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Season's first sea turtle nest is found on Georgia coast
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CUMBERLAND ISLAND, Ga. (AP) — The first loggerhead sea turtle nest of the year in Georgia has been reported on Atlantic coast, authorities said.

The nest was found this week on Cumberland Island, National Park Service biologist Doug Hoffman told The Savannah Morning News (

Loggerhead nesting in April is rare in Georgia, said Mark Dodd, a biologist with the Department of Natural Resources and the Georgia sea turtle coordinator. He said only one previous April nest has been recorded, on Ossabaw Island in 2001.

Loggerhead nests have already been reported this year in Florida as far north as St. Augustine.

In Georgia, nesting is typically expected from May through July, with hatching continuing into October.

Last year was record setting for loggerheads with close to 2,000 nests identified on Georgia beaches.

The rise in nests is a positive sign in the recovery of the threatened species, but it also means there are likely more turtles in Georgia waters so more can be hit by boats or caught in shrimp nets, authorities said.

Last week, 13 turtles washed up dead on Georgia beaches, continuing a trend of a greater than usual number of such strandings this spring. The total is 50 so far this year compared to 19 by the same time last year.

Seven of those dead loggerheads last week had injuries consistent with being struck by a boat, Dodd said.