Neighbors 19 June 2001
After a nesting pulse probably instigated by the remnants of Tropical Storm Alison, Wellfleet Bay enjoyed a brief and relaxing interlude. Two old friends came ashore with the morning tide, but they were the exception rather than the rule. The lunar phase has high tides coming at inopportune times, around noon and midnight, and I anticipate a few days of slow action while moon and stars realign. The evenings high tide saw no nesters at all.
With the din manageable in Wellfleet, we could hear turtle voices from our Cape Cod neighbors. In Eastham, just down the road about 8 miles, a nesting terrapin was discovered in the window well of a newly constructed cottage behind First Encounter Beach. Relying on unfailing site fidelity, she came back to her traditional nesting spot to find it had been occupied by humans since last season. Unharmed physically by her encounter with marsh-side development, she was rescued, marked and released hopefully to find another not too distant locale to deposit her eggs.
Yesterday our colleague captured the first two marked terrapins from this population. The first was a 9-year-old female on the cusp of pubescent, while the second was an ancient turtle of 20.3 centimeters length and 1500 grams weight. If she was not an exceptional turtle, but representative of the Pocasset population, then these Buzzards Bay terrapins may not suffer the same diminutive status as their Wellfleet Bay counterparts.
In appearance, both seemed cleaned and polished and ready for Sunday school, in contrast to the terrapins of the Land of Ooze proudly adorned with their mud and muck and algae.