September 15, 2023 – Friday Update

It was nice to see the stars again last night.  Many visitors were out hoping to see some turtle hatch, but they just weren’t ready to come out (while we all were there)!  The surge from the storm way off shore brought the tides up close to many nests hours after high tide.  Nest #85 has been unlucky with overwash since the week after it was laid.  Sadly, last night was no exception.

We were concerned about Nest #84 because of an issue with Ants on top of the nest and going into the center.  We’ve never seen such an invasion!  We kept sweeping them away, but they always returned.  A volunteer did some research and we put cornstarch around the perimeter.  It seemed to help a lot on the outside of the nest.  After consulting with our State Coordinator at NCWRC, it was determined an emergency excavation could be done as soon as a fair number of hatchlings emerged.  Excavating a nest before they are developmentally ready could be life threatening for the turtles.  Fortunately, the nest hatched overnight!  We did the emergency excavation this morning and were able to save 26 hatchlings from ant attack!  1 baby was covered with ants and had to be immediately rinsed off and set aside for recovery.  The stats were devastating.  I don’t know how we were not attacked ourselves, but we did not get even 1 ant bite.

Nest #84 Inventory:
Hatched Eggs – 65
Unhatched Eggs – 26
Pipped – 7
Live – 26 (1 badly attacked)
Dead – 26 (many covered in ants)

**This conservation work for protected sea turtles on Caswell Beach is authorized by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (ES Permit 23ST03).

Want to help? Please consider donating to our efforts to protect sea turtles at Caswell Beach Turtle Watch Donations