We are now at the end of the 2022 Sea Turtle season, and it was a good one. While we didn’t top 2019, we came close – 2022 ended up being the third-best year for nests and the second-best year for hatchlings in the past 15 years!
Each year the tremendously dedicated folks at seaturtle.org compile data from our very own Hilton Head Island turtle volunteers and make it available for everyone to see. We take the data, analyze it, and put it in easy-to-read graph form.
In 2022 we had around 400 Loggerhead turtles nest on the island, many in Palmetto Dunes. We also had one Green turtle nest – there were only 19 of those statewide. The first nest appeared in May this year, and the last four nests were identified in August. If you were here during the height of the nesting season (June, with 184 nests), you might have seen the triangle protection fence made from PVC pipe and orange flagging.
With a mean incubation duration this year of 56 days, the little darlings began hatching in July and making their way to the ocean. As of this writing (September 5th, 2022), the estimate is that we had over 30,000 baby turtles break out of the nests. That number will continue to increase as the later nests hatch.
Below is a graph with comparisons to previous years – click on the chart to see a larger image. But notice the very encouraging overall trend in the positive direction!