Tag Archives: Turtle

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling

Ted and I went on a fundraising / educational trip to Bulls Island to promote the Loggerhead Turtle nesting spearheaded by the Coastal Expeditions Foundation. Money and citizen knowledge are two things that are helping these turtles successfully nest in Cape Romain.

We were treated to an amazing and unexpected experience when one of the wildlife technicians that monitors the nests released five hatchlings that had fallen behind their nest mates. I waded into the water for a unique view, but not standing still as the sand shifted beneath my feet.

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean – about 2 inches (5 cm) long

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling Going Into Ocean

The next wave swept him away and I got one shot of him paddling off.

Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling In Ocean
Loggerhead Turtle Hatchling In Ocean

Bulls Island, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, SC
July 24, 2022

From Coastal Expeditions Foundation:
https://www.coastalexpeditions.com/cast/

Protecting Sea Turtles in Cape Romain NWR

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge is the most significant nesting site north of Florida on the Eastern seaboard. Over 3000 nests are laid on the barrier island beaches of this refuge each summer, and it takes a legion of volunteers and two wildlife technicians to handle the task of protecting and categorizing every loggerhead nest.

Every year, this program needs to be fully funded from outside donations and grants to pay for the seasonal salaries of two wildlife technicians and two interns. The Coastal Expeditions Foundation handles this $50,000 commitment through fundraisers and grass roots donations.

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, extending 22 miles along the South Carolina Coast, is a rich mosaic of barrier islands with forest and ponds, vast salt marshes and intricate waterways. This diverse and dynamic system supports over 293 bird species and a myriad of other wildlife. Over fifty percent of refuge lands are designated a Class I National Wilderness Area.

Wood Duck Family With Turtle

Alligator ramps around the pond provide a fairly safe and dry spot for the Wood Duck ducklings to dry off and preen.

Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle
Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle

The Yellow-bellied Slider seemed oblivious to their occupation of his sunny spot.

Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle
Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle

Mama Wood Duck stayed in the water, patrolling for safety. Other times I have observed this there has been a Wood Duck drake nearby, also on alert, but I did not see one this time.

Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle
Wood Duck Chicks and Turtle

Musgrove Mill Battle Site

This pretty spot on the Enoree River in Clinton, SC, was the impetus of the August 19, 1780 Revolutionary War Battle of Musgrove’s Mill. Possession of this easy to ford section of the river in the rural, agricultural area was the impetus behind the skirmish.

Enoree River at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site
Enoree River at Musgrove Mill State Historic Site

A modern bridge less than 1000 feet (300 Meters) downstream made this site obsolete for river passage a long time ago.

Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove
Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove

The day I visited a few turtles playing “king of the hill” was the extent of the activity.

Turtle in Enoree River at Musgrove
Turtles in Enoree River at Musgrove

Great Egret Over Pond and Reptiles

A few Great Egrets were swooping over the pond as they vied for mates or nesting spots in the nearby trees.

Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles

Some were gathering sticks for their nests but they were easily distracted when another Great Egret invaded their space.

Great Egret Flying Over Turtle Great Egret Flying Over Turtle

Occasionally I’ve seen a large Alligator snap at a bird flying overhead without making contact, but these smallish Alligators and turtles ignored the aerial displays going on above them.

Great Egret Flying Over Alligators, Turtles Great Egret Flying Over Alligator and Turtles

Camoflaged Turtles

Yellow-bellied Sliders were taking advantage of the sun on a recent walk around a pond, positioning themselves on anything sticking out of the water. They had traveled through duck weed and other pond vegetation to get to the coveted spots.

Yellow-bellied Slider
Yellow-bellied Slider

I don’t think the vegetation does a thing to protect the turtles. Alligators, the apex predator in this pond, follows his prey by motion and is himself camouflaged by the same pond covering.

Yellow-bellied Sliders
Yellow-bellied Sliders

The smallest turtle I saw added a leg extension to his pose, probably needing a little balance to stay on the pointed rock.

Yellow-bellied Slider
Yellow-bellied Slider