Welcome to the first official 2022 Kane County Field Season blog! Here is an update of how the first week back in the field went for Dylan, Bill, myself (Maura), and surprise guests.
The season is certainly in full swing! We were lucky enough to have Bill place traps at one of our sites on Sunday and were ecstatic to find 10 turtles in one fyke! The magic of the fyke lives on. We were then joined by fellow WEL members, Maris, Kami, Carly, Dr. Kaitlyn, and Dr. Laura to run blood work for over 20 Cook County Red Eared Sliders. Although Kane County only had two samples to run that day, we all worked extremely well together to run important diagnostics for the health assessment of these turtles.
Tuesday was probably one of my favorite days of the week. Unlike some of the other Kane county members, the best weather to work in for me is the cold and rain. Coming from someone spending her second season in Kane County, any day that it is not 95 degrees and humid is a perfect day for turtling. Although the rain and the cold did send the turtles running for shelter, Dylan was able to capture the first radio telemetered turtle of the season!
Another great day or turtle catching! Traditionally when pulling blood from Common Snapping turtles, we use the tail vein. However, as seen in the picture below, Dylan was able to get blood from a tiny, baby snapping turtle safely using the sub carapacial sinus.
As far as turtle numbers, Thursday was THE BEST DAY! Kane county also received a special visit from Dr. Kaitlyn, a new Ph.D. student in the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab. Dr. Kaitlyn graduated with her DVM from the University of Tennesse in 2020 and joined WEL last summer! She has been an incredible addition to the lab! She helped Dylan and myself process 7 radio telemetered Blandings including the mighty Gandalf, elusive Karen, and an old female who was originally caught in 2009 and has not been seen since 2015! It was a very exciting day for Kane County.
Dr. Kaitlyn and her first Kane County Snapper
Maura and Karen the Blandings Turtle
Everyone’s favorite day of the week! TRAP PULLING DAY! This year, in the spirit of whole-hearted competition, we will be keeping a count of the number of fykes each team member pulls. For those of you who do not know, a fyke is the largest type of hoop net we use to trap turtles. A fyke typically weighs 15 pounds entering the swamp but can easily become 50 pounds when wet making trap pulling especially difficult. So far the point system is based on the number of fykes; however, I think difficulty and distance will soon be added to the point system. After the first week, the number are in Bill = 2 fykes, Dylan = 1 fyke, and Maura = 1 fyke