2020 Turtle Season

  • CBTW’s 2023 Green Turtle Nest

    We at Caswell Beach Turtle Watch were very excited earlier this season when we suspected one of our new nests (#66) was a Green Turtle nest (see July 11 post).

    Our suspicions were correct! We were so excited to see the very first hatchling so that we could confirm the status of this nest!  It was a beautiful hatchling!!  Green Turtles have a very distinct markings. The turtles trickled out over a couple of days.  Then the King Tides arrived and the storm was approaching.  We were given permission by NCWRC to emergency excavate emerged nests early (we need this approval for any variance to their standard regulations), so we did so at almost dark on Monday night before the storm hit. 

    We were sad to find that not all of the hatchlings made it out of this special nest due to the heat.  Here is the story of our Green Turtle nest!

  • 2020 Year End Summary

    • Crawls
    > 67 Nest
    > 46 False Crawls
    • Nests
    > 38 Relocated nests– 56.7% (NC 30.5%)
    ▪ 9 nests relocated from east end
    ▪ 29 nests relocated above tide line
    > 27 In Situ nests
    > 2 Wild nests
    >Averaged 113 eggs per nest, ranged 76-154
    • Nests loss
    > Weekend of 16 inches of rain, June 11-13 effect on nests 1-16
    > Isaias
    ▪ 10 nests never located
    ▪ 11 nests had 100% unhatched
    ▪ 7 nests had 10 or less shells
    > King tides
    ▪ Late July
    ▪ Sept 20-23
    • 7291 Eggs
    > Relocated nest
    ▪ 4490 eggs
    ▪ 1608 hatchlings
    ▪ 35.8% hatch rate
    ▪ 5 nest lost
    > In Situ nests
    ▪ 2801 eggs
    ▪ 1664 hatchlings
    ▪ 59.4% hatch rate
    ▪ 5 nest lost
    > 3272 Hatched eggs
    > 2974 Emerged hatchlings – 38.8% emergence success (NC 44.3%)
    > Lost eggs
    ▪ 193 lost to fox or animal
    ▪ 1 ghost crab
    ▪ 65 DNA
    ▪ 1 broken in nest
    ▪ 71 missing after Isaias
    • Overall 42.4% hatch success (NC 50.8%)
    • Incubation Days (nests that actually hatched)
    > Average 56.6 days
    > Range 48-72 days
    • Crawls
    > Average crawl width 35.12
    > Ranged 28-42 inches
    • Superlatives
    > Latest nest ever- nest 65 on 8/22
    > Nest #1 -72 days incubation
    > 2 nest were laid during the daytime 25 & 43

    ☺ Volunteers
    ➢ 91 Volunteers on our list
    ➢ Volunteers reporting time and travel as of 11/12
    ▪ 5900 Hours reported
    ▪ 28073 Miles driven

    I have divided the season into
    1) Pre Isaias,
    2) Isaias affected incubation, and
    3) Post Isaias.

    1) Nests 9-14 were excavated on I-day because there had been hatchlings or signs of hatchlings. So all nests 1-14 had survived the June weekend of 16 inches of rain and while success wasn’t the greatest, they were all in the water

    2) Nests 15-62 were all in the ground on I-day. Day after the storm some were still marked, some were located by visitors, some were located by animals, some were barely under the sand, some were so deep we nearly lost the excavators, some nests were lost. Some of the lost were washed away. Some of the lost were just never located. Some of the located nests had less eggs after the storm than before. Some of the lost were probably just too deep for us to find. Some were so compacted in the sand that hatchlings were odd shaped.

    3) Nests 63-65 were laid after Isaias but nests 63 and 64 were overwashed during the king tides Sept 20-23. Nests 66 and 67 were wild nests that were high in the dunes and survived all the elements.

    NestsEggsShellsUHDead HLive HHatch %
    1-1417331362 3374017579.2
    15-6250971539257448 3329.9
    63-65 275 243 29 0 388.4
  • Winding Down the 2020 Season

    Rather than a new topic each day, here are the happenings combined into this one “Winding Down” topic (latest to earliest):

    Monday, November 16: End of Season

    Gary and I have tried to think of a way to have a meeting but think that it’s in everyone’s best interest to forego an in-person end of year gathering.  I am sending a document that lists the statistics for the year.

    2020 has certainly been the year of significant events.  I am so thankful for each of you and your dedication to see this year through with us.  We didn’t visit at night as much this year because of the virus and I missed you.  I missed not getting to know the new folks.  I can’t believe the dedication to sit and wait at nests that didn’t hatch….over and over again.  I try so hard to keep my cup half full but this year was an extra challenge with all the adversities that our nests and teams faced.   Our first few nests took a long time to hatch because of the colder spring, we had king tides, Isaias, more king tides and don’t forget the digging animals.  I said “animals” because I don’t believe we can blame it all on a fox or coyote as we had an extraordinary number of dogs on the beach loose every morning while their owners exercised.  I love my dog and he has my heart but he would dig given the opportunity.

    We don’t have any DNA data yet due to the lab being closed by the pandemic. 

    Things to be thankful for besides all of our wonderful volunteers…. visitors were accepting of our social distance, we did have hatchlings after the storm, we met lots of really nice folks on the beach this year, we all stayed safe and that green turtle did not lay her nest on our beach October 31st (Cape Hatteras was the lucky beach).

    So to all, please stay safe this winter.  Practice buddy checks with each other and as always please feel free to reach out if you need anything.

    Thank you for making us be great even in the storms.

    Love to all,

    Gary and Susan

    Thursday, October 29 –The last hatchling for 2020.  When team 1 gathered for excavation of nest 65, a flipper was showing.  In minutes a hatchling emerged and made its way to the ocean.  Inventory results for nest 65:  70 shells and 5 unhatched eggs.

