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

Field School Kick-Off — 27 June 2001

The Wellfleet Bay Terrapin Field School kicked off in fine style this morning with post-high tide checks of major nesting sites.  Blessed with good conditions, the teams found nesting turtles, discovered and protected a viable nest, counted nests loss to predators at one location, and rescued a turtle that had been run over while nesting on a dirt road.

  

After nesting checks, the team switched into water gear and waded for terrapins in Blackfish Creek.  Again the gods smiled and we were able to score some important observations.

Under my personal study project, comparing the relative intelligence of terrapins and terrapin researchers, I acquired another confirmatory data point.  With our team lined up like goalies along the rip, one exceptionally bright turtle decided she knew a better way.  She merely exited the water before reaching our blockade and began to crawl across the sandbar to reach safety beyond our nets.  It almost worked.  Luckily, one of our folks let his concentration wander from the creek and began admiring a laughing gull making fun of our shenanigans.  Thatís when he noticed a rock which began moving along the shoreline.  In Crocodile Dundee fashion he swooped down on the surprised creature and netted Terrapin 1155.