News From The Field



Turtle Adventures at Wolf Island Prairie

A follow-on post about Wolf Island Prairie by PLC Land Owner Mike Vaughan:

Sharing a note from a recent morning after a late summer rain ….Because of the rain last night I figured that the Collies and I might find a Box turtle on our prairie walk this morning.  Even so, I was surprised, when we’d only gotten about 150 feet from our house, to find a mating pair right on the edge of our drive.  Fortunately, the Collies did not see them.  I realized immediately that I didn’t want to break up their romance, but I did decide to walk up to them to try to find out if they were “new” turtles or had been previously captured and code marked.  The male was not marked, but I could see the female was, though I could see only part of the code marks.

I decided that they probably would be occupied for some time, so, instead of going into the prairie, I took the Collies up to our newspaper box at a fast pace, thinking it would take us only about five minutes to return, at which time I’d encircle the pair with chicken wire.  We did return quickly – and there was no sign of the turtles.  Furthermore, neither dog showed any sign of realizing that there had been two turtles at the spot a few minutes previously.  I put the dogs to work searching the area with me, but to no avail. 

I never knew that these turtles could respond to possible danger so quickly. They must have moved at least 50 feet in a manner of minutes.  And they did this without leaving a scent trail the dogs could find, even though the damp morning was ideal for preserving such trails.  You literally learn every day.

To learn more about how Mike preserves his prairie and PLC’s role, watch this week’s news segment by Fox 8. The timing of this feature is perfect, given the planting day scheduled for this Saturday, October 1st. If you’d like to help, the planting starts at 9:30am and ends with a picnic lunch (bring your own). Email ldardanell@piedmontland.org to sign up.

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