    Wednesday, October 28 – A few more hatchling tracks in the runway at nest 65 this morning. 

    Monday, October 26 – Nest 65 has hatched!!!  Lots of tracks in the runway and 9 more this morning.

    Tuesday, October 20 – Nest 61 is marked as lost.  It was one of the nests marked by visitors but we were unable to locate the nest.

    Monday, October 19 – Inventory results for nest 62 – 87 unhatched eggs

    Saturday, October 17 – Nothing new.
    Inventory results for nest 64: 97 shells, 8 unhatched and 2 live hatchlings.  WONDERFUL!!!

    Tuesday, October 13 – HIP, HIP, HOORAY!!!!!!!  Nest 64 hatched!  Lots of tracks down the runway!

    Monday, October 12 – Nothing to report

    Sunday, October 11 – Nothing but its raining out there

    Saturday, October 10 – Nothing to report

    Friday, October 9 – Nothing to report

    Thursday, October 8 – Nothing to report

    Nests 47 and 52 were at or past 80 days yesterday.  The nests were close in proximity.  
    Nest 52 was located very close to the surface and had 119 unhatched eggs and 5 more undeveloped but open eggs. Of course a crab tunnel was into the nest. 
    Nest 47 was not located….not that they didn’t try.  The hole was massive.  Several teams have had the challenge of trying to find a nest at 80 days.  

    Thank you for all your efforts.

    Wednesday, October 7 – Nothing to report

    Tuesday, October 6 – Nothing to report

    Monday, October 5 – Nothing new.

    • Inventory results:
    • Nest 63:  76 shells, 16 unhatched and 1 weak but live hatchling
    • Nests 51 and 56 were both marked by visitors and excavations were attempted today but the eggs were not located.  Both nests are reported as lost.

    Sunday, October 4 – No news.  Nest 63 had 2 more hatchlings yesterday evening. 

    Saturday, October 3 – No news. 
    Inventory results Nest 60:  28 shells, 69 unhatched, 7 pipped, 7 dead hatchlings and 2 live hatchlings. Nest 44 (80 days):  3 shells, 91 unhatched and 6 pipped

    Friday, October 2 – Nest 63 hatched during the night at 56 days. Lots and lots of tracks straight to the water. Inventory results for nest 45: 136 unhatched eggs.

    Thursday, October 1 – Nothing to report

    Wednesday, September 30 – Nothing to report

  • Tuesday, September 29

    Nest 60 had 12 more hatchlings emerge yesterday evening. 
    Quiet on the beach this morning. 

  • Monday, September 28

    Nest 60 had hatchlings come out last night and 1 this morning. Maybe 6 last night. Today is day 63.

  • Sunday, September 27

    Crab hole in nest 65

    Please pass along to family and friends:

    Caswell Beach Turtle Watch Adopt-a-Nest Program is starting to take 2021 reservations.  Nest adoptions make great gifts!

  • Saturday, September 26

    No news today

  • Friday, September 25

    Big crab in nest 60.  No more news

  • Thursday, September 24

    Nothing to report

  • Wednesday, September 23

    The high tides should be behind us for now.  Nothing new out there.

  • Tuesday, September 22

    The highest tides are during the daytime and have over washed most of the nests but not all.  Some of our tools and green were moved back by visitors yesterday when it came in so high.  A trench has been formed in front of the nests in some areas.  

    We did get a call yesterday afternoon about shells in the dune.  An animal had exposed them.  We excavated a wild nest, nest 67 and counted 78 shells and 5 unhatched eggs but shells were blowing in the wind.

  • Monday, September 21

    Our poor turtles can’t catch a break this year.  The water has reached most of the nests. Nests 44, 47, 51, 52, 56, 60, 61 and 64 all had water over or really close.

  • Sunday, September 20

    All quiet.  No activity

  • Friday, September 18

    Nothing new today but the tide sure is high!

  • Thursday, September 17

    Nothing new today.

    Because of the king tides and prediction of heavy rain, we excavated everything that had hatchling evidence.

    Inventory results:

    Nest 26 @ 80 days: 102 unhatched eggs, 2 shells and 4 pipped eggs

    Nest 30 @ 80 days: 8 unhatched eggs and 1 pipped.  (76 eggs destroyed by fox 8/4)

    Nest 48: 134 unhatched eggs.  There were tracks around the nest yesterday morning  so there may be a wild nest close by.  The eggs were undeveloped.

    Nest 54:  42 unhatched eggs, 27 shells and 6 dead hatchlings. ( 18 eggs destroyed by fox or crabs prior to excavation)

    Nest 55: 6 unhatched, 85 shells, 4 pipped, 1 dead and 1 live hatchling. 🙂

    Nest 57: 19 unhatched, 96 shells and 2 pipped eggs.  Quite the surprise!

    Nest 59:  33 unhatched, 72 shells, 4 pipped, 1 dead and 1 live hatchling

    Green was picked up and moved to everything except nest 65.  We did not pick up buckets or tools.  If your stuff is out there and you want to maintain it, try to get it sometime today or tomorrow.  Sometimes we don’t recognize “special” buckets and tools.

    12 Remaining nests: 44(day66), 45(65), 47(65), 51(61), 52(60), 56(57), 60(52) through 65(26)

  • Wednesday, September 16

    Nest 54 had 3 more hatchlings emerge yesterday evening and 1 more during the night.

    Nest 44 had a dog or animal dig into the nest again and still didn’t find any eggs.

    Nest 47 had 2 crab holes and dog tracks all around

    Nest 59 hatched during the night.  It was a nest marked by a resident and we missed the spot by 2 feet.  All the tracks were outside the green and 3 dead hatchlings succumbed to crabs.

