First loggerhead nest of the season discovered on Cumberland Island

CAMDEN CO., GA (WTOC) - Sea turtle nesting season is in full swing in Georgia.

The first loggerhead nest of 2018 was discovered on Cumberland Island Tuesday morning, making this the fifth straight year the island has held that honor.

Sea Turtle Program Coordinator Mark Dodd of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources said loggerhead nesting usually begins in early May and hits full stride by June.

"It's an annual ritual, part of spring on the coast in Georgia," Dodd said. "Everybody's excited."

Like other marine turtles, loggerheads – named for their massive heads – crawl ashore on barrier island beaches, dig a hole at the base of the dunes and lay their eggs, usually at night, according to the Georgia DNR.

Dodd says he expects nesting to be above average this year but below the record from 2016. Nesting varies annually.

NESTING IN GEORGIA

The following are annual loggerhead nest totals since comprehensive surveys began in 1989, according to the DNR:

1989 – 675
1990 – 1,031
1991 – 1,101
1992 – 1,048
1993 – 470
1994 – 1,360
1995 – 1,022
1996 – 1,096
1997 – 789
1998 – 1,055
1999 – 1,406
2000 – 1,060
2001 – 852
2002 – 1,028
2003 – 1,504
2004 – 358
2005 – 1,187
2006 – 1,389
2007 – 689
2008 – 1,649
2009 – 997
2010 – 1,761
2011 – 1,992
2012 – 2,241
2013 – 2,289
2014 – 1,201
2015 – 2,335
2016 – 3,289
2017 – 2,155

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