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

One Success Story — 11 July 2001

A welcomed summons came from the Humane Society’s Cape Wildlife Center in West Barnstable.  Terrapin 1078 was ready for pickup.  You may recall her as the turtle found on 6 June (An Unusual Day) with major trauma to her rear limbs, especially the right leg, which we thought would have to be amputated.  She rated special concern since she was but a single season shy of sexual maturity.  Thanks to the extraordinary medical care of Dr. Rachel Blackmer, the Center’s veterinary director (right), and her top notch team, her leg was saved!  Rachel takes one final look at #1078 and her well-healed wound before releasing her this morning.

From CWC, Terrapin 1078 and I zipped the 30 miles back to Wellfleet Bay in time for her to join her paludal pals riding the incoming tide.  Before slipping into the ooze, she posed for a moment as if to show off her newly gained health.  Since she’s part of the Blackfish Creek population, with luck we’ll see her in future roundups along the rip to assess her progress.  But more hopefully still, perhaps next June we’ll spot her on her first nesting run as she crawls out of the creek and ambles inland and upland to a bordering nesting site.

Speaking of nesting, we saw a minor spurt of turtles today on the heels of a cold-front and a line of thunderstorms that soaked the Cape.  Two old friends, #113 and #241, first observed in 1989 and 1991, respectively, were found crawling around the Indian Neck sites.

And on Lieutenant Island, #70 (a turtle first marked in 1988) came ashore to lay her second clutch of the season.  A nice size for a Wellfleet terrapin, Turtle 70 is 19.5 centimeters carapace length (17.9 cm plastron).  Before digging her first nest of the year on 18 June, she hit the scales at 1308 grams; after depositing both 2001 clutches, her weight had dropped to 1186 grams.