Loggerheads Continue To Lay Eggs By The Dozen

By Mary Pringle for The Island Eye News

At last, our loggerhead turtles have started to lay their eggs. As of May 26 the combined number of eggs laid is just over 550 on the Isle of Palms and 271 on Sullivan’s Island. The first of our six nests was laid on May 16 at 5th Avenue on the Isle of Palms and was discovered by Turtle Team members Jane Solomon, Peggy Klimecki and Trisha Hoff. It was laid at the high tide line in the middle of the vehicular access path at 5th Avenue. For those reasons, the 123 eggs were moved higher onto a nearby dune where they would not be destroyed by the tide or emergency vehicles. Subsequent nests on the Isle of Palms have been laid at the 5A Access Path, the 9A Access Path and in Dewees Inlet near the 17 tee of the Links Golf Course. This fourth IOP nest is now incubating near the Property Owners’ Beach House in Wild Dunes. On Sullivan’s Island, the first nest was laid very close to the Breach Inlet Bridge at the Hunley Memorial Park. This is not even in the area where our volunteers patrol, but others reported seeing the tracks there on May 20. Those eggs were taken to Station 26 to be relocated. 

This was an unusually large clutch of 156 eggs. The average number they lay is around 120 eggs. The second SI nest of the season was found near Station 15 not far from Fort Moultrie by Raye Ann Osborne and Joanne Staton on May 24. It is now incubating just northeast of the Station 16 Access Path. In South Carolina, the first nest of the season was laid at Lighthouse Island in the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge where more loggerheads nest than anywhere north of Jacksonville, Florida. 

As of May 26 there were 923 nests in our state. We are off to a good start and are looking forward to having a very good season. We are also protecting most of our nests from coyote predation with heavy plastic screening. 

Here are season reminders that we would like everyone to be aware of to have a safe beach for our loggerheads in 2022: 

• Lights Out at Dusk. Any lights that can be seen from the beach should be turned off from dusk to dawn between May 1 and Oct. 31. This is the law on both islands.

 • Fill in Holes. Any hole on the beach can trap small hatchlings and also large nesting females. 

• Turn off flashlights & don’t use flash photography. If you see a nesting turtle on the beach, stay back at least 50 feet and do not disturb her. 

Report any stranded turtles, dead or alive, to (843) 697-8733 or (843) 886-6522. If it has orange paint on it, it has been documented and is awaiting burial. Follow the season at bergwerfgraphics.com or join us on Facebook at Island Turtle Team IOP & SI South Carolina

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