COSM

Unobstructed Nests

Unobstructed Loggerhead Nests

 Unobstructed nests are those deposited by the turtle without encountering obstructions to digging on the backbeach. These nests tend to be relatively simple; that is, the turtle approaches the backbeach facing shoreward, finds an appropriate spot to nest, digs a body pit and egg chamber, deposits her eggs, then goes into a covering activity as she rotates clockwise or counter clockwise and then crawls back to the sea leaving a relatively simple record of her activity, usually exiting the nest on the seaward side.

Unobstructed loggerhead sea turtle nest [94-174] looking northward into St. Catherines Sound toward Ossabaw Island on horizon. Entrance crawlway to left, exit crawlway to right; Covering pit in foreground. Note loose sand thrown by turtle during covering activity. Spartina wrack in close foreground marks storm high tide line, but interfered very little with deposition of this nest. Deposited August 1, 1994 at 18.181 km on North Beach, St. Catherines Island.

These nests tend to be simple loops with the disturbed nesting area, the covering pit, at its apex. The turtle generally deposits her eggs facing shoreward. The egg chamber is usually found on the seaward side of the nest along the medial line of the plastron drag about ¼ to 1/3 the distance across the covering pit. Occasionally the turtle will begin to rotate before digging an egg chamber, off-setting it somewhat from the expected position.

nest_5.5.01

scutt

Dune Nest 1

Gallery of Unobstructed nests; left top in low dunes, bottom left on top of high dune, both constrained, but not seriously obstructed by vegetation; upper right backbeach nest with flipper scarps.

Unobstructed nests are the typical nests observed being deposited at Melbourne Beach, Florida. The sand there is much softer than on Georgia beaches and the backbeach consists of a relatively steeply sloping beach dune face. Loggerheads swim onto the beach, crawl shoreward, nest in the soft sand facing landward, cover as they rotate and return to the nearby sea, resulting in this relatively simple nest type.

Last updated: 7/27/2016

Sea Turtle Program at St. Catherines Island • (912) 478-1744 • jgaskin@georgiasouthern.edu