    Nest 48 hatched during the night.

    Nest 57 had 1 hatchling last evening.

    Nest 55 had 1 hatchling emerge and now we know where the nest is!!!!!

  • Tuesday, September 15

    Crab hole at 54

    Animal tracks in 47

    Nest 57 hatched overnight with 2 hatchlings still in the runway being bothered by crabs.

  • Monday, September 14

    Nothing new.  The tide has been super high and green has washed at nearly every nest.  Morning patrol pulled it back but it needs attention.

    Inventory results for nest 49: 7 shells, 113 unhatched eggs, 3 pipped and 6 dead hatchlings

    I believe we have the best, most dedicated team of volunteers in the world.  You have hung in there through the thick and thin this year for sure.  We are on the home stretch with 18 nests still incubating.  Of those 18 nests, nests 26 and 30 are nearing 80 days and there are several more that are looking pretty doubtful.  Nest 55 was never located but is in an area between 2 nests that did produce hatchlings, so reasoning would think it possible for that nest.

  • Sunday, September 13

    Crab hole in 54 and 49
    Nest 54 Had 3 more hatchlings emerge last night.
    Green is delivered up to nest 60
    Inventory results:Nest 25 @ 80 days:  112 unhatched eggs.  

  • Saturday, September 12

    Crab hole in 52.  
    An animal dug into nest 44 but never found the eggs.   They must be really deep.
    Nest 54 hatched during the night.
    Inventory results:Nest 22 @ 80 days:  153 unhatched eggs.  Nest 50:  67 shells, 32 unhatched, 17 pipped, 6 dead and 5 live hatchlings

  • Friday, September 11

    9/11  forever in our memories

    Nest 49 had a crab hole and an egg pulled out.

  • Thursday, September 10

     Nest 18 inventory results: 23 unhatched, 10 shells and 1 pipped. This nest lost 66 eggs on 8/6 and 3 eggs on 9/7. Crab holes nearly everyday after the storm.

    Crab holes in 25, 44 and 50.  Nest 49 had a big crab hole and a dead hatchling pulled out.

  • Monday, September 7

    Fox dug under the wire cages at nests 18 and 54.  Nest 18 lost 3 eggs and nest 54 lost 9.  

    Crab holes in 44 & 47.

    Nest 50 hatched during the night.  One of the regular morning walkers was watching a hatchling make its way to the water.  Sometimes it takes a village!

  • Sunday, September, 6

    Crab holes in 44 & 47.

    Season so far:

    66 nests, 46 false crawls

    7 nests still not located after Isaias

    23 nests incubating (includes 18, 22, 25, 26 and 30)

    Inventoried nests:

    4 nests produced 0 hatchlings (15, 16, 17 and 24)

    Estimated eggs to date: 6354

    Estimated emerged hatchlings: 2295

    Flies on the beach last night: > 1,000,000,000

    Hang in there!  We are doing great given all the adversities. 

  • Saturday, September 5

    Crab holes in 54, 44, 47 and 48.

    Inventory results for nest 41:  97 shells, 12 unhatched, 2 pipped and 2 dead hatchlings.

  • Friday, September 4

    Nothing new

    Inventory results:

    Nest 42:  75 shells, 40 unhatched, 10 pipped dead and 2 live

    Nest 43:  62 shells, 38 unhatched, 4 pipped dead, and 3 dead hatchlings. 

  • Thursday, September 3

    Nests 18, 44, 43 and 41 all had crab holes.

    Inventory results:

    Nest 31:  5 shells, 110 unhatched and 5 pipped dead

    Nest 40: 1 shell, 38 unhatched and 7 pipped dead.  This nest started with 93 eggs and the day we found it there were 4-5 shells that we put back in the hole.

  • Wednesday, September 2

    Nests 44, 47, 43, 41, 42 and 31 all had crab holes.

    Inventory results for nest 35:  12 shells, 101 unhatched, 12 pipped dead, 1 pipped live and 1 live hatchling

  • Tuesday, September 1

    Nests 41 and 43 hatched during the night with lots of hatchling tracks. 

    Nest 42 had more tracks and a big crab hole.

    Nest 54 was located by a fox and 8 eggs were destroyed.

    Nest 38 at the east end was lost but lots of hatchling tracks to the water and the eggs were dug up by a fox.  Inventory results: 78 shells, looked like 2 were probably unhatched but broken.

    Nest 31, 41 and 42 all had crab holes.

  • Monday, August 31

    Can you believe it’s going to be SEPTEMBER!  Honestly, if 2020 being over will take the craziness away, I’m ready.

    Crab holes in 40, 35, and 41. 

    Crab brought an egg with hatchling to the surface at nest 41. 

    Nest 42 hatched during the night with lots of tracks, day 50.

    We have put green at everything up to nest 49, I think.  If you get to your nest and need more just let me know.

    Inventory results:

    Nest 33: 22 shells and 80 unhatched eggs

    Nest 34: 63 shells, 16 unhatched eggs, 2 pipped live and 3 live hatchlings

  • Sunday, August 30

    WOW!  What a storm!  It was short and fierce. If you have green out and haven’t been out yet, you might want to take a shovel with you. The greens are full of sand.

    Nest 35 hatched during the night and apparently 1 little guy later than the rest. It’s track went waaaayyyy down the beach before it turned to the water.

    Inventory results:
    Nest 66: 50 shells, 49 unhatched and 4 pipped
    Nest 36: 87 shells, 34 unhatched, 1 pipped and 1 live hatchling
    Nest 17:  8 pipped and 74 unhatched

  • Saturday, August 29

    Nests 39 and 66 both had one hatchling during the evening.

    Nests 34 and 66 had one hatchling during the night. 

    Nest 31 had animal tracks in the runway, a shallow dig into the nest and 1 hatchling track.

