Loggerhead Sea Turtle Nest Sitting

Turtle Nest, by LouFCD on Flickr

Turtle Nest, by LouFCD on Flickr

I’ve been in the field a few times in the last several weeks. Though my classwork has me about buried, I really enjoy these little stress relievers where I can just enjoy the surroundings and take a few pictures. It started around Labor Day weekend, when I spent several nights sitting a nest of Loggerhead Sea Turtles down on North Topsail Beach. The turtles were due to hatch about any day, so I was very excited. Alas, they never did hatch out while I was there, but it was a relaxing time for the most part anyway.

In fact the Sea Turtle Hospital has no record of a hatch to date (nest 55). There are several possible reasons for that. They may have hatched during a storm while no one was looking, with the storm erasing every trace of their leaving the nest. That happens sometimes. The turtles could have been drowned by a storm as they were hatching, too. Also, while the possibility exists that this was a false nest, the Sea Turtle Hospital folks were pretty sure this was a real nest.

So it was a bit frustrating, sad, and disappointing, but I got some photos of other things that I thought I’d share here anyway. They are below the fold.

We got an especially pretty sunset the first evening.

Sunset over Topsail, by LouFCD on Flickr

Sunset over Topsail, by LouFCD on Flickr

And moonrise over the ocean was pretty gorgeous, too.

Moon on the Ocean, by LouFCD on Flickr

Moon on the Ocean, by LouFCD on Flickr

The next night, I had a clear view of the moon through the cloud cover just as it rose. It had a somewhat different feel.

Blood Moon, by LouFCD on Flickr

Blood Moon, by LouFCD on Flickr

On the third evening, I did manage a few shots of this Great Black-backed Gull,

Wary Gull, by LouFCD on Flickr

Wary Gull, by LouFCD on Flickr

who was fine with my taking his picture right up to a certain point. Then he very suddenly let me know that I had gotten too close.

Piss Off! by LouFCD on Flickr

Piss Off! by LouFCD on Flickr

I even pointed my camera at Jupiter during a break in the cloud cover, and managed to pick up all four Galilean moons. I took this with just my camera mounted on a cheap tripod, no telescope, using a 300mm lens wound all the way out. If you look carefully, you can see from left to right: Callisto, Io, Ganymede, Jupiter (the bright one), and Europa. (They are annotated on Flickr, so click the pic if you can’t pick them all out.)

Jupiter and His Four Moons, by LouFCD on Flickr

Jupiter and His Four Moons, by LouFCD on Flickr

I caught a nasty head cold that later moved into my chest and had me feeling like warmed-over garbage for weeks, but I was better by the time the next few excursions came in quick succession. (Blog posts with photos forthcoming.)

From whence came the art:

Those photos are all taken by me, LouFCD on Flickr, and are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. More photos from the nest sitting excursion can be found here in my Turtle Nest Sitting set on Flickr.

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