Previous Page Photo-Diary of a Terrapin Researcher  Next Page

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

Stunner — 18 June 2001

Another stunning day in the Land of Ooze as nesting season stepped up notch.  As remnants of Alison passed over the Cape last night, terrapins swept in with the storm bands, illuminated against the blackness by flashes of lightning.  Quite an exciting kick to our research program — and cheaper than flashlights.

This morning the onslaught continued and summer residents, newly arrived from the mainland, joined the Paludal Posse in tracking turtles.  For the few, the proud, the committed, there’s always hope of earning a Turtleman of Wellfleet Bay T-shirt for performance above and beyond — and not available anywhere at any price.

Ms. Brauer won hers today as she located Terrapin 1008 returning to the marsh after nesting on West Island.  Her parents, Andy and Nancy of Longview Cottage, found this same turtle on 1 July last year when she made her very first nesting run as a newly pubescent terrapin.



Another interesting turtle recaptured this morning was Terrapin 130, who had first been seen on 27 June 1989, already a large, ancient female way back then.  Her shell has a pronounced sheen, as though she regularly polishes her carapace, and a very dark tint.

On closer examination, I was surprised to see that she had lost most of her back right limb.  Extraordinary that she is still quite nimble and seems fully capable of digging a nest and depositing her clutch.  Her stump is not only functional, but very powerful.