    Inventory results for nest 16: 2 shells, 113 unhatched, 27 pipped and 2 dead hatchlings. 

    Inventory results for nest 39: 89 shells, 8 unhatched, 5 pipped, 1 dead and 2 live hatchlings

  • Friday, August 28

    Nest 39 had 12 more hatchlings emerge last evening and 1 more track in the runway this morning.

    Nest 36 (previously not found) had a couple of hatchlings emerge so we were able to locate the nest.

    Inventory results for nest 32: 112 shells and 3 unhatched.

    Inventory results for nest 29: 76 shells, 53 unhatched, 2 pipped and 5 dead.  A bunch of the unhatched eggs had been opened by crabs.

    Nearly every nest needs the sand removed from the green.

  • Thursday, August 27

    I don’t really know where to begin but….

    We had several calls late last night that there were hatchlings on the beach.  All calls within 30 minutes or so.  First one said near the lighthouse and they are all over, next one said 2 or 3 house past the lighthouse but they are all in the water.  Next one said east of the lighthouse, they scattered but I think they are all in the water and just wanted you to know. Last one said near nest 61.   Gary and I were not riding today so decided we would go to the lighthouse and look around at dawn.  Whew! 

    Nest 39 (previously not located after the storm) hatched with a fairly good boil and had a nice fan to the water.  We watched another to the water this morning.   While we were watching that hatchling, Debby (a lady who walks the beach and called earlier this week about a hatchling) called to tell me that there was a hatchling going into the water near 200 walkway.   I went to see if there were more.  Tracks were everywhere but we located the nest and we assumed it was nest 36.  A gentleman who walks his dog via the 200 walkway everyday came by and said there’s never been a nest in that location, therefore we have a wild nest, nest #66.  Morning patrol watched about 50 hatchlings go to the water after they put the green down.

    THEN, what we have called nest 61 had hatchlings emerge during the night.  Obviously we have misidentified nest 61 because it is only at 27 days.  I’m hunting for pictures to see if we can figure it out.  If all else fails, we will send DNA from the inventory to have it identified.

    So you see there were hatchlings on the beach from 3 different un-greened locations….but they did get in the water.

    Nest 33 had 2 or 3 hatchlings roam the beach last night too.

    Thanks you for all you do!

  • Wednesday, August 26

    Crab holes in nests 16 & 26.
    Last evening:  nest 33 had 16 hatchlings emerge and nest 29 had 3 more.
    Visitors, Avery and her mom, saw eggs on the beach and a crab this morning.  It was determined to be nest 24.  The eggs were only 2-3 inches below the surface.  Several eggs had been opened by crabs and others were dark in color and shriveled up.  We opened a few just to confirm that the nest was dead. We excavated and moved the eggs to the east end where it’s less populated.  The eggs were packed in the wet sand.  Isaias came at nest 24’s 40th day of incubation.  Thanks to Avery and her mom for taking time to call us.

  • Tuesday, August 25

    Nests 26 and 33 had crab holes today.

    Nest 29 had 21 hatchlings emerge yesterday evening.  A dog or something dug into the nest and 2 dead hatchlings were near the top of the nest.

    Nest 15 Inventory results:  8 pipped eggs and 134 unhatched eggs

  • Monday, August 24

    Crab hole in nest 18…..again!
    Nest 32 hatched during the night @50 days.  So glad the team had greened it early.
    Yesterday, a hatchling track was seen coming from a crab hole beside nest 55.  After investigating, we believe that the nest is really nest 29 and has been greened by team 9.
    Inventory results for nest 28: 122 shells, 12 unhatched, 7 pipped, and 1 dead hatchling

  • Sunday, August 23

    An animal started digging into nest 26 but only a couple of swipes.  We will put a wire over it.

    Green was delivered to 34 and 35

  • Saturday, August 22

    Just when you think the season couldn’t get any stranger…NEST 65.  Her 39” crawl went up into the dune.  We can set up a trick or treat while we watch.
    Crab hole in 26 and 61.

  • Friday, August 21

    Nest 28 hatched during the night at just 53 days.
    Inventory results for nest 23:  123 shells, 21 unhatched, 4 dead hatchlings and 4 live hatchlings.  Since it was a relocated nest we know that the nest prior to the storm was not nearly as deep as the team had to dig to get to the bottom.
    It is a guessing game and using our best judgement.  We have nests that are just barely covered now and some that have sand added by the storm.  If we expose the eggs, predators will invade.  We did drive the stakes down into the ground to try to keep them in place.
    Will they hatch or are they bad?  Nest 23 hatched at 55 days and nest 28 hatched at 53 days.  Nests 15 and 16 are at 69 days.  My guess would be that 15, 16 and 17 were just coming out of the shell and probably drowned.  I know the embryos in nest 18 were alive the day the foxes dug into the nest but don’t know how many eggs were left and how many the crabs have gotten since.
    I think we definitely need to green at 50 days.  For those nests that are “areas”, just do the best you can.  We have pictures of most if you want them.  We need to make sure we are checking them periodically in the evenings after they are greened, checking all around the location.
    Thank you for all you do.

  • Thursday, August 20

    Nothing new today.

    Coyotes dug into nests that had already been inventoried

    Nest 21 had hatchlings in the runway Sunday morning (1 live and 2 dead) but it had rained heavily. Excavation results:  55 shells, 77 unhatched eggs, 6 dead hatchling and 7 live hatchlings.   Nest 21 hatched during the rain at 55 days incubation.

    We don’t know the disposition of our nests and some of you have been sitting for a long time.  About half of the ones left have a general location and as some of you are already experiencing, we don’t really even know if we are watching the right spot and if the rain has washed away any tracks…it’s difficult.  We could be watching a bunch of nests for 80 days and marking more as lost if we don’t get to see the hatchlings. 

