Thursday, July 22, 2010

They're Here!

After waiting ALL night Tuesday night, the cute little critters decided Wednesday would be the perfect night to make their appearance.
 They didn't waste any time. When I got to the nest at 8pm it hadn't changed at all since Tuesday. I even doubted if it was going to happen. We couldn't hear a thing on the microphone because of the wind and Linda was checking the nest every 30 minutes or so.
The crowd of people passing by started to grow and all of a sudden I hear Linda quietly call my name. I
 look over and there is a tiny depression. I had just set all of my camera equipment up and put all of the sand and moisture barriers on it (bags and sacks and rain gear). So I start taking all the bags off and I look over and the hole is already bigger.
A hand full of them emerged before I could even call Michael and get the rest of the gear set up. ...and the crowd was growing. I filmed the first little guy that emerged walk all the way to the ocean.
Just as I was finally getting the rest of the gear ready to go the big show started! They call it a boil for a reason! All the tiny sea turtles started crawling over each other and just pouring out of the nest! It was amazing. then as they followed the moon to the water they would spread out. It was a challenge to manage a crowd of people and tons of baby turtles walking in the dark to the water, but every single one of them made it. It was an experience of a lifetime! Thanks to everyone that helped me along the way. More pictures and video on the way! Be sure to watch WMBF News at 6 on Sunday for the full story. CONGRATULATIONS NORTH MYRTLE BEACH SEA TURTLE PATROL! 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Final Count Down!

Stay tuned for pics of the hatch! It could happen any night now...Kudos to the S.C.U.T.E volunteers that have been camping out at the nests all night for the past week or so. If you happen to stumble up on us at the nest, please remember a few things:
*No flashlights or flash photography. Turtles are drawn to the light and can become disoriented. Even light colored clothing can get them off course. Just think, in a totally natural habitat, the ocean would reflect the moon and be the brightest source around.
*Please stay back if a volunteer asks you to. Even if the turtles haven't hatched yet. We have a microphone buried underground and it is very sensitive. We can hear when people walk and talk near the nest.

Here are a few things we are watching for and more information about this cool microphone.

video

Monday, July 19, 2010

Going Green!

While being green (the eco-friendly kind) is cool, seeing green is even better! Surfside Police were seeing green...a green sea turtle crawl...Saturday morning.

Surfside police called Ann Wilson, Interpretive Director and local sea turtle expert with MB State Park, and told her they found a turtle crawl. Ann and her coworker Katie went to check it out. They could tell right away that this wasn't the usual loggerhead crawl. They started probing and quickly found 143 eggs about 14 inches deep. The nest was relocated to the State Park for safe keeping and monitoring. If they are right about it being a green sea turtle we will get the have a Green Sea Turtle inventory in September! VERY COOL!

Nat Geo Pic of The Day


Green sea turtle tracks can be distinguished from those of loggerheads by the simultaneous flipper marks and a tail mark down the center of the track.

Green sea turtles usually nest in the Florida Keys, Costa Rica, and other tropical and subtropical spots in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. But occasionally these herbivores will nest on our beaches. They are about 3 feet and weigh in at 300 pounds.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

North Myrtle Beach S.C.U.T.E  reported thier 8th sea turtle nest of the season yesterday morning! Way to go NMB!!

On a sad note...

















A 300lbs loggerhead sea turtle died during transport. He was found at Huntington Beach State Park. There was no sign of injury and illness. SCDNR will do a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

Saturday, July 10, 2010














A Kemp's Ridley sea turtle spotted off of our beaches! If a kemp were to nest on our beaches, it would be during the day and only leave a light crawl.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Business Time!

This is going to be a busy month! The first of the four North Myrtle Beach nests should hatch around July 16th and then we will continue to have emergences almost every week. I'm going to try to capture the emergence (hatch) on film using a night vision camera. Here are some fun pictures of the journy so far.

I'm probing for eggs. It ended up being a false crawl but that was an exciting morning. We had already had one successful nest.













Nothing beats getting to see a crawl. The sun is coming up, the breeze feels great, and the beach is beautiful!

Myrtle

Myrtle, a precious Kemp that has been at the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston for the past 2 years or so died Tuesday, June 22nd. She was found in Myrtle Beach after suffering a severe boat strike.
Kemp's Ridley sea turtles are the most endangered of all the sea turtles...it is a rare treat to have a female nest on our coastline.

