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Don Lewis, Massachusetts Audubon Society,
Fox Island Wildlife Management Area

Warm Up — 30 April 2001

A southwest breeze bathed the Land of Ooze with refreshing warmth.  Blue skies and lazy clouds painted Wellfleet Bay in springtime hues.  Still, few turtles have emerged from brumation.  But with a string of 70°F days in the immediate forecast, it’s only a matter of time.  One hazard surprised me as I waded the creek.  So many pairs of mating horseshoe crabs have gathered in the low tide rip that it has converted the rapids into a virtual minefield.

Two male terrapins floated through the rip this morning.  Number 1052 came first; an 8-year-old with perfectly pristine carapace and plastron, he tipped the scales at 222 grams and stretched to 11 centimeters long.

A few minutes later a repeat customer swam into view.  Terrapin 1047, you may recall, was first observed a week ago on 23 April in the first group of turtles seen active in 2001.  In the last week, he seems to have warmed up a lot and has become quite active and aggressive.

He lost 4 grams in weight with his shell peeling off its winter covering.