Rescued Terrapin Hatchlings Released at Marion Barrier Beach

Twenty Terrapin Hatchlings Released at Marion Barrier Beach

Sorting Day today.  No, not the Sorting Day described in Harry Potter about Hogwarts.  Instead, this Sorting Day takes place at the much more magical castle of the Turtle Journal Laboratory.  Here, setting aside spells and potions, the team examines rescued hatchlings to determine which ones are sufficiently ready to be returned to the wild at their natal nesting sites.

Twenty Terrapin Hatchlings In Hand

This morning twenty (20) beautiful diamondback terrapin hatchlings passed that test.  Sue Wieber Nourse holds them for a group photograph to celebrate their selection for release.  Click on the picture above for a closeup and note the inexhaustible series of unique designs.  Each so beautifully alike; each so beautifully distinct.  Note also the genetic anomaly of the center right baby with a fifth vetebral split vertically into two scutes.  They all clearly pass muster as wizards in waiting.

Rescued Hatchlings Return to Natal Barrier Beach

With a whisk of a wand, Sue’s turtle-filled hands are mystically transported from Turtle Journal headquarters to the Marion barrier beach that held the hatchlings’ natal nests.  The babies appear quite alert as they magically sense home.  One hatchling seems to stare up at the Sippican Lands Trust Wildlife Refuge sign, asking in turtle tongue, of which only a privileged few Slytherin wizards are familiar, “Why would they post a picture of a scary predator?  Are they trying to warn us?  Don’t they know we’re already a threatened species?”

Terrapin Hatchlings Scramble into Safety of Salt Marsh

Released at the site of their natal nests, the babies cluster in a coven to decide what to do.  One of the wiser hatchlings suggests, “Look, guys. We can huddle out here in the open all day to discuss and plan what’s next, or we can run like hell for the salt marsh before we’re eaten.”

Last Hatchling Disappears into Nursery Salt Marsh

As we watch, hatchling after hatchling passes through the curtain at the edge of the salt marsh grass and poof.  It disappears as though protected by an invisibility cloak.  And so these miniature turtle wizards in wating will remain magically hidden for the first two to three years of their lives.  Maybe not Hogwarts, but it all seems a bit mysterical to the Turtle Journal team.

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