It has been quite a busy couple of weeks!! We have had 4 nests hatch, 4 excavations, monitoring nests, and a new nest this past Monday!
As you all know, J-1 hatched during a rain storm on July 24. Excavation revealed a very low number of eggs. We know this nest had been predated, but not to this extent. Hard to say how many eggs were damaged, destroyed, eaten, or carried off, since we did not have an original count. But we do know that at least 16 babies made it to the water!
Two of our other hatches so far were our unmarked nests/false crawls on the west end at Tampico/Taos and Velasco. Both of these had classic “boils,” where the babies erupt from the sand in a big group, and a high hatching percentage based upon the excavations. They each saw around 60-65 babies make it to the water, with total nest numbers around 70-75.
J-3 also had a beautiful boil this past Saturday night, among meteor showers and an fly-by from the ISS! We had 70 hatch from that nest, but also a large number of infertile eggs. Total egg count for that nest was 114.
J-2 (just west of condos) is still quiet, and at day 63 now it could still hatch. This one did take on a lot of water from a high storm tide back in June, so that water either cooled the eggs off a lot, creating a longer incubation time, or it inundated them to the point of drowning. We need to keep checking this one! If there is still no activity, we will excavate on day 75, which is Monday, August 17.
J-4 (on Bienville) is at day 50 tomorrow. This is on high, dry sand, and has probably stayed on the hotter side. I would anticipate an early hatch from this one, so we need to start monitoring it! The homeowner is thrilled to have a turtle nest on her property, and has offered the use of her driveway for monitoring, nest-sitting, etc. There is also very easy access from St. Stephens so we don’t overcrowd her!
Finally, the nest from Monday makes FOURTEEN!! This is a new record for Dauphin Island, and is a huge testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication this season! Renters called in the nest, on Tecumseh, and Barb and Dee Dee responded. Mama turtle crawled over LOTS of beach paraphernalia, including chairs, toys, inflatables, etc. Eggs were not located that morning, but with the fluff and sand flung all over the surrounding obstacles, we knew there were eggs. Barb and Dee Dee returned Monday evening, and finally found the eggs UNDER some of the stuff! Apparently, mama nested right up against some items, and then knocked them over on top of the nest as she was filling it back in and fluffing. I’d say that’s one for the record books!
GREAT season!! Remember we are still patrolling until September 1. I know with school starting back for many, this gets hard, but keep at it just a few more weeks! Monday’s activity (as well as multiple new nests across the bay) proves the turtle mamas are still just as active as they were early in the season. We don’t want to miss any late nesting activity!
Thanks again, everyone!!
Team Leader, Dauphin Island