My family and I recently visited Bald Head Island, staying at a friend's most lovely home. Bald Head is a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina on the east side of Cape Fear and has both beautiful shorelines and a maritime forest.
Loggerhead and Green Sea turtles nest here. As all the nests were empty, we were too late to go on a night turtle watch to see the hatchlings head to the ocean. One of the volunteers at the Bald Head Island Conservancy suggested going to a nest excavation. Three or more days after the nest has emptied, they carefully sift through the sandy nest, counting the shells to determine live births, eggs that fertilized but arrested, non fertilized eggs, and check to see if there are any late bloomers.
There were seventy nests this year, sixty-seven loggerhead and three green sea turtle. This Loggerhead nest had 91 hatched eggs and 23 unhatched eggs. Some eggs were unfertilized, some had arrested development.
|Hatched and Unhatched Eggs|
Occasionally, there will be one or two found alive in the nest. To my delight, this nest had six very lively hatchlings.
After allowing those of us gathered there a close look at the little fellows, we watched them be placed on the sand and scramble their way into the Atlantic. It was a joyous experience. I felt very fortunate to be on this beautiful beach on a sunny breezy morning witnessing this miracle of life.