Annual Reports

Loggerhead sea turtle heading toward ocean
Loggerhead Sea Turtle

National Park Service

Cape Hatteras National Seashore (CAHA) is located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina from Nags Head, NC to Ocracoke Inlet. The seashore is divided into four islands; Green, Bodie, Hatteras, and Ocracoke Islands.

The beaches of CAHA provide traditional nesting habitat for several species of special concern and state-listed shorebirds, including the piping plover (PIPL) (Charadrius melodus), American oystercatcher (AMOY) (Haematopus palliatus), Wilson’s plover ( WIPL) (Charadrius wilsonia) common tern ( COTE) (Sterna hirundo), least tern (LETE) (Sterna antillarum), and black skimmer ( BLSK) (Rynchops niger). Less common nesters include the gull-billed tern (GBTE) (Gelochelidon nilotica) and Forster’s tern ( FOTE) (Sterna forsteri). Daily monitoring for these species begins every year in March and concludes two weeks after the last chick is fledged.
Monitoring for sea turtle nesting activity begins on April 30th each year. Patrols are conducted in the morning, beginning approximately at dawn. Each nesting activity is recorded as either a false crawl or nest. All nests are confirmed by locating eggs at the nest site. The decision to relocate the nest or for the nest to remain in situ is made at the time of nest discovery. If no eggs were laid, the nesting activity is considered a false crawl.

A stranded turtle is a non-nesting turtle that comes to shore either sick, injured, or dead. Data is collected for each reported or observed stranding. Whenever possible, further data is collected by performing a necropsy on dead turtles. Live stranded turtles are transported to a facility for treatment and recovery.

Seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) is a federally threatened plant species found in barrier island beach environments, where it grows in overwash flats at accreting ends of islands and at the foot of frontal dunes. Surveys for seabeach amaranth are ideally conducted in July-September when the plants are sufficiently large to locate and document. CAHA staff begins surveying for plants in mid-July, usually starting where seasonal resource closures for nesting shorebirds are being removed.

Annual Reports from Cape Hatteras National Seashore:

Last updated: March 15, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Cape Hatteras National Seashore
1401 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954


(252) 473-2111

Contact Us