Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
Southeast Region

Sea Turtle Management

Turtle Volunteer Ron Marchand has taken some incredible still shots and videos of sea turtle hatchlings on Pea Island using infrared photography (lights and flashes are not allowed, as they disorient the turtles). Scroll to bottom of page to download clips, or view the same clips on-screen in the table below:

Because the beaches of Pea Island are eroded to a point where most nests would drown before hatching, volunteers patrol the entire refuge beach early mornings from May through September in search of the crawls left by female sea turtles as they drag themselves ashore to lay their eggs. Crawls left by female sea turtle from dragging herself ashore to lay eggs
In most cases, the nests must be relocated to a safe area to allow the best possible chance for their survival. On day 50 after the nest was laid, volunteers begin a nightly vigil, watching the nest until it hatches in order to provide protection to the hatchlings as they begin their trek for the Gulf Stream. Sea Turtle Boil - lots of hatchlings erupting from the sand

Most Pea Island sea turtle nests are loggerheads.

(Click the play button
to view movie clip .mov 1.31mb)

Volunteers watch the nests from around 7:00 pm until midnight.

(Click the play button
to view movie clip .mov 4.24mb)

Occasionally, there may be a green sea turtle nest. That was the case during the summer of 2007, when this green nest hatched.

(Click the play button
to view movie clip .mov 8.91mb)

This green nest hatch was quite a treat for the volunteers and staff, as well!

(Click the play button
to view movie clip .mov 3.04mb)

Download videos of hatchling loggerheads as they crawl from their nest under the sand (.mov 1.31mb) and scamper toward the ocean (.mov 4.24mb) and green sea turtles as the nest boils (.mov 8.91mb) and they also scamper toward the ocean (.mov 3.04mb). (You must have QuickTime 6.0 or later to view on your desktop)

Last Updated: 3/20/13