As sea turtle nesting season comes to an end, members of the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project had been waiting on the hatching of the last two sea turtle nests on Wrightsville Beach.
It’s been almost 60 days since the two nests were found on
July 10 and 15, which is the average incubation period for sea turtles.
Nest No. 3, located near the Carolina Yacht Club, hatched at approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 4, said WBSTP volunteer Ginger Taylor.
Nest No. 2, located near Wrightsville Dunes, is not showing any signs just yet, but no one is discouraged.
“The sand is wet and hard-packed with all the rain we’ve had recently,” said Nancy Fahey, Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Coordinator. “A depression may begin to appear, but they might just come pouring out unexpectedly, too. We’re just going to sit out front from now until we see turtles!”
Once a turtle nest hatches, the remaining eggs are excavated in order to ensure that every turtle makes it safely to the water. No nest Fahey has been involved with has ever failed to hatch.
Two Diamond Terrapin nests also continue to be roped off, one just north of Wrightsville Beach Museum and the other almost directly across from it on the other side of the marsh. This protected species has an unusually long incubation period of 60-100 days. Fahey said that she’d been checking these nests, and may speak with town officials about building something to keep the hatchlings out of the road when they hatch.
Foot patrols ceased for the turtling season on Aug. 31, but Fahey continues to patrol the beach by four-wheeler in the mornings just to make sure that no new nest goes unnoticed. Other area beaches reported finding late-season nests toward the end of August, but Fahey has not received word of any since the beginning of September.
“The odds of finding a new nest at this point in the season aren’t too good,” said Fahey. “But that’s not to say that it couldn’t happen. You never know with the turtles.”
As far as seasons go, Fahey said finding three nests is not an extraordinary season; however, it is better than most.
“Most of all I’m inspired by the turtle people,” said Fahey, referring to the WBSTP volunteers. “They’re a great and dedicated bunch.”