line of sandbags.
We had a second wild nest. We had suspected that there was a nest in this location, but could never locate it while probing. There are now 5 nests that have hatched and 2 wild nests hatched for the season. This last wild nests brings us to 55 for the season.
There are three nests that have boiled. Numbers 1, 2, and 7. Inventories will be done this week. We were beginning to worry about what was happening. Maybe with all the rain and a little bit cooler temps, the nests stayed cooler and didn't incubate as quickly. I'm very anxious to see how successful these first nests have been.
We are now up to 52 nests. Last year, there were no new nests in August. In 2012, our first nest was April 30 and this year, the first nest was around May 20, so I wonder if they will keep coming up since they got a late start.
We now have 47 nests and have had exactly twice as many false crawls (94) as nests. There are several nests that are now due to hatch and everyone is very anxious for hatching to start. Our first nest was later this season than usual, so hatching is late as well. There were 42 nests last year.
We now have 40 nests. The number of false crawls remains high, but we didn't reach 40 nests last year until July 22. Fox predation continues to be a problem, but my sense is that, with the exception of two nests, they have been getting fewer eggs. I'll have to look at the stats to see.
I have had several people contact me about joining our patrol for a morning walk. This is not something that I arrange. If you are interested in coming out to Harbor Island for a "Turtle Adventure", you should contact Fran. She is our project coordinator and makes these arrangements. Her email is: FranNolan1@yahoo.com
We now have 13 nests. There would be 14, but the foxes scared the mama off while she was laying and then ate the 35 eggs that she did lay. There are 2 nests that have about 10 eggs each because of the fox predation. We had 18 nests this time last year. Our false crawl ratio remains high. I think we are now at 35 false crawls to the 13 nests.
We are officially 2 1/2 weeks into the turtle nesting season on Harbor Island. We currently have 4 nests. Unfortunately, one of them has only 10 eggs in it. Foxes feasted on 84 of the 94 eggs. (Those numbers may not be exactly accurate, but are close) We have had 11 false crawls as of today. Normally the false crawl to nest ratio is about 50/50, but I'm afraid with all the erosion we've had, good nesting spots are harder to find and this may be the trend.
I had my first experience with a dead turtle yesterday. It was a small loggerhead that had been struck by a boat propeller/rudder. There was one long gash and two shorter ones that cut completely through the carapace (shell) and internal organs were visible. The turtle had been dead for awhile before washing up on shore. Our maintenance staff removed the turtle from the beach and buried her here on the island.
The 2012 nesting season ended on 10/26/201 when our final nest (number 42) was closed.
I'd like to give you a few statistics for the season. All of these stats and many more are available on seaturtle.org.
Eggs laid - 3,924 - Harbor/ 365,787 Statewide
Hatchlings emerged - 2,149 - Harbor/ 174,510 - Statewide
Mean incubation - 58.7 - Harbor / 57.9 days - Statewide
Mean clutch (nest) size - 101.1 - Harbor / 110.7 - Statewide
Eggs lost - 15.9% - Harbor / 3% - Statewide
All in all, a good year. SC Department of Natural Resources reports that nest counts have gone up for the last three years. This is viewed as a trend and that our population of nesting females is increasing.