Thursday, October 12, 2017

Moving into the Second Season 10-7-2017

As reptiles and amphibians will start to become scarce up here in the polar regions of Massachusetts, we have started to get ourselves mentally (if not physically) prepared for Sea Turtle Season and the grind that it entails. On Saturday, October 7th, we headed to Cape Cod for this year's sign-ups. We had to be there by 10 AM. I got pulled over trying to make it. So, we wound up being a few minutes late, but we got signed up and talked with friends. We don't know what this winter will look like turtle-wise but we two, as well as the amazing group of volunteers and staff, are ready for whatever happens. We think.

Since we were there, we decided to take a walk through Tim's Box Turtle Field® and see if any Boxies were up. We thought that they might be moving back to their brumation sites and, as Tim told us later, we were right. This gal was our first Box Turtle sighting.
Though Tim wasn't there, we were told to check the notches and see if it was a turtle that should be brought into the lab for measurements. We called but got no answer, so Andrea took her in. When she picked her up, we noticed that she had only one eye.
One-eyed Jill.

I poked around on the North side while she was in the lab but found nothing. I caught her coming back and we took Jill back to exactly where we had found her. (It was her first measurement of 2017.) We also noticed a guy walking in the woods. We asked who he was and he said he was looking for turtles, too. We let him tag along with us for a while. He was an older guy who really wanted to be involved. I saw a pattern through some leaves and we'd found our second turtle before too long.
We called it in... yes, they wanted it. The gent with us had a Stop and Shop cloth bag to bring it to the lab in. This turtle had two bumps on the front of the carapace... squint your eyes and you can see a Bullfrog face.

While looking for more Box Turtles, I found a diminutive Redback.

Box Turtles are so variable... this guy looked like a Blanding's to me from 10 feet away!
We handed him off to the Stop and Shop bag and the gent took them off to the lab. The old fella came in handy, really. He was a big hearted guy but I guess he could be a pain in the ass if he keeps bringing the same turtles in over and over. Or a pain in the plastron.

We kept on searching, concentrating on the North field for a while but we turned up no more turtles. The sun had emerged and the sticky heat was coming on. What Box Turtle in their right mind would want to move in that? We headed back toward the car as we were getting mighty hungry by now. Deciding to take a wooded edge next to where we were walking, we saw our fourth turtle, and this guy is a screamer!
We took him in since we were so close. (I hope we weren't being a pain in the ass!)
Two beauties.

After humiliating turtles (weighing them on their backs seems so humiliating to them, but funny for us) we grabbed some lunch and then hit the road back towards home. We had designs on stopping in Plymouth County to look for some more animals. By the time we got there, the shadows were getting long and we doubted we'd have any luck with snakes (and we were right) but we saw some amphibians. We started off with some Redbacks.
Nice millipede tail-extension.

Bogs had frogs, mostly Bulls (some stereotype posing) and one Pickerel.
And that was it. We were tired so we headed home. Not too bad, though. This time next month, I'll be offering big bucks to see a Bullfrog; the season is coming to a close for my beloved "every day herps". This year has been a tough one on many levels and being in the field is one of our last true joys. Seasonal Affective Disorder, here we come.

Epilogue:I met up with Box Turtle Tim himself on Sunday morning to go look for Copperheads. The forecast of "morning showers followed by sun and temps in the 80s" turned into downpours and a cold wind, temps in the low 60s. Andrea wisely bowed out. Tim and I hit the hill we sought and saw no copper noggins. We will try again at another time.

1 comment:

  1. sigh, i love turtles, and froggies........ and newts.......and salamanders.....sniff

    and tiny little snakeies