Posts Tagged ‘nursery marsh’

Last Hatchling?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

October 8th is late … very late in the season for diamondback terrapin hatchlings to emerge in the Great White North.  Yet, this morning as we walked along a dirt road between salt marsh on the south and rolling dunes to the north, we spotted a fresh set of hatchling tracks slaloming across the white sand.  The tracks began atop one dune, slipped down slope and then climbed up the next dune immediately adjacent to the roadway.  We began to follow the track with camera in hand.

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Following the Tracks of a Diamondback Terrapin Hatchling

The previous video retraces the tracks in 45 seconds but the hatchling would have taken more than 45 minutes to create them.  We found this perfect little terrapin resting under a clump of beach grass.  It sported an extremely sharp egg tooth and a slight yolk sac remnant.

Last 2008 Hatchling Sports Sharp Egg Tooth

It seemed a bit lethargic in the cool weather, but warmed a bit as it basked on the sun baked sand.  Still, after we moved it across the roadway to reduce the chance of an unfortunate accident with vehicular traffic, the terrapin held its position for several minutes before taking a deep breath and venturing into hiding within the nursery marsh.

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Release into the Wild Elicits a Deep Yawn

If this hatchling proves the last of the year, as is most likely, it certainly wrote a wonderful punctuation mark on the 2008 field season.

Behind the Scenes: Best Dune Emergence Sequence

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Stepping behind the scenes, we see how skill and luck and patience were aided by technology to produce the best documented dune emergence sequence.  The Pentax Optio W30 enabled us to get within inches of the action as tiny hatchling poked through the sand and then scrambled down slope like Olympian skiers.

Pentax Option W30 Documents Hatchling Emergence

Their very first view of the world after more than two months buried under the sand is hampered by the blindingly bright high noon sun.  They pause to get bearings which appears for all the world as though they are mugging for the camera.

Hatchling Mugs for the Camera

The clip below documents how we capture these events for the Turtle Journal.

Getting Close to the Action

And finally these ten beautiful little miracles are released into the relative safety of the nursery marsh.

Ten Hatchlings Head into Marsh under the Camera’s Gaze