• 2021 Turtles are Hatching

    Right on schedule, the 2021 baby turtles are making their way from Hilton Head beaches back into the surf. An estimated total of 79 new Loggerheads have hatched and made it to the ocean. That number will increase significantly over the next few months, probably ending up close to 20,000. Unfortunately, it appears that 2021 will be a slightly below average year for nests on HHI. Over the past ten years, an average of 309 Loggerhead turtles have made nests on our beaches each summer, producing an average of 21,000 Loggerhead babies. As of July 21 we have seen 244 new nests, and while already above the 2018 total of…

  • Turtles are Hatching

    Just on time, turtles on Hilton Head are coming out of their shells and heading to the ocean! The first Loggerhead sea turtle babies were recorded on July 16th scurrying from two of the nests on Hilton Head.  The nesting is over, the hatching has begun. Turtles will continue to hatch through about the end of October, but the next month or so are the best window to see them in person.   Click HERE to see a video of baby turtles that appeared in the Island Packet. 2019 was a record year for turtle nests, with 464 nests (resulting in about 33,000 hatchlings), but this year hasn’t been too bad. …

  • 33,000 Turtles Hatched on Hilton Head in 2019

    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…

  • 2019 Already Record Year for Sea Turtles

    As we reach the end of July there is about one month left in the 2019 nest laying season (turtles will hatch until about the end of October) and the numbers are amazing.  With 443 nests as of July 29 we have already passed the annual record of 411 set in 2016.  Over the past ten years, there have been an average of 269 nests per year, with the lowest point during that time being 131 nests located in 2014: Scientists believe that Sea Turtles usually return to the same beach to nest as where they were hatched, which means we should have even higher numbers over the next decades…

  • World’s Rarest Sea Turtles Hatch on Hilton Head

    This year is shaping up to be a record year for Sea Turtles in Hilton Head (see Record Sea Turtles for 2019), but that is not the headline from Thursday, August 27.  Instead, the spotlight was on hatchlings emerging from the nest of the rarest Sea Turtle in the world, the Kemp Ridley turtle.  The subhead would be that these baby turtles also came from the first nest identified on Hilton Head this season almost 60 days ago. After a few days, the Turtle Patrol will wait a few more days and then go and see how many eggs didn’t hatch.  From there they will be able to determine how…