First Terrappin Nest at Sippican’s Holly Beach

Ten Perfect Diamondback Terrapin Eggs @ Holly Beach

Resident Mark Brown and the Turtle Journal team found the first diamondback terrapin nest this year at Sippican Harbor’s Holly Beach.  TJ’s Don Lewis, on his mid-morning run, jogged along Holly Beach to check for nesting terrapins.  In the distance, Don spotted Mark Brown examining the beach sand.

Diamondback Terrapin Nesting Run Tracks @ Holly Beach

Don confirmed the fresh diamondback terrapin nesting tracks and pointed out the directionality of movement.  Together, Don and Mark walked the terrapin tracks, first encountering a “false nest” — an abandoned dig, and then resuming the search

Camouflaged Diamondback Terrapin Nest @ Holly Beach

Don pointed out a patch of disturbed and discolored sand, slightly darker than the surrounding dirt.  The mother turtle had covered the nest and had disguised it with debris.  Within an hour or so, this camouflage would have totally obscured the dig and hidden the nest from everyone … except a predator’s nose.

Diamondback Terrapin Egg Chamber @ Holly Beach

Gently probing the nest with fingertips, Don located the “sweet spot,” the soft soil leading from the surface to the egg chamber.  Delicately brushing aside layers of sand to avoid damage to the fragile eggs, Don disclosed the top eggs tucked about three to four inches deep.  A total of 10 perfect, pink eggs filled the chamber, each weighing between 9 and 10 grams.

Sue Wieber Nourse @ Holly Beach Nest

This first of the season nest at Holly Beach is the second viable nest ever that we have discovered at this new nesting site.  Last July 11th, the Turtle Journal team found Terrapin #272 nesting about 75 feet upland of this June 10th, 2013 nest.  See Research “Home Run” with First Protected Terrapin Nest @ Holly Beach.  Today’s eggs have been placed in a protected location.  With a warm summer and plenty of sunshine, they should hatch in mid-August for return to Holly Beach for release by the community.

Comments are closed.