  • Wednesday, August 19

    Nests 17, 26, 21, 61 and 55 had crab holes.  No other activity

  • Tuesday, August 18

    Crabs in 17, 25, 21 and 61.
    Nest 23 had some hatchlings emerge during the night, morning patrol got to watch 19 more and then visitors called a little later and we went back and watched about 16-20 more. 

  • Monday, August 17

    Crab holes in 18, 28, 61 and 26.
    No activity.

  • Sunday, August 16

    No new crawls or nest.
    Nest 21 had 1 live hatchling and 2 dead ones in the runway this morning that were probably crab victims.
    Wanda set out to find nest 25 today and that she did.  They were barely under the surface and the top ones didn’t look so great but none were moved to see if they were all the same.  Hoping that it will have hatchlings still.

    Nest 20 inventory results:  50 shells, 61 unhatched, 4 pipped, no dead or live hatchlings

  • Saturday, August 15

    No false crawls, no new nests, no signs of hatchlings

    Crabs in 17, 47, 30, 61, 49, 57/23

  • Wednesday, August 12

    We have NEST #64!  We moved 105 eggs closer to the dune.  Her crawl was 34”.

    AND….nest #20 had 43 hatchlings emerge between 9:42 and 11:04.  The first ones were very disoriented and took forever to get to the water.  But we had hatchlings at 50 days incubation.

    Green has been delivered up to nest 21.  We may need to back up our green day, especially on relocated nests.

  • Tuesday, August 11

    No new crawls or nests but some good news.

    Nest 33 has been located.  Folks called late last night and told us there were eggs near nest 30 and we asked them to leave us a way to see them.  They had a nice circle with sticks all around.  Sure enough the eggs were right on the surface and looked nice and white.  We mounded the sand, put a cage over and marked the nest.  That is actually the second time eggs were on the surface since the storm. 

    Nest 20 had a crab hole and about 4-5 hatchling tracks.  Some made it to the water but there was a dead hatchling several yards from the nest.  The hatchling looked fully developed and had no egg sac.  Green was dropped off and the team will start sitting.

    Nest 18 had another crab hole and 61 looked like swiss cheese with 4 crab holes.

  • Monday, August 10

    Nothing new today.  Crabs abound.

    I have recorded 15 nests as lost and we have 34 still incubating.

    I said currently lost because we don’t know the location close enough.  Our GPS method was not the best but we will have an accurate GPS locator before next season.  Some nests locations were pointed out by adoptees or the folks staying in the houses behind them.  They had been on the beach for several days looking at them.  I believe some marked lost did not wash out to sea and should be incubating (if any are incubating) but we can’t narrow down the location.

    We could have another nest or 2 this week but then our laying season should be over.

  • Sunday, August 9

    Another false crawl this morning on the east end.
    Crab holes at 18, 45, 47, 54, 61 and 63.
    Hopefully we will start seeing hatchlings this week.

  • Saturday, August 8

    2 false crawls this morning. Looked like a big turtle with a 42” crawl tried to lay but couldn’t make it on top of the dune. Both crawls were between the lighthouse and 401 walkway. 
    No more nests located. The crabs are having a hayday in the nests that were invaded. Of course we covered them with cages but that doesn’t stop the crabs. I think the sand is so wet and hard, the only place the crabs can dig in is where I’ve loosened it up for them

  • Friday, August 7

    Well nest #63 today was safely placed way high in the dune near the Baptist walk over.  Her crawl was 34” and Jamie was lucky to have seen the crawl since she was dodging rain and storms on her walk.

    There was a false crawl yesterday too right on the east side of the steps going onto the 200 walkway.

    Status of nest:

    I have a list by location and there are 5 nests at the east end that are probably gone, washed away.  I’m certain of the most eastern 2 but will try to look for the others when the sand dries some.  For those of you tracking, nests 27 & 19 have been marked as lost by tide/storm event.  37, 38 and 29 are the others to the east that are probably gone but not giving up on yet.  The other assigned nests that we have not located at all are nests 24 and 25

    Some of the nests have been marked with a sign and no stakes.  Most of these are with the help of adoptees, vacationers or pictures and are marking the area the nest is located but the nest itself has not been determined.  Maybe after the sand dries we will find stakes or something. 

    The nests that were dug up are being invaded by crabs now.  The sand is soooo wet!   Nest #18 was dug up by fox or something yesterday morning.  We counted 66 damaged eggs but there were still eggs in the nest.  There was a couple that had been punctured and you could see the hatchling moving so some are still alive down there or they were yesterday.

    Our neighbors didn’t fair so well.  Oak Island only has 2 nests now, Holden has 4 nest left and Sunset Beach 2 nest incubating.

    We have delivered green to nest 15, 16 and 17.  Nest 16 will be greening a big area but the other 2 had stakes in the ground.

    I feel like I’m rambling.  Hope you are all doing okay.

  • Wednesday, August 5

    We are still trying to verify nests.  Right now we have 30 nests left.  There are 17 nests that we haven’t located or are gone and I believe there’s some of each category.  Nest 15 is being greened tonight and nest 16 is still missing.  17 is located but not due green until next week.  Foxes located 3 nests for us during the night, nest 46 completely destroyed, nest 30 lost 76 eggs and nest 61 lost 25.   

    While sad, we are much better off than our neighbors at Oak Island.  They have lost most of theirs.

  • Tuesday, August 4

    First, is everyone okay?  If you need help, we can help each other.  Just reach out to team mates, team leaders or us and we can help or find help.  It would be nice to know that everyone is okay…maybe team leaders do a buddy check on your team and let us know.

