Hello beloved readers! Another exciting week out in the field catching turtles. This week Bill had family vacation, so as the saying goes “while the boss was away the kids decided to play” (also known as work hard). The week started off with one hot and humid Monday. Alexis, Maura, and Joey faced the unruly heat while trying to set traps and telemeter for some Blandings gals that have evaded them the whole summer. Not only was the gang trapping at one of the most difficult sites (sticky bottom and all), it happened to be 95 degrees and a non-shaded site! Alexis, who very optimistically entered the field, soon learned that sometimes you have to take a break in the cattails and create your own shade.

Maura climbing a tree to look for water in a distant pond

Tuesday started off , finding one of our previously mentioned evasive Blandings gals. Some readers may know that Blanding’s are known as a timid turtle that will plunge into the water and remain on the bottom for hours when alarmed. When away from water, they will often withdraw into their shell. Blandings are generally very gentle and rarely attempt to bite. This is why Alexis was pretty shocked when this female was not only tricky with her hiding spot in the cattails, but ended up being very feisty and actually biting a chunk of Alexis’s finger.

Wednesday was an extremely exciting day for Maura. She traveled to Willowbrook Wildlife Center with Joey to begin her journey as a turtle doula. The Blandings turtle they brought in was the last momma of the season to lay her eggs and needed a little help from the turtle team at the wildlife center.  Before inducing our Blanding friend, the team took a radiograph and counted 20 baby Blanding’s eggs. Maura and Joey got a lesson from one of the turtle team staff members on how to properly dig a turtle nest in the sand. They then spent the next several hours watching Mom lay her eggs, counting them one by one, and allowing her to cover her nest. While Joey and Maura were at the Wildlife center, Alexis and Natalie released 19 more headstarts and checked traps.

As Joey and Maura returned from Willowbrook, they received a call from Alexis and Natalie that the Polaris had magically decided to stop work. Maura having absolutely zero knowledge of how to fix a Polaris was determined to find the root of the problem. However, to much avail, the team was not able to figure out the issue with the battery and decided to push the Polaris back to the truck. Ironically, as soon as they returned to the shop to have the Polaris looked at by one of the Kane Count team members, it immediately started running again. Apparently the ground connection was loss, and all it would have taken was a quick tweak with a Phillips screwdriver in the field to get her up and running.

Overall, the week had its ups and downs. Even though the beloved boss was gone, Alexis, Maura, Natalie, and Joey did a phenomenal job coming together to release 19 baby Blanding’s, caught six Blanding’s, seven painted, and one snapping turtle. With one week left in the field, the team is hoping to end the season with a Blanding’s Bang.