When Hurricane Dorian unleashed its power on the North Carolina coast, the storm eroded beaches and uncovered things once buried in the sand.
A dramatic photo shows what was exposed on one beach: more than a dozen green sea turtle eggs, according to a Facebook post from Cape Hatteras National Seashore in the Outer Banks.
The small, in-ground nest appears to cradle the eggs as they sit at the edge of a cliff, the post from Wednesday shows.
Park officials say Hurricane Dorian carved the 6-foot embankment out of the sand.
The storm made landfall Sept. 6 on the Outer Banks, bringing flooding to hard-hit Ocracoke Island.
Before the hurricane, Cape Hatteras National Seashore counted 166 “active” turtle nests, officials say. This year marked an all-time high for the number of sea turtle nests on the park’s beaches and beyond.
North Carolina as of last month boasted at least 2,000 sea turtle nests, hundreds more than the previous record. And experts say breeding, food and conservation could be behind the trend.
At the Cape Hatteras site, Hurricane Dorian flooded some nests but left most “still viable,” according to the National Park Service.
“There are still over 75 intact nests remaining along the Seashore and we are already seeing signs of successful hatching,” the park says.
Wildlife officials say female sea turtles emerge from the ocean every few years to dig holes in the sand and deposit their eggs before covering the nests and going back into the water.
Green sea turtles grow to about 4 feet and lay nests with up to 200 eggs each, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says. They are a threatened species in North Carolina, according to the service.