Loggerhead Season Summary 2007

It is a great year when 4,294 Loggerhead Sea Turtle hatchlings make it to the ocean! Emerging from that nest is the first (it can be the most difficult) step for these turtles.

The beach has changed so much due to natural forces and so many factors. Again this year, the Friends donated more hours planting Sea Oats and dune grasses to stabilize the sand, ensuring that our beach will be an ideal nesting site for years to come!

For 2007, the turtle teams logged 1590 hours on morning patrol and 124 during hatchery watch for a total of 1714 hours. The first nest was laid on May 16th and the last on August 7th. Of the total 64 nests, we relocated 55. The first nest hatched July 21st. For relocated nests, Nest #32, probed by Ken Wright and Vivian Wayne, had the best hatch percentage with 99%!

This years statistics also include: 7097 - eggs laid, 4294 - eggs hatched, 56 of 63 (89%) nests hatched, 113 - average number of eggs per nest, 56 days - average incubation, 70 - number of broken eggs, 67% - average in situ hatch, 60% - relocated hatch success, and 61% - total hatch success. The biggest nest had 150 eggs! The smallest held 63.

The Friends of Hunting island picked up over 450 bags of trash during morning patrols. A great big thanks to all of our Friends who make the beach a cleaner and more welcoming nesting site for our turtles. And for helping them at least make it to the safe haven of the ocean when beach conditions are not so great. Your hard work gives each Loggerhead egg a fighting chance.

'05 - '06 Comparison: Nesting Summaries of Hunting Island Sea Turtles

The Friends of Hunting Island Loggerhead volunteers chalked up a total of 1332 hours this year, with 96 of those as hatchery watch. Last year, 2005, the total was over 1976 hours, with 288 as hatchery watch. They relocated 29 of the 62 nests this year compared to 81 of 90 last year. The 2006 season was a bit earlier; first nest laid May 14th to the 21st in '05; and the last nest laid August 2nd to the 15th for last year. The first hatch emergence in '06 was July 9th and the last was September 23rd vs. July 22nd and October 13th in 2005.

The 2006 averages and totals were lower for the most part, but much higher than might have been expected due to the erosion control project this year. Of 6946 eggs laid, 4218 hatched. In 2005, the total laid was a whopping 10,071, of which 7899 hatched. These totals resulted in hatch rates of 61% and 78% respectively.

For 2006, Laurel, the Interpretive Park Ranger, said, "What a great year we ended up having! We worked around the renourishment and adapted to the everyday changes: And the Turtles followed our lead! It is a great year when 4,218 Loggerhead Sea Turtle hatchlings make it tot the ocean! That is the first step, and it could be the most difficult step for these turtles—but moving and protecting nests increases the amount of nests that incubate which greatly increases the amount of eggs that hatch!

"A great big thanks to all of our Friends who not only relocate nests, but make the beach a cleaner and more welcoming nesting site for our turtles! More thanks to the Friends for donating hours picking up trash and planting Sea Oats to stabilize the renourished sand ensuring that our beach will be an ideal nesting site for years to come!"

Hunting Island Nest Patrol Results for 2004

5/13/04 - Nest #1 was found this morning on the very southern tip of the island (Zone 6.) Due to its location above the spring tide line, we did not need to move it and therefore we do not yet know how many eggs there were. The range for hatching (45-65 days) is June 27th - July 17th.
5/13/04 - A nest was also found on Harbor Island, meaning Hunting Island TIED for the first nest in South Carolina.
5/15/04 - Nest #2 was found this morning just north of 40 Cabin Road (Zone 4.) The nest was below the spring tide line, so it was relocated to the sand fencing near south beach, and we moved 130 eggs.
turtle returning 5/19/04 - Nest #3 was found just north of the Lighthouse in what we call Zone 2. It's 145 were relocated to the renourished area. This find and the 6/15 nest were the largest finds this season..
5/20/04 - We had our first false crawl this morning on the southern end of the island. It was a short crawl that was covered quickly by the incoming tide. Apparently the turtle hit a tidepool and some logs and turned around. Maybe she'll come back tonight! No nests today.
5/21/04 - Nest #4 was found in Zone 4 with 122 eggs. We also had our 2nd false crawl.
5/26/04 - Another false crawl this morning, which brings us up to a total of 4 nests and 3 false crawls. A slow year so far!
5/27/04 - We had our fifth nest this morning at the very southern end of the island. It's 115 eggs were relocated. We also had a false crawl, bringing our total up to 5 nests and 4 false crawls.
6/02/04 - Hunting Island received its 6th nest this morning. There were 138 eggs, located just north of the cabins on the southern end. It was relocated to the renourished area.
6/07/04 - We had our 7th nest today, located near the cabins with 125 eggs.
6/08/04 - Today we had 5 false crawls, bringing our total for the season to 11 false crawls.
6/10/04 - We had our 8th nest this morning, near the cabins on the southern end of the island with 101 eggs. It was relocated to higher ground nearby.
6/13/04 - Nest #9 was found with 114 eggs.
6/15/04 - Nest #10 was found today with 145 eggs, matching the 5.19 nest.
6/18/04 - We found our 11th nest on Friday, and saw the female returning to the water. She was missing one of her back flippers. Some volunteers remember this turtle from previous nesting seasons.
6/22/04 - Nest #12 was found.
6/23/04 - The 13th nest was found just in front of the bathhouse at South Beach, and there were some eggs on top of the sand. We must have JUST missed the mama turtle, as her tracks went all the way down to the low tide line.
6/30/04 - Nest #14 was found this morning, just south of the renourished area in Zone 4. It's 121 eggs were relocated. We also found our 33rd false crawl.
7/0/04 - We had our 15th and 16th nests today, one in Zone 2 and one in Zone 5. Both had 107 eggs. The nest in Zone 2 was relocated to the renourished area and the one in Zone 5 was just moved higher up on the beach.
7/06/04 - We currently have 16 nests and 34 false crawls.
7/07/04 - We had our 17th nest this morning - 111 eggs were relocated higher on the beach. The mother turtle was still there when we arrived and was on the beach until nearly 9am.
A big thanks to the volunteers for all their hard work controlling the crowd, educating visitors and relocating the nest. What a treat!
7/12/04 - We had our 18th nest today. It was located on the southern tip of the island and had 101 eggs, which was the smallest nest this season.
7/21/04 - As of today we have 18 nests. Nest #1, located on the very southern tip of the island, hatched the night of the 15th. Nest #2, which had been relocated to the new sand, hatched the night of the 15th and 16th. So far, we have seen some evidence of movement in nests #3 and #4, and we have observed two tracks emerging from nest #4.
Hatching Watch will officially begin this Saturday (the 24th) and will continue until all of the nests have hatched.


2009 Loggerhead Turtle Season
The Turtle Patrol will keep you informed about this year's nesting season with stories and photos.