turtle nest about to hatch has had Cape Point closed to night driving
since Oct. 7, and now the National Park Service says a second nest is
also approaching hatching and will likely keep the ban on ORVs at night
for another week or two.
October 21, 2014
UPDATE: Hatching nests will keep Cape Point
closed to night driving for 1-2 more weeks
By IRENE NOLAN
Park resources manager Randy Swilling
said today that the first nest has started hatching slowly -- not with
the usual "boil" of baby turtles all at once. The hatching started over
the weekend with about 20 hatchlings one night and about seven on the
next, but then slowed down when the weather turned cooler.
Nests at the seashore usually hatch at Day 60-62, and the first nest is now at Day 69.
is not clear, he said, if the hatching is finished. The nest will
be excavated three days after hatching or when park technicians decide
that the hatch is finished.
The first nest is north of Ramp 44,
but the night driving ban is required so the glare from
headlights of ORVs traveling north from the Point to the ramp does not
disorient the hatchlings.
The second nest, Swilling said, is in the same area and the night driving ban will kick in for the same reason.
The second nest is in the Day 50-55 hatch window and has either been expanded or is about to be.
it hatches at the expected time -- 60 to 62 days -- and then is
excavated, it will keep the night driving ban in place for another week
at least. If cooler temperatures slow down the second nest also, the
area could remain closed to night driving for another two weeks.
The night driving ban is in place from 9 p.m. until 7 a.m. Pedestrians still have access to the Point at night.
also said today that all of the nests in the Hatteras District -- from
Ramp 30 south -- have either hatched or been expanded.
There could be a few north of Ramp 30, he said, mentioning one between Ramps 25 and 27.
Ocracoke, several nests were removed today, and the beach is open to
night driving from Ramp 59 south for about 4 miles. A nest remains
between Ramps 70-72, which restricts night driving within a half-mile
of the nest.
"It would be nice to continue with this warm
weather," Swilling said, so the baby turtles can "keep their batteries
charged" and finish hatching.