August 8, 2019
This summer has been flying by for our turtle team. We can’t believe it’s already August, and that means one thing – HATCHLINGS! On July 3, we observed that one of our nests on Morgan Beach had hatched! Upon excavating, we found that the nest was a very successful nest with 94 hatchlings that emerged, and only five eggs that didn’t hatch. Since then, we have seen the number of new nests slow down, and more and more nests hatch! So far, we have had 41 of our 104 nests hatch.
Every day in the field, we are checking all of the nests for signs of hatching! After a nest hatches, a depression will form in the sand. When we see a nest with a depression, we make a note of it, and wait 3 days. This 3-day period gives any hatchlings that may still be in the nest a chance to make it out as naturally as possible. After 3 days, we take off the cage, and carefully dig up the entire nest. We count the number of hatched eggs, unhatched eggs and anything else we may see.
Sometimes, there are still hatchlings in the nest that need a little help making their way out. We take the hatchlings out of the nest and place them on the beach, allowing them to make their way to the ocean. This process is super important because this is when the hatchling is “imprinting”. This means that the female hatchlings will know to return to the same beach when it is time for them to lay their own eggs.
Hatchling season is my favorite time of the whole season! It is so rewarding to see all of our nests starting to hatch and know that all of our hard work from earlier in the season is paying off. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!