Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Raftemys 2 has arrived!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Last weekend I headed back to our favorite marsh to see if I might be able to score a November spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata). I was depending on the sun to break through, on the cloudy part of the 'partly cloudy' forecast to be really small and positioned to one side or the other of the sun.

That took a while. I slogged through the sedge marsh, starkly beautiful in a way, even without much in the way of life.

Indeed here is some evidence of death, at least for the bird.

I switched to the woods, checking out a spring that I thought might yield some salamanders.


It did yield a pickerel frog (Rana palustris), kind of the redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) of the marsh; when you find nothing else, there will be pickerel frogs.

To be fair I did hear a few spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) singing their stubborn little hearts out.

When the sun finally did come out, I headed back to a spot Scott and I have identified as a spotted turtle hibernaculum. It's a wet meadow, which means it looks like grass with a few puddles here and there, but sink in to your knees (at least) when you step off the trail. The turtles particularly like this old stump, and I did hear a turtle-scale plop when I leaned over to see what I could see. This might not look like much to you, but what you're seeing is a shroud of tear-thumb (an aptly named vine) spread over dead rose briars. If I had seen the turtle I would have reached for it, but I like the skin on my arm too much to feel around blindly in there.

I saw a barely-surfaced turtle dive in a deep spot of that meadow, where the turtles winter beneath the tangled lip of a dead tree's root mass. I did feel around after it for a moment, but came up with nothing but a numb hand.