8/6/19: THIRD SEA TURTLE NEST LAID IN SOUTHERN SHORES; TOWN COUNCIL MEETING AT 5:30 TODAY (No Connection)

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A Loggerhead sea turtle comes ashore in Southern Shores the evening of July 26 to lay her eggs. A reader submitted the photograph to The Beacon, which previously published it on Facebook.

Last Friday another Loggerhead sea turtle emerged from the ocean and laid her eggs on the Southern Shores beach—one week after the town received its second nest of the season, an event The Beacon reported in detail July 27 on its Facebook page.

According to the Network for Endangered Sea Turtles (N.E.S.T.), Aug. 2 was a busy night for local sea turtles. Another female turtle delighted beachgoers farther south by depositing her eggs on a stretch of the Kitty Hawk beach. This mother’s efforts were captured in a series of photographs that can be seen on N.E.S.T.’s website: www.nestonline.org.

The Kitty Hawk nest was the 25h laid on the Outer Banks, between the Virginia state line and South Nags Head, during this year’s May 1st-to-Sept. 1st nesting season. The Aug. 2 Southern Shores nest is the 26th and most recent. The July 26 nest upon which The Beacon reported on Facebook is the 24th.

Sea turtles generally lay their eggs at night. According to N.E.S.T.’s website, each nest will have about 100 to 120 eggs in it.

N.E.S.T. volunteers are currently monitoring the first nest laid in Southern Shores, which was the sixth of the Outer Banks season, for hatching. These eggs were deposited June 5. According to a N.E.S.T. volunteer with whom The Beacon spoke, the incubation time for sea turtle eggs in our area is about 60 days. Just like nesting, hatches occur in darkness, as well.

N.E.S.T. volunteers, trained to be nest parents, sit near a sea turtle nest during the night hours, starting around the 55th day. The baby turtles that hatch will try to make their way to the ocean. Volunteers assist them by reducing predation by other animals and limiting light pollution.

The hatchlings are “programmed,” says N.E.S.T. “to head toward the brightest horizon,” which is the ocean, in the absence of any human-created lighting.

N.E.S.T. volunteers will sit near nest #24 starting Sept. 19 and near nest #26 starting Sept. 26. The nests are clearly marked on the beach with stakes, yellow tape, and sign notification and should not be disturbed.

TOWN COUNCIL MEETS TONIGHT

Don’t forget to attend the Town Council’s monthly business meeting today at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. See The Beacon’s post 8/3/19 for a preview of the agenda, which you may access here:

https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/wp-content/uploads/minutes-agendas-newsletters/Agendas_2019-08-06.pdf

In addition to the business items highlighted earlier by The Beacon–including a possible revival of ZTA 19-01PB concerning exceptions to the new nonconforming lots ordinance–the Council will be recognizing five employees for their years of service:

Jennifer Couture, Administrative Assistant for the Southern Shores Police Dept.: 20 years

Bonnie Swan, Finance and Human Resources Director: 15 years

Wes Haskett, Deputy Town Manager and Planning Director: 10 years

Dabni Shelton, Permit Officer: five years

Cynthia Mills, Administrative Specialist: five years

The Town Council also will approve the election of Elizabeth Morey as chairperson, and Andy Ward as vice-chairperson, of the Town Planning Board.

See you there.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, Aug. 6, 2019

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