My Montana

My Montana
My Montana

Friday, July 1, 2016

Turtle Time

Turtles have been making their presence known across the refuge

June 8, 2016

Turtles have been making their presence known all month as the females crawl out of our many waterways to dig their nests and lay their eggs. 

I have to cross a huge water diversion channel to read the Upper Magurrewok water gauge. It feels like a huge skateboard channel, only for vehicles. As I started down it, I saw a snapping turtle sitting near the bottom. I stopped far enough away to not scare it and took lots of pictures. When I climbed up the other side, I saw several more snapping turtles, many busily digging nest holes or actually sitting and laying eggs. So, of course, it took me about an hour to read that gauge.

This turtle is not going to find a place for her nest here

Her portrait

I think this is a defensive posture - she assumed this position as I got closer

Another turtle laying eggs 

I checked several laying turtles for a peek at their eggs, but all I could see was this

A finished nest - the turtle adds urine to make mud and set it over the eggs

This turtle is returning to the water after laying her eggs

I love their ancient faces

New turtles had appeared while I walked less than a tenth of a mile from where I leave the truck to where the gauge is, in the channel, then returned.

Places where turtles are or have been digging nests

A little later that morning, as I was walking back to the road, after reading the lower Magururrewok gauge which is on Highway 1, I saw a Border Patrol Car start almost across from where I was parked. The patrolwoman jumped out of her car and picked up a small turtle crossing the road and carried it to the side towards which it was heading. I called out “Thank you!”, and she replied, “I have a real soft spot for painted turtles”. After she left, I attempted to locate the turtle but couldn't find it in the high grass along the road.

But some days later, I was able to photograph my own painted turtle before making sure it was safely off a refuge road. I've also seen lots of snapping turtles crossing roads or digging their nests in them, but I'm not brave enough to pick them up.

Painted turtle crossing a refuge road

Love that turtleneck "sweater" - wish I could knit that pattern

On the personal front, I hope to be able to get my car on the day this publishes - I got permission to use a refuge vehicle to come to town for shopping and internet. I'm planning to spend the evening in Bangor, and then get up early to go to Eastport with the summer crew to hike, visit a mustard factory, play laser tag,  and enjoy fireworks, music, and food.  I also got invited to go to St. James, Canada for more Independence celebrations on Friday evening, but since I haven't figured out cloning, I'll have to visit that town another time.