    What was I thinking!  WOW!  The dunes are gone.  We were able to locate about half of our nests and the sand is deep on some of the ones left.  We are working on a plan.

  • Monday, August 3

    No new crawls or nests.

    We had lots of activity during the night.  Visitors watched 33 hatchlings to the water at nest 14.  Nests 9, 11, 12 and 14 all had hatchlings emerge during the night.  Nest 13 hatched this morning with 93 hatchlings.  Because of the storm with high tide and rain, we excavated all nests that had hatchling activity. 

    Inventory results:

    Nest 9:   102 shells, 8 unhatched eggs and 1 live hatchling.

    Nest 10: 46 shells, 30 unhatched eggs and 1 live hatchling

    Nest 11:  105 shells, 7 unhatched, 2 pipped live, 2 dead and 25 live hatchlings

    Nest 12:  102 shells, 5 unhatched, 14 pipped dead, 5 dead in the nest, 6 dead in the runway before excavation and 28 live hatchlings

    Nest 13:   93 shells, 44 unhatched and 2 pipped dead

    Nest 14:  91 shells, 39 unhatched eggs, 4 pipped dead and 57 live hatchlings  

    I believe this should be about to the end of the nests that had all the rain.  Nest 15 & 16 should the last ones and maybe we will start see boils instead of trickles.  I expect the time to shorten somewhat too.  Everyone stay safe and let us know if you need anything

    See you on the other side of the storm.

  • Sunday, August 2

    No new crawls or nests.

    Nest 11 had 1 hatchling emerge

    Nest 8 had a few tracks

    Nest 12 had 3 more in the evening

    Nest 10 had 5 in the evening and a big crab hole this morning

    Nest 8 inventory results: 70 shells, 20 unhatched eggs, 39 that didn’t fit any of the categories, 16 live hatchlings and a lot of other undistinguishable stuff.  This is the nest that we moved from Southport (143 eggs) and when we moved it, noted that the bottom of the nest was in standing water and 2 eggs were broken in the nest.  Also noted that the eggs felt really thin.  Now after incubation, they were really thin. When the embryo got big enough the egg shell split.  The nest was a mess.  The positive thing is…if we hadn’t moved it there would be none because it was already in water.  The team did have 21 hatchlings the first night, several during the night, 7 last night and 16 live hatchlings today.  I sent pictures to Matthew and Sarah.  He actually replied that SC had a nest in which most of the eggs were shell-less, just yolks and albumin.  DNA will tell us if they are related.  Always interesting.

  • Saturday, August 1

    No new nests or crawls.
    Nests 8, 10 and 12 all had a few hatchlings emerge.  Hopefully more will make their way before the storm.
    Inventory results: Nest 6- 113 shells, 4 unhatched, 2 pipped, 3 dead and 2 live hatchlings

  • Friday, July 31

    2 more nests today!

    Nest 61 had a 33” crawl.  Nest 62 was laid and 87 eggs were moved back to the dune.  37” crawl

    The winds are blowing, the tide is rising and the moon is full.  Not a good combination for our nests.

    Inventory results:

    Nest 1- 103 shells, 10 unhatched, 1 pipped And 1 live hatchling

    Nest 2- 97 shells, 11 unhatched, 2 pipped, 7 dead and 5 live hatchlings

    Nest 3- 104 shells, 11 unhatched, 26 pipped, 17 dead and 12 live hatchlings

  • Wednesday, July 29

    No new nests or crawls.

    Nest 6 hatched around 1:15 with 107 hatchlings

    Inventory results:

    Nest 4: 101 shells, 9 unhatched eggs, 1 dead hatchling and 4 live hatchlings

    Nest 7: 126 shells, 9 unhatched eggs and 22 live hatchling

  • Tuesday, July 28

    No new nests or crawls.

    Nests 1,2,3,4 and 7 all had a turtle/s emerge during the night.  2 dead hatchlings at nest 3.

    We are greened up to nest 12.

  • Monday, July 27

    Nest #60!  She was just finishing up when morning patrol got there.  The nest was laid and 104 eggs were relocated to a safer location.  Her crawl was 33”

    The BIGGEST news of the day is that nests 1 and 2 both hatched.  Nest 1 was during the night.  Nest 2 had 67 hatchlings between 10:00 and midnight and then more during the night.  72 days for #1 and 69 days for #2.

    Nest 3 had several more come out during the night.

    Nest 4 had lots more during the night and 1 dead hatchling in the runway this morning.

    Nest 5 had 5 more

    Nest 7 had 48 come out around 9:30 then a few more during the night

    Nest 5 inventory results:  110 egg shells, 29 unhatched, 5 dead, 7 pipped and 6 live hatchlings

  • Sunday, July 26

    1 nest, 3 false crawls

    Nest 59 had a 29” crawl and 110 eggs.  She was spotted on the beach last night and actually dug a hole but moved to another spot and nested.  It was still too close to the escarpment to leave in place.

    The 3 false crawls were 32” at east point, 28” west of the point and 29” east of 629


    Nest 3 had 31 hatchlings in the evening and 7-8 more during the night

    Nest 4 had several more during the night

    Nest 5 had 9 more for the evening

    Nest 7 had 1 waving for a couple of hours and ended up watching 11, then 7-8 more during the night

    No, nests 1 & 2 haven’t done anything yet!  Yes, they are on day 71 & 68.  Yes, we have been there EVERY night.

    3 (62 days), 4 (60 days), 5 (60days), 7 (60 days)

  • Saturday, July 25

    Nest #58 had a 32” crawl.

    Nest #5 had 22 more hatchlings emerge over the evening last night and there were a few more tracks in the runway this morning.

    Nest #3 had a crab hole and hatchling in the runway that was pulled out by the crab.  We saw him safely to the water.

