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Environmental Program Update 7/9

Sea Turtles:

Dewees Island currently has 18 nests and 8 false crawls.  A few of our nests are coming to the end of their incubation period, nest 1 Olivia is at day 58 and nest 2 Noah is at day 54.  On average, May nests tend to incubate for around 65 days.  If you notice a lot of tracks in the location of a nest please contact Claudia deMayo, Judy Drew Fairchild or me.

Yellow Plane:

You may have noticed a yellow plane flying over the tree tops today while enjoying your lunch.  As I write this the Landings Building is getting buzzed.   This plane is with Charleston County Mosquito Control.  As the plane makes a few passes you may notice you do not hear the familiar noise of the pellets hitting your roof but you may notice a brownish cloud coming out for behind the plane and wonder what they are spraying.  Charleston County only conducts treatment for larval mosquitoes on Dewees Island, they never spray for adult mosquitoes.  The larval treatment is dropped from the plane where it releases a hormone to disrupt the metamorphosis of the larval turning into an adult.  The Charleston County website states “This process is designed to impact mosquitoes before they hatch and uses an organic material Vectobac 12AS also known as BTI and a biorational product Altosid Concentrate that does not have any residual effects.”  This larval treatment is mixed with sand to help it penetrate through the tree canopy and drop into the water (there are fresh and salt water mosquitoes).  Over the last few years the canopy on Dewees Island has thinned out and now the particle size of sand necessary has decreased (doesn’t have as thick of a canopy to move through) and therefore it does not make a sound when it hits your roof.  For more information please visit the Charleston County mosquito control website

Environmental Program Update

Wildlife is out in abundance this week.  Palamedes and Giant Swallowtail butterflies can be seen fluttering around Red Bay and Toothache Trees.  Alligators and snakes can be found crossing the road.  Black Neck Stilts and Roseate Spoonbills are adding a splash of color to the Impoundment.  Mississippi Kites and Nighthawks can be seen circling over the island in search of insects.  Manatees in Dewees Inlet are providing a show to folks on the dock. 

Sea Turtles:  Dewees Island currently has 14 nests and 6 false crawls.  The most recent nest was today on the north end.  You may still have a chance to see the tracks if you get to the beach before the wind and rain.  When visiting a turtle nest please stay at least 6’ away (social distancing).  Sea turtle egg predators will often follow your footprints and by staying 6’ away you will help to keep predators away from nests. 

Shorebirds:  Nesting Wilson’s Plovers have had a great start to the season.  We have had sightings of eggs and chicks on the beach on both the north and south ends.  Something happened to the least tern colony on the south end; they abandoned the area in mid-June.  The suitable nesting area on the south end is a long narrow section along the inter tidal beach and perhaps there was too much disturbance by people and/or predators.  We did find human and canine tracks within the posted nesting area.  Hopefully as this area grows suitable nesting area will be available closer to the dunes and further away from disturbance on the inter tidal beach.  We do have sightings of least terns in the area and sightings of males offering fish to females but no luck with a second round of nesting yet. 

Coyotes:  If you have a coyote sighting please text Lori the date and time.  Photos from home security video are always welcome.  We have a confirmed count of at least two coyotes on Dewees Island for 2020.    

Educational Programs: The Dewees Conservancy Interns have been posting informative and fun videos on the Dewees Conservancy Facebook page.  These videos are not just for kids.  I have been watching with my daughter and we both have been learning something new each time.  We each have our favorites; I like the Mystery Monday and the Tuesday Nature Video, and my daughter enjoys the Wednesdays Crafts and Science Thursday activities.   If you have felt zoomed out from virtual meetings and the end of the school year don’t worry the longest video is around 5 minutes and the Friday Scavenger Hunt is something you can download and use as a guide to explore on your own outside.  I hope you take time to enjoy the topics the interns are sharing this summer.

4th of July Events

On Saturday, July 4th, community members are encouraged to enjoy some of the island’s traditional celebrations with social distancing.

11:00am – Decorated Golf Cart Parade starting at the Fire House, followed by “Drive-Thru” Ice Cream at the Huyler House. Please be mindful to stay in your carts and maintain social distancing throughout the parade.

4:00pm – Sand Art Judging at Ancient Dunes Beach