Monday, August 11, 2008

Loggerhead Turtle Nests on Topsail Island

We spent a long weekend on Topsail Island with my family and the weather was beautiful. A lot of the time we were on the beach swimming and playing in the sand and beach-combing and I am happy to report seeing several loggerhead turtle nests roped off just in one small section of coastline. They came complete with with warning signs--penalty up to $100,000 and also criminal prosecution with jail time. Everyone was very respectful of the nests.

One nest even had a little 'runway' dragged into the sand from the nest to the surf by the volunteers who help protect the sea turtles. Evidently the 'runway' means it's close to having the eggs hatch. It takes about 60 days from the time the mother loggerhead turtle lays the eggs until they hatch and the babies make their way out to the ocean. The nests will have volunteer babysitters (nestsitters?) to sit with the nests overnight so no idiot will vandalize the nests at night. An interesting article here from last Saturday about the nests this year: Sea turtles take over Topsail.

Topsail Island has one of the few "sea turtle hospitals" to help injured loggerheads recuperate and get back to the ocean. You can even vist Topsail's Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. It seems to be a big hit with kids . . . and big kids like me too.

Here are some pictures I took:

A roped off nest near the dunes

The "runway" down to the surf:

The warning sign (click it twice to make it readable):

Here's a youtube video (not mine) of some Topsail Island loggerhead babies making their way to the ocean. And also a very quick video of a mother loggerhead on Topsail crawling back to the water.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good! Maybe next year we'll be there with cameras and mosquito repellent etc. so we can stay up to see the baby loggerheads make their way down to the shoreline.