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

The Rest of the Story: Boxed to Go — 12 June 2001

Terrapin 1048 was one of the first turtles to emerge from brumation in Blackfish Creek this spring.  She was spotted on the morning of 24 April (see “The Awakening” of that date) as she tumbled through the rapids still caked in mud.  Just four days ago (see “Pregnant Pause”), she paddled through the rip and was one of the first two palpably gravid terrapins detected in 2001.  The rest of the story came shortly after ten this morning when I found #1048 in the wrack line of south Lieutenant Island on a nesting run.  An interesting observation: on 8 June she showed a redness across her abdominals not present on 24 April and which has disappeared again today.

The two recaptured nesters (#1048 and #1070) observed so far this season, both were originally sighted in Blackfish Creek, north of Lieutenant Island, and were found nesting on the south side of the island.  Tracks crossing the foredunes of the north beach suggest a substantial trans-island trek to reach their southern nesting sites.

Yesterday brought thunderstorms and a heavy dose of southern humidity to the northland, and this morning was smothered in fog.  The result was a plethora of box turtles.  They seemed everywhere all at once, soaking up the liquid air.  During my early morning nesting check of Indian Neck, I first encountered this approximately 19-year-old female, doing some roadwork obviously to keep in tip-top box form.

Just a tenth of a mile away, a 20-something male box turtle prowled the shoulder of this same backroad.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we stumbled on a tryst in the making.