Jekyll Island’s last hatchlings have made their way to the sea, our patrollers have hung up their headlamps, and the 2013 Sea Turtle Season on Jekyll Island has officially concluded! As a follower of a sea turtle nest on Jekyll we wanted to let you know how the season went. Below is a summary of how our loggerheads did this year:
- First Nest: May 21, 2013
- Last Nest: August 22, 2013
- Total Number of Nests: 175
- Total Number of False Crawls: 357
- Estimated Number of Individual Female Turtles: 59
- First Nest to Hatch: Nest #3 on July 19, 2013
- Last Nest to Hatch: Nest #174 on October 27, 2013
- Total Number of Hatchlings: 9,190
- Average Hatch Success: 56%
Even though the turtles kept us waiting for most of May to start the season, they were just making a fashionably late arrival to what would become Georgia’s best nesting year yet! Last year’s record of 2,245 nests in the state of Georgia was broken when the ladies of 2013 bumped that number up to 2,310 nests. While Jekyll Island didn’t surpass its record of 204 nests, we still had a successful season with 175 nests. No green or leatherback sea turtles stopped by the island for a visit this year, so all of the activity belonged to loggerheads. As a grand finale to the nesting season, a tardy turtle broke Jekyll Island’s record for latest nester on August 22.
The first hatchling of 2013 crawls to the sea.
Even though we are well into fall, the season’s highlights still shine through for everyone who patrolled our beaches this summer. In an exciting moment on June 5th, two patrollers got to see the world’s oldest-known loggerhead as she false crawled on the South End of Jekyll. With an age estimated to be over 80 years, this turtle – dubbed Big Bertha – didn’t actually end up nesting on Jekyll Island this year. Instead, she snuck off to a couple other islands in the state and laid three successful nests. After 33 years of nesting, this is one good mamma!
Patrollers pose for a picture with the last turtle to nest on June 21, one of Jekyll’s busiest nights ever!
Overall, everyone at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center is very proud to have been part of the successful 2013 Sea Turtle Nesting Season. Between May and October we spent more than 1,100 hours on the beach, covering nearly 1,300 miles! All of this hard work would not have been possible without the help of staff and AmeriCorps members at the GSTC, interns, volunteers, and the Jekyll Island Authority.
Thank you for supporting us this season and we hope to see you again next year!
The Georgia Sea Turtle Center Research Team