Hello readers! Alexis and Maura here to cover another week out in the field! This week we took on two different sites to find the beloved turtles! While there was an initial excitement of new sites, this week brought on many challenges including in-climate weather and getting our water legs back in action.

Although new to the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab, Maura learned very quickly the importance of training her water legs in the marsh! Walking in water may seem like a breeze; but let us draw you a picture diligent readers. Imagine wearing clown shoes that sink up to a foot in the mud bottom every time you take a step. Sometimes your leg gets so stuck you have to rock your whole body to gain enough momentum to pull the leg out, only to have rocked your other foot deep into the marsh bottom. Thus you have to repeat the process all over agin. Additionally, the marsh is full of rocks, cattails, and branches that are just calling for you to tumble into cool water.  Despite Alexis having learned all this in her previous field season, it did not stop her from falling face first shortly after Maura flooded her waders. Possibly, she did not want Maura to feel left out by being the first to flood her waders this early in the season?

Moments after Maura dunked her waders

Another important lesson Alexis and Maura learned was to check the weather before the start of the day! Monday brought on some pretty intense heat and we were lulled into a false sense of security that summer would indeed continue. Therefore, Thursday in the field was quite the surprise. While we were expecting another summer day that would start cool and end in 80-degree heat, Thursday ended up being 50-degrees and rainy. Even though they were not prepared for the cold day, Alexis and Maura continued on through the marsh on their hunt for the elusive turtles. Through cold, wind, and rain, they worked to keep the dreariness out of their spirits.

Although Thursday was a rough day to endure, Alexis and Maura were better prepared for the cold front Friday. However, the turtles were not so accepting of the weather changes. They were nowhere to be found, despite having has numerous turtles the whole rest of the week! We even found a frog in a trap rather than turtles. We couldn’t blame the turtles for not wanting to be out in the water? For the coming weeks, Alexis and Maura are planning to be better prepared for the turtle catching conditions by checking the weather apps conveniently on their phones!

Sometimes we find other wildlife in our turtle traps