Threatened Terrapin Nesting @ Tabor Academy’s Schaefer Lab

Diamonback Terrapin #71 Nests @ Schaefer Oceanology Lab

Turtle Journal’s Don Lewis biked to Tabor Academy’s Schaefer Oceanology Lab off Front Street in Marion early Sunday morning to check the uplands abutting Sippican Harbor for nesting terrapins.  On July 2th, 2012, Turtle Journal’s Sue Wieber Nourse found Terrapin #329 nesting at this site, and she recovered 12 perfect eggs. These rare eggs were protected through incubation, and hatchlings were released back at the nursery salt marsh surrounding Schaefer Lab in September 2012.  See the full story with links to the major research discoveries of Sue’s Advanced Marine Science program at Tabor Academy at Rare Turtle Nests at Tabor’s Schaefer Lab.

Female Diamondback Terrapin #71 @ Tabor’s Schaefer Lab

This Sunday morning Don found a new adult female terrapin, #71, on a nesting run behind Schaefer Lab.  In fact, the precise spot were #71 dug her nest was located within a couple of feet of the place where Sue Wieber Nourse and her students, back in 2003 – 2005, incubated threatened terrapin eggs in a turtle garden under nest protectors and predator excluders.  This breakthrough research and conservation initiative was endorsed and funded through a major grant from the prestigious National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, the first of its kind ever received by Tabor Academy.

Terrapin #71 Departs Tenbrook Beach @ Schaefer Lab

Terrapin #71 is a young, 11-year-old female who already measures 8.2 inches straight line carapace length and weighs nearly 3.5 pounds, placing her in the top few percentile of Buzzards Bay diamondback terrapins by size.  After enduring the process of measuring and marking, #71 spritely headed back into Sippican Harbor by way of Tenbrook Beach, a sand-starved spit south of Schaefer Oceanology Lab.


Terrapin #77 with Eight Perfect Eggs @ Aucoot

An hour later, Sue Wieber Nourse encountered Terrapin #77 nesting on the barrier beach of Aucoot Cove.  This turtle dug her nest in marginal nesting habitat mixed with course gravel.  Her eggs were extremely thin and fragile; only eight of her 11-egg clutch were viable.  These eggs, too, were taken to the TJ turtle garden where they will incubate until emergence in protected safety.  Terrapin #77 is an ancient female of 8.4 inches length and 3.4 pound weight.  We first observed her in late June 2010 and then again in early July 2011 nesting in the same area.

Comments are closed.