Hooray for hatchlings: baby sea turtles make it to the sea

Summer may be over, but its sea turtles live on.  At least loggerhead turtles on North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island do.   Loggerheads are a threatened species in the southeastern United States, but the National Park Service reported a record number of sea turtle nests this summer on Ocracoke Island (which is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore).  I was lucky enough to see one of those nests excavated.

You can read about the excavation and release of baby loggerheads here in the September issue of The Observer of Jefferson County.

Observer Editor David Lillard found a great photo of baby loggerheads (much clearer than the ones I took of them crawling down the beach at dusk) for the print edition.  But I share some of my other photos from the adventure below, including the nest site next to the driftwood stump, one of the turtles entering the surf, the crowd cheering as the turtles enter the surf, and the moonrise as the hatchlings disappear into the water.  Enjoy.

Loggerhead sea turtle nest after hatching and excavation.
Loggerhead sea turtle nest after hatching and excavation.

 

Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling enters the surf on Ocracoke Island
Loggerhead sea turtle hatchling enters the surf on Ocracoke Island

 

The crowd cheers as baby loggerheads enter the water.
The crowd cheers as baby loggerheads enter the water.

 

Moon rise as all 10 hatchlings disappear into the sea.
Moon rise as all 10 hatchlings disappear into the sea.

 

 

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