NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, Onslow County - It's that time of the year - sightings of sea turtle nests along North Carolina beaches are popping up all up and down the coast, including at North Topsail Beach.
It's nesting season for loggerhead turtles - as well as green turtles and leatherbacks - and beachgoers should know what to expect if they come across a potential nest.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has reported 13 nests so far this season on Topsail Island and say it's important not to leave trash on the beach or disturb the nests. Also, pets should be kept away from nests and if you see a turtle crawling on the beach, do not approach it.
Beachgoer Dave Cowles said he has witnessed a number of different nests along the Carolina coast in his lifetime.
"The turtles are just an incredible creature," he said. "And the mother turtles come back and lay eggs on the same beach that they were born on. There's been generations where within a few hundred yards of turtles actually that's where their mom was and their grandma was."
Nesting season officially got underway last month and runs through August.
Volunteers will help protect the nests from being disturb while the eggs have time to incubate in the sand.
"People wait for um at, at least three or four days," Cowles said. "They babysit the nest, they have a little runway set down to the beach where the turtles will be able to find their way. ...It's kinda like a little place to get educated about turtles and and then you just wait for them to incubate up out of there."