Record Nest Follows Full Moon Vigil

As part of #7Days4SeaTurtles, DNR sea turtle technician Sara Weaver is posting about her work this week on Sapelo Island.

Last night and this morning were especially fun. I took my tent out to Cabretta beach to camp alongside a nest that was showing signs of hatching (the sand over the nest was collapsing).

MoonOverCabretta_SaraWeaver_DNR_7192016
A full moon rises over Cabretta beach. (Sara Weaver/DNR)

After setting up camp, I walked down the beach as the full moon rose, hoping to see a nesting female or another nest hatching. But I didn’t see anything. At about 10:30 p.m., a single hatchling emerged from the nest by my tent, and I got to watch it make its way into the ocean (pictured).

HatchlingEmerges_SaraWeaver_DNR_7192016
A loggerhead hatchling emerges at night, bound for the ocean. (Sara Weaver/DNR)

This morning, I found nest 200, which is an incredible event for Sapelo. The island hasn’t had this many nests since the research project started, about 40 years ago.

SapeloNest200_SaraWeaver_DNR_7202016
Marking and taking a single egg for genetics research from Sapelo’s 200th nest. (Sara Weaver/DNR)

It has been a record-breaking year for Georgia. We reached one of our federal recovery goals for loggerhead sea turtles at 2,800 nests, and we’re now over 3,000 nests.

This is a sure sign that sea turtle conservation in Georgia is having a positive outcome!

Follow state and beach nesting updates at seaturtle.org. #7Days4SeaTurtles is a weeklong outreach by DNR Wildlife Resources Division to raise awareness of sea turtle conservation.

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