Timid Turtles

We have had zero turtle activity this past week, but really that is no surprise. Last year we didn't see any activity the week of the 4th of July either. The main reason is because of fireworks. The bright lights, loud noises and crowds on the beach can make a sea turtle think twice about nesting.
I know that fireworks are just a part of the 4th of July, and I admit I love them too. But the important thing is to pick up all of the litter left behind. Also, try to avoid bottle rockets because you can't retrieve the stick after it is fired.
The next few nights I know people will probably be on the beaches a little later than usual. If you are lucky enough to spot a nesting turtle, remember that bothering her or her nest could result in a heafty fine. Don't use flash photography or try to go up and touch her.
Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Baby Pictures

Here are some pictures of the second nest in North Myrtle Beach.

This is the crawl that gave clues to where to look for the nest.


Sea Turtle Patrol probed the nest looking for eggs.
Found 'em!!
Now we have to keep them safe. Remember poaching or disturbing a nest can result in a Federal fine of $100,000 and one year in jail.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hoooray!

Another nest was reported in North Myrtle Beach this morning by a sanitation worker. S.C.U.T.E is monitoring the nest now and I will be working with them to track the progress of the this nest in particular. But that's not it! A false crawl was also reported. This means we could see ANOTHER nest in North Myrtle Beach in the next day or so.

Why a false crawl? If a turtle comes on shore to nest but doesn't feel comfortable she will retreat back to the water and try again the next night/early morning. Now that nesting season is getting underway keep in mind a few things that can make a momma feel nervous: bright lights, lots of activity from people or animals, noisy, and camera flashes. So try to keep outside lights to a minimum and if you put a piece of red cloth over your flashlight it won't frighten the turtle too much.

I'll have more tips and info as well as some video of the nest on WMBF News this Sunday night.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Nest News

It is just the beginning of the season and so far state wide we are off to a good start. There are 321 loggerhead nests and 1 leather back nest. I'm pretty excited about the leatherback nest. A leatherback is by far the biggest turtle we can expect to see in our parts weighing in at well over 2000 pounds! And get this, they mainly eat jelly fish!

In Horry county we are checking in at two nests so far. One is in North Myrtle Beach and the other one is in Pawley's Island. If you run across something that looks like a turtle crawl or a nest, be sure to call Myrtle Beach or Huntington State Park and report the nest and location.

The best site I've found for nest information from DNR is http://www.seaturtle.org/. They have a list of South Carolina Beaches and a ton of nesting info.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The First Family!

There are so many local families that volunteer to patrol for sea turtle activity! And let me tell you, they are dedicated. These families wake up BEFORE sunrise to walk the beaches. But they say it is so rewarding. They have grown closer together as a family, and the kidos get a biology class every time they patrol. I'm featuring one family that started it all!

They were the first family to volunteer for Myrtle Beach State Park and through their dedication, they have inspired other families to follow suit. I can't wait to share their story with you! Catch their story on WMBF News at 6 this Sunday night. And if it gives you the itch to get involved, I'll tell you how you can start tracking turtles this summer!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Time Will Tell...

    So I'm talking to Ann from Myrtle Beach State Park and she is giving me a rundown of all the species I can expect to see here in Horry county. I must say, we have a pretty good variety of turtles here. Kemps, loggerheads, and leather backs top her list. I don't have a favorite yet, but I couldn't believe how big these turtles get! It is truly amazing!
     As I'm looking at pictures of all of these turtles, my mind turns to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill crisis. I think about how Louisianna's marsh land will never be the same...ever. And how devistating the oil is to the wildlife and fishermen. What does this mean for our turtle population? Will we see a bigger variety of species seeking safety on our coasts? And most of all, will the oil drift our direction? I guess only time will tell.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Turtle Time!!

I'm so excited! Myrtle Beach State Park and S.C.U.T.E., South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, are assigning a nest to me so I can follow it all summer long. I feel like a proud momma!

All summer I'm going to blog about nest progress, issues on our beaches that could hurt our sea turtle population and what everyone can do to help. You can also see updates on my facebook page and on WMBF News at 6 on Sundays. I hope you take the journey with me!