2011 NESTING SEASON IN REVIEW
2011 was a mixed year regarding the 23 nests on Ocean Isle Beach.
We had a nest laid on July 12, 2011 (unnamed) that was very unusual due to the fact that there were only three (3) very deformed eggs laid. As you can see, the eggs barely resembled a sea turtle egg. These specimens were sent to the State Turtle Biologist (Matthew Godfrey) for evaluation. Could it have been a fertilization problem, as the oceans seem to have become the worlds’ largest dumping ground (in my opinion)?
We also encountered nests that produced a large number of infertile eggs. One nest in particular had only 49 eggs, of which 44 were infertile.
Five (5) nests had less than 100 eggs. Two (2) of these nests produced a total of 123 eggs, of which 82 were infertile or a 30.1% successful hatch rate. In all cases, except for the nest with only the three (3) deformed eggs, at least five (5) healthy hatchlings emerged and reached their ocean home. This seems to tell us that all the mothers that nested on Ocean Isle Beach in 2011 were healthy enough to produce viable eggs that produced hatchlings.
In summary, here are the final results of nesting results for 2011:
- § 2,491 Eggs laid
- § 1,933 Hatchlings to the water
- § 33 Egg count shortage
- § 22 DNA eggs (1 egg from each nest was sent for DNA testing.)
- § 503 Infertile and dead
- § 112 Average eggs per nest
- § 77.6% success rate of hatchlings to the water
- § 51.4 Average incubation days
- § The average success rate of the 14 most productive nests was 92.04%
- § The average success rate of the least most productive nests was 41.5%
- § The most successful was Nest #14 – Atlantic Coast Safety – 96.3%
- § The least productive was Nest #4 – Mary Elizabeth – 9.75%
- § The lowest egg count was Nest #19 – Tiki the Turtle – 49 eggs
- § The highest egg count was Nest #3 – Lemon Drops – 177 eggs.
We can only hope that the upcoming years see an improvement in these figures. If 2/3 of our nests can produce an average successful hatch rate of 92.04%, why does the remaining 1/3 of the nests only produce a success rate of 41.5%? Let’s hope the world’s biologists and scientists can find an answer to these and other questions that appear to hinder the population growth of sea turtles.
We can only hope that through the efforts of everyone involved in the effort to protect all endangered wildlife, we can win this war. As Jerry Reid sings in an old song, “we have a long way to go and a short time to get there”.
Deb and I wish to thank all the volunteers of the OIBSTPO as well as the Town of Ocean Isle Beach, the Ocean Isle Property Owner’s Association and all the visitors for the wonderful support each and every one of you gives to our organization. This support allows us to continue to protect sea turtles and to educate the public.
Someone asked me this year why we (our organization) spends so many summer hours protecting sea turtles? My answer to them was rather plain and simple “we do this because of us”. There are probably many different answers to this question and they are all probably correct…..just food for thought in 2012.
To a better future………..