Black Jack! 7 June 2001
Its hard to even describe a day with so much activity and diversity. In the end, though, we hit Blackjack! 21, that is.
This morning conditions improved in Blackfish Creek. Winds subsided and water cleared. So, terrapins passing through the tide drained rapids became quite visible. We netted a bakers dozen. Nine females, four males. Four were recaptures; nine were observed for the first time. Lots of juveniles with nine turtles 6 years old or younger.
Well, not only did all survive, but we managed to net another eight turtles. Seven females and one male. One recapture and seven first timers. Only two were juveniles and all the rest adults excluding the canoeists, of course.
The one recapture was particularly rewarding. First seen three years ago on 12 June 1998, Terrapin 726 was a 5-year-old who measured 12.4 centimeters and weighed 310 grams. Researchers at the time identified #726 as male. Even though these measurements fell within the parameters of a male, my experimental model for distinguishing gender for individuals, which do not yet show secondary sex characteristics, spotlighted this identification as incorrect. The model predicted female. I noted this prediction in an amended database entry. Today Terrapin 726 was netted again: a beautiful, sexually mature, 17-centimeter, 800-gram FEMALE. SHE is pictured below shortly after release.
All things considered, a very good day at the end of the terrapin universe.