Saturday, July 02, 2011

We know the terrapins (Malaclemys terrapin) were around even if we didn't see any. We saw freshly dug holes (terrapins often dig test holes before settling on the right spot), we saw dug-up nests and nests carefully protected with cages to keep out crows, raccoons, foxes, and anything else that might dine on turtle egg, but we saw no terrapins.

We still had a great time. I brought along a couple of my younger cousins, both of whom keep snakes and dig catching toads and frogs when they get the chance. We tried a couple rounds of cruising a dirt road out into the brackish marsh but had the most fun on the trail behind the Wetlands Institute (terrapin central) in Stone Harbor, NJ.

Here are a couple nests, one lucky, one unlucky.

We might not have found many herps, but the horseshoe crabs were mating.

and hermit crabs were skittering around in the shallows.

On our last road cruising pass, we saw a pickup truck stopped, and some kids moving something across the road. It might be a cheap way to find a turtle, but we jumped out and took a look at a hefty female red-bellied turtle (Pseudemys rubriventris):

If my cousin has a pained expression on his face, it's because he is being drained of his blood by a swarm of deer flies. We jumped into the car right after this, and for the entire ride back decorated the interior with squashed fly carcasses.