Eastern Box Turtle
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A Relic Population Doomed To Extinction?
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Turtle M33 (M), found 5/17 meeting with M27.  An old large scarred male, he escaped before being measured, weighed and radio tagged, but he might be found  in the future and identifed by photos     .
Turtle M34 found 5/27 while crossing the road.  Only 7 years old, he is by far the youngest and smallest (150 gram) turtle in this population ever tracked.
2015 Summer Season Data
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Part of June and most of July and August were back to back heat waves and afternoon thunder storms, which motivate turtles to move long distances, and cuts tracking incentives in the heat and humidity by about half.  2015 was thye warmest year on record.
Turtle 35, a very small (35 gram) 3 year old, was found new 6/19 with adult turtle M10 (male), under ferns in the power line ROW.  How and why M10 and M35 met is a mystery, but it seems unlikely to be just co-incidental.
Turtle 36, a new young adult female, was found while crossing a secondary road on 6/19, likely either coming from or  traveling to a nesting site.

After only 5 days of tracking, she was found dead, being run over by a vehicle on the straight level stretch of road, mid morning, on a clear dry day.

I don't know if she was a resident of this population, but no one will ever know now.
Turtle M37 (M), was found new while crossing the road. He had been hit by a vehicle and had a rear leg completely amputated.  There was little blood, and after some recovery time he was released in the woods near the location he was found.

On 8/11 at 12.00 noon he was found dead on the road, smashed by a direct hit of a tire, on a straight and level area, on a  sunny, clear, and warm day.  Clearly he was attempting to cross the road, and I had released him on the wrong side of the road not knowing which direction he was heading prior to his first accident.
This was the first complete season tracking turtles M29, M27, M30, M16 and M32.  Turtle M31, a transient tracked last season was lost, and M26, found, tracked, lost and re-found last season was lost early this season.  Turtle M4 returned to her normal ROW activity area, as hoped and expected.
Over 1500 turtle route locations were GPS'ed this season.  The mark/recapture numbers for this summer were 6 new turtles and 23 refinds.  Three of the new turtles were found crossing the road and 2 of those were killed by cars while being tracked.    Three of the new turtles were found mating or meeting with previously marked and tracked turtles.  Three tracked turtles were lost this season, and may be re-found in the future.

Turtles M6 (F) and M24 (F) were reintroduced to their respective primary activity areas and hibernation locations, after spending the winter at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.   They were taken there last fall after being found with eye issues and recovered well enough to be brought back.  M24 travelled little during the season and entered a number of  "mini-hibernations", moving to new locations weekly.
M1 (F) One of my oldest females, still nesting annually, I worry when she is about to cross the road.  This season she nested in the meadow as she has done before, so is in danger during 2 crossings.
M3 (M)  More intensively tracked this season (50 location points), M3 really does spend a significant amount of his travels in the power line ROW
M4 (F)  Returned, finally, from her long 2014 fall trip where she ended up hibernating away from her primary activity area.   M4 stayed in or near the ROW all of the season after her return, and hibernated in her woods nearby as usual. The photo above shows M4's 2014 travels (red line) and her return (yellow line).
M6 (F)  She was re-introduced at her hibernation site after spending the winter at the Wildlife Center of Virginia recovering from an illness, and has spent most of her summer season on a relatively small area on the south facing slope.  She climbed to the top of the ridge, as if preparing to cross the road and (after mating twice)  returned to hibernate on the lower part of the slope.
M8 (M)
M9 (F)  Having mated seveal times this season she never crossed the road to the meadow where she has nested in past seasons.  Turtle M9 was killed crossing the road in 2016.
M10 (M)
M11 (F)  One of several turtles removed temporarily from the meadow while it was being mowed.  She spent nearly all of her season in the meadow, eventually returning to hibernate near the roadway (as usual).
M13 (M)  This turtle started out on a route similar to the route traveled  last season, where he was lost mid-season and re-found before hibernation.  He was tracked all 2015 season, but didn't travel a long distance overall.  He hibernated close to M14 but they never met as far as I know.
M12 (M)
M14 (M)  This young male spent 35 days in the spring in a small muddy seep in the meadow, and much of the summer was spent crossing back and forth across the meadow from the woods to the raspberry thickets.  He came close to the highway many times, but never attempted to cross.
M15 (M)  He spent much more time on the north side of the ridge this year under heavier canopy than prior years.  M15 is familiar with this area, but in previous years, split his travels between both sides of the ridge and ridge top.
M16 (M)  This is the first full year's tracking of this active male, and it appears he spends much more time on top of the ridge than I expected, and meets and mates with many more turtles than observed in previous years.   M16 was found dead during the 2016 season.
M18 (M) Primarily a meadow resident, M18 was moved during mowing, and hibernated in exactly the same hole as last season.
M19 (M)  Usually a consistant, predictible long distant traveller, in June, M19 travelled to a small clearwater spring (the exact same place M4 travelled to last fall), and spent 21 days soaking in a small depression in the flowing water. He hibernated in exactly the same hole as previous years.
M21 (M)  Why M21 travels the long, arduous, nearly straight-line route mostly following the ROW one or more times each season is not yet known.  Possibly he is traveling for mating or meeting, but he has not been tracked intensively enough in this arduious terrain, to know.
M24 (F)   Having been re-introduced to her normal hibernation spot this spring after over-wintering in health care, she  travelled only a short distance this season, and has been found deep in the soil and as she moves from place to place about every 7 to 10 days (sort of mini-hibernations).
M25 (F) Another primary meadow resident, she makes occassional trips into the woods and back, making it look as if she spends more time in the woods than she actually does.
M27 (M)  This was the first full season (from emergence to hibernation) that M27 was tracked.  As with last season, he was observed meeting with one male, but no matings were observed.
M29 (M)   Found last season mating with M25 (F) a meadow resident, it appears that he is also a resident who primarily uses the meadow and makes occasional forays into the adjoining woods.
M30 (M)  Found last season mating with M6 (F), he was tagged and tracked into hibernation and was tracked all this season.  M30 seems nearly always to be on the move, and covers a lot of territory as a result.
M32 (M)  Found late last season. He shares the south facing slope with M1(F), M6(F), and M12(M), and the ridge top ROW with M16(M).
M34  A 7 year old that was found 5/28 crossing the road and was tagged.   Where he was coming from and what he was doing on the road is a question.  Appearently he was released on the wrong side of the road, as he crossed a few days after release, and spent the remainder of the summer in the meadow and edge, until being lost on 9/30.  M34 was tracked 0.7 GPS miles duing the season.

This photo is 320 acres in size.
M37 (M) Dead  Found in a road cut hit by a car, where 2 other turtles have been found run killed by cars in previous years.  Appearently by the route photo, he was released on the wrong side of the road, where he spent some orientation time and tried to re-cross.  He was run over and smashed dead.
M36 (F) Dead  The short route in the lower right corner of the photo.  See text below.
Scroll Down or click here for Photos and Info on NEW Turtles
New Turtles Found in 2015
Turtle M38 (F)  530 gr, was found on 9/19/15 mating with M19 in the power line ROW, and was tracked into hibernation.
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M38 (F) found late in the season mating with M19 at the ROW edge.  She hibernated at the forest/ROW edge close to M15.
Green Dot = Emergence,  Red Dot = Hibernation, Blue Dot = NEW FIND, White Dot = Dead
2014-2015
2015
Turtle M5, tracked from 2009 to 2012 before being lost, was re-found in September 2015 by a local resident.  Here is a page showing his travels.
 
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