Eastern Box Turtle
High Elevation Study
A Relic Population Doomed To Extinction?
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2013 Summer Season Data
Turtle M1 (F)This is the first year since 2008 that M1 crossed the road.  She nested in the meadow and laid 4 eggs.  She mated several times traveling outside of her normal activity area for nearly the entire season, but returned in late summer, and hibernated there.  This year's tracking of M1 is used as the example of tracking precision
Turtle M3 (M).
Turtle M4 (F)My largest and likely oldest turtle.  Her primary activity area has been the same since I started tracking her in 2009.   M4 returned to her previous Hib site for the winter.
Turtle M6(F).  Much less travel this season, compared to previous years.  M6 did not nest this season as far as I know.   M6 returned exactly to her 2011 HIB site.
Turtle M8 (M).  Traveled far outside his previous activity area, but has now returned to for hibernation.
Turtle M9 (F).  Traveled to the meadow east of roadway, as usual, crossing the road twice, nested, spent time eating strawberries, and traveled back.  She spent much less time in the meadow area than usual. M9 has returned to her previous Hib site.
Turtle M11 (F).  She spent much less time in the woods, and much more time in the meadow, spending 10 and more days in the same exact locations before moving on  (I think,  .....I did not thread trail her this season).  M11 has returned to within a few yards of her previous unsheltered HIB site close to the road.
Turtle M10 (M).  He traveled outside his previous activity area as several others did this season.  He has returned to the area for HIB.
Turtle M13 (M)He's known for long travels, and this season's travel has been exceptional.  He once came back to within 50 feet of the roadway so I assumed he was preparing to cross back into his more often used area, but within a day he turned around and traveled quickly toward and through the meadow.  He travels fast and he can travel back to his normal activity area in a day or two when he wishes.

He did not use the pond as the photo might suggest, but stayed on the high bank for a time.  M13 did not return to what I thought was his normal activity area, for the winter.
Turtle M15 (M). Over 3.9 miles of travel this season, and much more travel into the woods on the north side of the ridge than previous tracked years.
Turtle M18 (M)  The largest male in the population, so far.  The meadow where M18 spends most of the summer season, was bush-hogged late in the summer, and he hibernated in the woods nearby.
Turtle M19 (M). Over 3.8 miles of travel, and travel into areas he was not observed in the previous years. M19 returned to within 25 feet of his 2012 HIB site.
Turtle M24 (F). Found late last season, this small fiesty female crosses the road like a pro.  She nested in the meadow with 4 eggs; none survived even one day due to predation.  M24 has selected a hibernatin site about 5 feet from her 2012 HIB site.
Turtle M20 (M)This map shows both his 2012 travels (red line) and his 2013 travels (yellow line), 2.5 GPS miles total.  M20 was lost the spring of 2014 when his transmitter fell off at emergence

He was found in 2012 at an elevation of 2800 ft, traveled to 3480 ft over the course of the summer, hibernated there, and in 2013 traveled over the ridge-top, and down the other side to an elevation of 2800 ft near a busy state highway.

Is M20 a transient?  He spent a lot of last season mixing with the rest of the population, meeting and mating with a number of turtles and traveling as if he knew the area.

M20 is missing a front limb!

Click here to read observations and speculations including turtle M20
Turtle M21(M).   M21 made it half way back to his 2012 HIB location, and hibernated in a wooded area inside a vista cut near the road.
What's different about this year compared to the previous 4 or 5?.  The weather, the winter,  sunspots, or magnetic field or what?  Many of my tracked turtles have traveled far outside of their normal activity areas, in all directions, and stayed there for extended periods.  Food resources appear to be excellent, the rain totals are above normal,  after record high temps in the spring, the summer has been normal or even slightly below normal temperatures.

The mark/recapture ratio for 2013 was 12 recaptures and  Zero new turtles, so I have confidence in my population estimate of less than 40 individuals.  Turtle M12 was the only lost turtle re-found this season.    Winter 2012-2013 hibernation charts and info has been posted here.
Turtle M25 (F).  Found late last season, this was my first entire season tracking her.  She prefers to spend her time in long grass and under overgrown shrubs in the meadow.  She nested in the sandy north part of the meadow and laid 4 eggs.  None survived due to predation.  The meadow was bush-hogged late in the summer season, and M25 hibernated in the woods nearby.
Mapping and Data Collection Page
The watchword for the 2013 summer season was dispersal.  Many turtles from this study area traveled further  from their primary activity areas and stayed away longer, than the several previous years of tracking and observation.
Radio LINK
M15 2013
M18 2013
After 239 GPS miles hiked and over 1500 turtle locations recorded, the 2013 summer season has ended and all tracked turtles are underground for the winter.  The winter started with a number of short but very cold (10 degrees F) periods,  with the first snow occurring on 11/28/13.

All turtle travel route photos have been posted in their proper pages alongside the previous years travels.
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