This week the Walder team visited Lake County’s field site where Varun Seth and Marg Bednarek track Blanding’s turtles. On the first day out with the team, Sam Johnson (Walder Foundation research
technician) teamed up with Marg to track a head start turtle named “Mickey” while Varun went to track another head start turtle named “Zoom”. Unfortunately, Varun ended up tracking all the other turtles while Marg and Sam continued looking for Mickey for about 50 minutes. Marg and Sam switched back and forth doing the telemetry and feeling around for him. Mickey was being a stinker and swimming
circles around the team. After about 50 minutes, Marg and Sam “saw Mickey swimming” and “successfully caught Mickey”. As they were processing Mickey, they noticed the notches on the shell to help identify the turtles did not match the systems record of Mickey’s recorded notches. After careful counting the team concluded that it was an imposter who was framed by Mickey. The imposter was known as “Honeybunz” that was last seen and tracked in 2020. Mickey hid by Honeybunz so he wouldn’t get caught. Marg felt gaslighted by the stinker. After that cold realization, Marg and Sam called for Varun to join the effort in looking for Mickey again. Finally, after an additional 20 minutes, the team tracked and cornered Mickey into the shallows of the pond and was able to capture him. Marg had many words and feelings towards Mickey during processing. Never has Marg felt more gaslighted by a reptile in her life… Poor Marg.