  • Friday, July 24

    Nest 57 today!  She knows nothing about social distancing.  She crashed the stakes around nest 23 and laid her nest right next to it. She had a 33” crawl.

    Nest #4 and nest #5 both had hatchlings emerge last night.  59 from #5 and 18 from #4 and both nest took their time to come out.

  • Thursday, July 23

    2 false crawls between 601 and 429 walkways, 30” and 32”.

    Still no hatchlings.

  • Wednesday, July 22

    2 false crawls and nest #56 today

    Nest 56 had a 28” crawl

    False crawls were 30” west of the lighthouse and 32” east of Tom Hess

  • Tuesday, July 21

    Nest #55 had a 36” crawl.

    Holden Beach is still the only nest to hatch so far.  I texted with Matthew this morning asking about the earlier nests and his response was that everything is delayed due to the cold snap in May/June.  SC and GA are also delayed.  Our nest 1 is at 66 days now.

  • Monday, July 20

    1 new nest and 1 false crawl

    False crawl was near ocean dunes, 36” crawl.  Nest #54 had a 32” crawl.

  • Sunday, July 19

    2 more nests today.

    #52 has 127 eggs, 38” crawl.

    #53 has 121 eggs, 36” crawl.

  • Saturday, July 18

    Nest 51 has 100 eggs and had a 38” crawl

    2 of the longest crawls today.  38” and 32” winding all over in front of the public parking area and then west of 401 walkway.

    Lastly, one of the biggest holes I’ve ever personally seen on the beach relatively close to the dune between 200 walkway and the lifeguard stand.  It was at least 6 ft deep and wide.  Someone actually sent us a message last night to let us know it was there and to be careful this morning.

  • Friday, July 17

    2 more nests! #49 has 128 eggs, 33” crawl. #50 had a 36” crawl.

  • Thursday, July 16

    Team 3 had excitement last night while sitting at nest #2.  A turtle came in on the beach but didn’t go real far up before turning around and heading back out.  We called it a false crawl for today even though the tracks were erased by the tide.

    Morning patrol had 2 more false crawls and 1 nest.  26” false crawl just east of Mercer and a 31” false crawl on the east end.  Nest #48 has 134 eggs and a 35” crawl.

    Not so exciting news, nest # 9 was dug into by a fox and we lost about 6 eggs.

  • Wednesday, July 15

    Nothing to report today

  • Tuesday, June 14

    3 new nests today!

    #45 was relocated, 136 eggs, 34” crawl
    #46, insitu, 34” crawl
    #47 moved 104 eggs closer to the dune,  29” crawl

    South Carolina reported their first hatchlings yesterday at 60 days incubation but none for North Carolina yet.  Our nest #1 had a crab hole today but no activity.

  • Monday, July 13

    1 false crawl and 1 nest

    The false crawl was on the east point and she even dug a hole. Maybe she hit water? 32” crawl

    Nest 44 was laid and had a 34” crawl, 99 eggs moved to the dune.

  • Sunday, July 12 Surprise

    A turtle came on shore and laid 107 eggs at the high tide line. We moved nest #43 back to the dune. She had a 32” crawl. There were about 20-25 spectators who all watched respectfully. 

  • Sunday, July 12

    Nest #42 was moved toward the dunes, 38” crawl

    2 false crawls: 34” near Tom Hess and 35” near the golf course

  • Saturday, July 11

    Nest #41 was safely placed in the dune. 38” crawl

  • Friday, July 10

    3 more nests today – each requiring relocation.

    #38, 31” crawl, 84 eggs

    #39, 37” crawl, 101 eggs

    #40, 38” crawl, 93 eggs

  • Wednesday, July 8

    Nest #37 has 110 eggs and 34” crawl.

  • Tuesday, July 7

    3 new nests and a false crawl today

    False crawl was on the east point and 33”

    Nest #34 had a 39” crawl

    Nest #35 was relocated to the dune, 125 eggs and 37” crawl

    Nest #36 had a 33” crawl and 140 eggs were moved from east point escarpment

    We will be greening nest 1 tonight at 7:00.  We will continue in rain but not lightning.

  • Monday, July 6

    1 36” false crawl today near the lifeguard stand.

    We will be greening nest #1 tomorrow at 7:00.  Tomorrow is the 52nd day for #1.  Sitting will start on the 56th day, Saturday, unless we see signs indicating otherwise.

  • Sunday, July 5

    Even with all the fireworks on the beach we still had 4 false crawls and 2 nests.

    3 false crawls were on the east end between lighthouse and lifeguard stand, 33”, 34” and 28”.  Then the last false crawl was a 29” crawl and went in and out of the dune over 4 houses….bless her.

    Nest 32 was 29” crawl and was laid safely.

    Nest 33 was 35” crawl and was laid safely.

  • Saturday, July 4

    32” false crawl at the east end today.

  • Friday, July 3

    Nest #31 and a false crawl today.

    Nest #31 needed to be moved behind the high tide line.  118 eggs moved back to the dune.  29” crawl

    The false crawl was in front of the villas, 33” crawl.

  • Thursday, July 2

    Wednesday, we had a 32” false crawl in the 600 block.

    Today, 2 new nests.  Nest 29, we moved 131 eggs to a safer location, 32” crawl.  Nest 30 had a 40” crawl and was safely laid.

  • Monday, June 29

    2 nest and a false crawl today. 

    Nest #27 was laid high on a hill so was left in place with a 38” crawl.

    Nest #28 had a 36” crawl.

    False crawl was 33” and near Bob Spake walkway

  • Sunday, June 28

    Nest #26 was laid.  108 eggs were moved closer to the dune and the crawl was 38”.

    3 false crawls today, all on the east end and we measured 34”, 35” and 36”.

