We are the volunteer interns at Hammocks Beach State Park.
Our job is to monitor several different bird species on Bear Island. Our primary focus is on colonial nesting waterbirds, American oystercatchers, red knots, Wilson’s plovers, and endangered piping plovers. We have two colonies of colonial nesting waterbirds that we monitor. These birds nest in large groups on the sandy flats on the ends of Bear Island. Mostly we encounter least terns in the colonies, but finding common terns and black skimmers is also a possibility. We keep track of the number of nests, eggs, hatchlings, and fledglings. We also monitor for predators.
Our job is to monitor Bear Island at night for nesting sea turtles. Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common nesting species on Bear Island, however green sea turtles have also nested here in years past. Hammocks Beach State Park has one of only two nighttime nest monitoring programs in the state of North Carolina (the other is Bald Head Island). When we see a nesting female, we tag her and take several measurements of her shell.