The first loggerhead sea turtle nest of the 2020 season was found north of Ramp 44 in Buxton on Sunday morning, per a recent social media update from the Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CHNS.)
The Outer Banks serves as seasonal breeding grounds for endangered sea turtles, and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has had several record-breaking years recently when it comes to the annual number of recorded sea turtle nests.
Sea turtle nests laid by loggerheads, green turtles and leatherbacks have been monitored at CHNS since the 1970s. In 2015, a nesting record of 289 nests was set, followed by a new record in 2016 when 325 sea turtle nests were recorded along the CHNS beaches.
In 2019, there were a total of 473 sea turtle nests recorded within the National Seashore, which blew the previous record of 325 out of the water.
The high number of sea turtle nests in recent years appears to be a multiple-year trend all along the Eastern Seaboard, according to data from seaturtle.org, which actively monitors sea turtle nests all around the globe.
Due to the recent highly active nesting seasons, visitors are advised to be aware of sea turtle nesting activity or hatchlings while visiting the local beaches on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. If you see turtle tracks, nesting activity, or hatchlings, please notify park biologists by calling the stranding hotline at 252-216-6892.
In the meantime, visitors can keep tabs on nesting activity at shorelines all around the world at http://www.seaturtle.org.