Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Beatrice Chronicles - Part 4: Hibernation

Madeleine and I have been trying to figure out a good time to get together to check on Beatrice. September was the last time I was able to check on her, and Madeleine checked on her in late October. Since it's fairly cool in October, we were reasonable sure that Beatrice would be in the same location. And since it's freezing now, we thought it would be a good opportunity to pinpoint her exact wintering location.

(I suppose this is the point where I should mention that in the winter Blanding's Turtles find a nice mucky wetland, dig themselves in the mud, and hibernate. )

So Caleb and I met up with Madeleine and with the radio telemetry gear in tow we trudged across the ice. I was a little concerned at first as I mostly hear static and radio interference, but we starting walking toward the spot where Madeleine thought she was in October. As we neared her supposed location Beatrice's radio signal got louder... kind of. She was in the same general direction, but she had still moved quite a bit. At least this time her movement was limited to the wetland (thank goodness because I don't know there's any way we'd find her if she went too far).

We followed the signal until the beeps were loud even with the tracking gear on the lowest setting. This means she was pretty close. I even unplugged the antennae and we could still hear the beeps with the transmitter. Definitely close.
I'm a little sad that we didn't actually see her, but at least we know pretty much where she is. Caleb even poked a stick in a bit of water that wasn't frozen... until Madeleine worried about waking her up. But we feel pretty good about this.

Here's her approximate location (hope this link works), which looks like this up close.

The field season is starting up soon. Here's to hoping my boss will let me stay on top of tracking her before she disappears again. That tricksy turtle.

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