The lead says it all. In 2019, an amazing number of sea turtles (estimated 33,517) hatched on Hilton Head Island – and that is just through the end of September. This shatters the previous record from 2016 of 26,743. This amazing number is, not surprisingly, due to the larger than normal number of nests this year, where watchers counted 464 nests along our beaches. Here is a graph that shows nest count (the blue bars) and estimated hatchlings (the green line) Click on the chart below for a larger version:
Almost all the nests were from the common Loggerhead Turtle, but in 2019 we had two Green Sea Turtle nests and one that belonged to a Kemp’s Ridley. Both of these are endangered and very rare. While there will not be any more nests this year, turtles will continue to hatch until the tail end of October. Turtle eggs typically take 60 days to mature.