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

Canoe and Kayak — 16 July 2001

Still damned with mediocre tides, we played the only game in town — the mud flats at the mouth of Duck Creek.  Maureen recruited a canoeing companion to work the favorable ebb tide, while I was diverted by other volunteer duties in town hall.  As they paddled along the mucky banks were turtles love to bask on such warm summer days, they netted an energetic 7-year-old male (#1201)who stretched to 12.35 centimeters carapace length and weighed a muscular 295 grams.

I lugged my kayak down the seawall just in time to join the canoeists for field processing.  Now, in the Land of Ooze and especially along these quick-mud flats, terra firma is a laughable myth.  So, the best platform for precision measurement and documentation is created by linking canoe and kayak together for a stable field office.

With its light, shallow draught, the kayak can maneuver deeper into the tide-drained creek than the canoe.  I found Terrapin 1202, an 11-year-old female, hiding in a thicket of seaweed as she waited for the incoming tide to float her back to paludal safety.  Turtle 1203, a 9-year-old female, was netted only a few feet away as she, too, hung on the bottom for the tide to turn.  They weighed 943 and 836 grams, respectively, and they both seemed quite sated with the rich Duck Creek diet.  After an “E Ride” in my net/hammock from point of capture to the canoe for processing, each one defecated into my lap as they were examined, leaving a nice supply of former green crab parts for me to reconstruct at my leisure.  How could I possibly thank them?