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

Back to Blackfish Creek — 21 July 2001

With the new moon, tides have returned to workably low in Blackfish Creek, and we’ve geared up our research activities accordingly. On Friday evening, six female terrapins were netted.  They ranged from 4 to 12 years old.  Four were pre-pubescent and all were new captures.

My good friends, the Montgomery’s from Annapolis, Maryland, added their Chesapeake Bay expertise to the Paludal Posse and netted half the captures, including Terrapin 1168 snagged by Drew.  A 10-year-old female, she has somehow managed to lose most of both her front limbs.

Her right extends just beyond the joint while her left is largely gone.  Still, she seems feisty, well-nourished and a normal size for her age, although her tracks back to the water on release show a decided right-hand curve — which for you baseball fanatics is not, I repeat not, a mere optical illusion.


By Saturday, winds had shifted to the southwest, blowing the long fetch against the out-flowing tide.  The creek had turned murky and visibility dropped to near zero.  Still, the Lehmans proved anything but laymen as they peered through the ooze to net four terrapins: two females and two males; one recapture and three unmarked, including this 6-year-old male snared by William.

Sally Sharp Lehman, regional director for Massachusetts Audubon, netted two terrapins.  Her final capture was a large mature female (#688), which had last been seen in this same creek on 19 June 2000.  Since then she grew 2 to 3 millimeters and added about 75 grams to her weight.  Terrapin #688 proved such a captivating capture that the Lehmans “adopted” her on the spot as part of the MAS Adopt-A-Turtle Program, which supports our research and conservation efforts.