It's been a busy past week for the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project, PISTP. As of Saturday morning, they had eight nests on Kure Beach and six on Carolina Beach.
Friday morning brought news that a new nest discovery on Carolina Beach, nest number 6, may actually be that of a Kemp Ridley sea turtle. The Kemp Ridley is considered to be one of the rarest sea turtle species and is critically endangered. The PISTP feel that it may be a Kemp Ridley due to the unique flipper pattern left by the mama turtle as she moved about the sand. They do emphasize the word "may" and say they won't know for sure until the nest hatches. With the unknowns surrounding this particular nest, it will most definitely be one to watch closely...let the excitement commence!! (Shannan Bowen/Star News wrote an informative piece about this nest discovery)
Yesterday morning, the PISTP had a successful hatching of their first nest of the season (nest number 1 on Carolina Beach). The nest began to boil at around midnight and PISTP personnel were on hand to oversee the safety of the little ones as they wiggled their way down the pre-dug trench to the ocean surf. The fantastic photo to the right is of the mama turtle leaving nest #1 back on May 26, 2011.
Also, Saturday morning saw the discovery of nest number 8 in Kure Beach. Unfortunately, before this nest was discovered by PISTP volunteers, either a dog or a coyote had dug into the nest and destroyed six of the eggs. But the good news is they believe the remaining eggs are just fine.
So what will this week bring? Well, we'll just have to sit back and wait but I'm told that there is a good chance that nest number 2 may hatch later in the week.
Before we sign off, check out this photo which was posted by the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project. The photo was taken in Duck, NC and visually shows the dangers that beach holes pose to sea turtles. Here's what they said:
A note about holes in the sand on the beach Please take a look at this recent photo from Duck, NC (which is in the Outerbanks) for an example of why it is so important to fill in holes before you leave the beach. As you can see, there is a set of sea turtle tracks that goes straight into this hole in the sand. Fortunately, this particular hole was shallow enough that the mama loggerhead was able to crawl out and continue on her way. However, if the hole were any deeper, she would have been stranded there. So if you or your children dig holes while playing in the sand, please fill them in before you leave! It is dangerous for them to remain there overnight. A turtle, or a person for that matter, could fall right in.
NOTE: Shannan Bowen/Star News wrote an excellent piece about the dangers of beach holes and the fines one could face on Wrightsville Beach for not filling them in when leaving the beach. In addition, here's an interesting article from WMBF News about a new ordinance in North Myrtle Beach regarding unattended beach holes.
Two top photos from PISTP & bottom photo from WBSTP