Friday, August 1, 2008

Turtle Nest Dig

We got an email from our Permittee a couple of days ago, telling us that one of the nests in our zone had hatched and there would be a dig on Friday morning at 7:30. Of course, we wanted to go see if there were any baby turtles still in the nest.

We were off bright and early, just after sunrise. We arrived at the Seagrape access around 6:45. The sun was up a little way and was really bright.

Just after we started walking, we met the Friday morning walkers for our zone. They told us that they thought another nest had hatched last night; they saw lots of tiny tracks.

We walked up to that nest first and there they were, lots of tiny little turtle tracks coming from the nest which had an open hole in it now. Looking behind the nest, we saw a couple of dead babies and an empty egg sack.

As we turned to walk away, we noticed that there was a rather steep drop off , which was right above the high tide line. You could see tracks that looked like some of them had slid down and probably right into the water, because there were no tracks any further than that. There was a really high tide last night. Those were some pretty smart little turtles to come out when the water was right at their door. I would love to have seen all of them running to the water.

As we left that nest, we ran across a little sand art again.

We met several other people by then, who had come to watch the dig too. By 7:30 the people came to dig the nest, a nice couple who had their two children with them. They first checked out the freshly hatched nest. He took the two dead babies a little way from the nest and buried them in the sand. I think the purpose was to help keep animals away from the nest, keeping it safe until they dig it in a few days.

The gentleman dug into the opening left at the other nest and came out with one little turtle, placing it in a bucket with some sand. After digging a little while longer, he found a second one. He continued digging and took out all of the empty egg sacks that could be found. They laid them out on the sand so that they could be counted and the number recorded. I really don’t know enough about it to be sure, but it looked like there were 3 or 4 eggs that didn’t hatch. I’m sure the number hatched, etc. will be sent out later.

We watched along with the others, as the turtles were released and went into the water. One of them went up behind a board that was lying in its path and it acted like it couldn’t get around it, so the board was picked up and off it went into the water. They were swept away as they paddled like crazy.

What a great way to start a day!


Snowbird said...

I agree-what a great way to start the day. That is so amazing. Like you, I would love to see them when they are all crawling down to the water. Thanks for your reports.

ChrisC and JonJ said...

What a moment of a lifetime!!!!Thanks so much for posting the pictures too.Would've given anything to see that!

Tink *~*~* said...

AWESOME! Thanks so much for the pictures and the update. Aren't those little guys just the cutest? w00t!

Tink *~*~*