First Hatchlings Emerge 25 August 2001
Marc Bossert and Carolyn White, colleagues from Long Island, arrived in the Land of Ooze this weekend and brought a little New York luck along with them. And, yes, they did stop in Connecticut for a Power Ball ticket en route, but thatís not exactly what Iím talking about. We arranged to meet this morning for a check of nesting sites before wading into Blackfish Creek to test a new seine net. Both adventures proved interesting, but the former was a good deal more productive.
About 15 feet to the south lies Nest 026 which had been laid below the storm surge on Crescent Island and relocated to Turtle Point on 14 June (see Protecting Vulnerable Nests, 14 June 2001). Spot-checking this nest last week showed egg shell veining, an indicator that things were approaching critical mass. So, we took this opportunity to check again with great results. Fourteen of the 15 eggs had already hatched, yielding big, healthy, active babies ranging from 3.0 to 3.2 centimeters and 7 to 8 grams. These characters are a hoot! The remaining egg in this clutch still seems viable, too.
Not having a container to hold 15 strapping hatchlings, I asked Chris if he wouldnít mind running back for a pail. When he hadnít returned for nearly 30 minutes, we knew something must have happened. Sure enough. As he walked up to the jeep he spotted another set of smudged hatchling tracks in the dirt road. He found the nest (#162) with 11 already emerged hatchlings, 1 non-viable egg, and 1 live hatchling still in the egg chamber. This one had pipped and was being attacked by fly maggots, which Chris picked off the poor critter. Hatchling 029 was only 5 grams, measured just 2.65 centimeters, and still had the remnants of its yolk sac showing. It was not too active. We found a sibling a few feet away in the tire track of a passing vehicle. It had not survived.
Well, the night may be quiet and Cape Cod perfect, but it wonít be lonely. Connemara Cottage is abuzz once more with the darting antics of tiny terrapins.