  • Saturday, June 27

    2 false crawls on the east end today.  One measured 33” and the other was 39”.

  • Friday, June 26

    No new crawls or nest the last 2 days.
    We did have an injured turtle on the beach yesterday that was transported to The Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.  Looked like a boat strike that they said was an old wound but were hopeful for her recovery.  Thanks to all those involved in getting her there.

  • Wednesday, June 24 (More)

    Nest #25. Turtle came in the beach around 10:00 and laid her nest. She had a 36” crawl.   Onlookers notified, patrol came, crowd was good. Video will be posted on Facebook later today.


  • Wednesday, June 24

     2 more nests today. 

    #23 was laid on the east point escarpment and relocated to safer location. 144 eggs. 33” crawl

    #24 was moved back from the tide line. 115 eggs. 35” crawl

  • Tuesday, June 23

    Nest #22 153 eggs moved from East escarpment to the beach area proper. 35” Crawl

    33” false crawl at the east point

  • Monday, June 22

     False crawl at the east point, 39” crawl

    Nest #19 relocated 114 eggs away from the tide line – 38” crawl

    Nest #20 120 eggs moved back to the dune. 35” crawl

    Nest #21 safely laid.

  • Sunday, June 21

    We had a 32” false crawl yesterday mid Caswell Dunes. 

    Today nest #18 was laid and her crawl was 33”. 

    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Enjoy your day. 

  • Thursday, June 18

    Nest #17 and 2 false crawls today.

    False crawls were 29” and 34” and near volleyball courts. One a Ocean Greens \, the other at Lazy Turtle.

    Nest #17 was laid and relocated 82 eggs. She had a 34” crawl.

  • Wednesday, June 17

    A 33” false crawl at the point today.
    Can you believe all the rain!  Morning patrollers have been troopers.  Even the turtles know to stay in in all this rain.

  • Sunday, June 14

    Nothing new today.

    It sure is wet out there

  • Saturday, June 13

    Yesterday we a 37” false crawl at the east point.

    Today we had 2 new nests.  Nest 15 had a 36” crawl and placed safely at the dune.  Nest 16 had a 34” crawl and we moved144 eggs closer to the dune.

  • Tuesday, June 9

    Nothing new today

  • Monday, June 8

    2 new nests today

    Nest #13 was safely laid and had a 35” crawl.
    Nest #14 had 134 eggs that were moved closer to the dunes. Her crawl was 37”.

  • Sunday, June 7

    Nothing new the last couple of days, so we are holding at 12 nests.  The season is still early.

  • Friday, June 5

    34” crawl led to nest #12.

  • Thursday, June 4

    False crawl on the east end this morning, 35”.

  • Wednesday, June 3

    2 new nests today.  With the blowing sand and sea foam we almost missed one of the nests.
    Nest #10 was laid and we relocated 76 eggs,  42” crawl.
    Nest #11 was laid and we relocated 114 eggs.  Her crawl was 38”

  • Sunday, May 31

    Nest #9 had a 40” crawl and we moved 116 eggs closer to the dune

  • Friday, May 29

    Nothing on our beach this morning but got a call about our Southport turtle.  We brought 143 eggs and placed them on the island.  Her crawl was 38” and that’s Nest #8!

  • Thursday, May 28

    Nest #7 was laid yesterday.  The crawl was 39”.

    Nothing for today.

  • Tuesday, May 26

    A 40” crawl led to securely placed nest #6 today.

  • Monday, May 25

    An eventful start to Memorial Day.  3 nests today!

    Nest #3 was laid and 141 eggs were relocated, 34” crawl.

    Nest #4 had a 35” crawl and was moved back to the dunes, 111 eggs.

    Nest #5, 36” crawl and 145 eggs moved away from the tide line.

    Remember those who sacrificed ultimately ensuring our freedom of choice.  Have a safe and happy Memorial Day.

  • Friday, May 22

    We had a 34” false crawl near the 601 walkway this morning.

  • Tuesday, May 19

    Nest #2 today,  34” crawl. We located the eggs just before the downpour set in.   

  • Saturday, May 16

    WE HAVE NEST #1!!!!
    36” crawl and laid safely next to the dunes.

  • Friday, May 15

    Still no more activity.  Oak Island, Holden and Ocean Isle all have nests so it will be any day now. 

  • Saturday, May 9th

    Our season is underway.  We had 2 false crawls this morning.  First was a 37” at the east point and then a 33” crawl over on the river in Southport.  Maybe tomorrow will be the day for a nest!

  • Tuesday, May 5th

    No turtle news but we did get our ATV for morning patrol delivered today.

  • Sunday, May 3rd

    NC has it’s first nest!  Ft Fisher State Recreation Area had a nest today.  I was hoping that we would be first this year but maybe we will be next. 

  • Friday, May 1

    May 1, the first day of the rest of 2020 turtle season

    It was a cold but beautiful morning.  We will be patrolling every morning but I will only update the blog when there is something to report.

  • 2020 Turtle Season Is Almost Here

    I hope this message finds everyone safe, well and hunkered in.  This could be an interesting year for turtle watching and social distancing.  We will begin morning patrols on Friday, May 1st.  Georgia had their first loggerhead nest yesterday so as history has it, NC should be seeing a crawl in the next couple of weeks.  There’s been lots of cannonball jellies on the beach and the turtles follow them in.

    We did have a rather large dead loggerhead near the golf course Monday, April 20 that we buried on the beach and then on Wednesday, April 22, we transported a cold-stunned green to Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.

    After the article in the State Port Pilot, I have gotten several inquiries for new volunteers and as you all know besides morning patrol, the season doesn’t really start for most until July.  I will send emails when there is something to report. 

    Stay safe and hoping for a wonderful season.

    Gary & Susan