Friday 16 September 2022

20220909 first fall patrol

With what seemed like an early nesting season and a very warm summer, I headed out for a first of the season Patrol. Joining me was Karen McKendry and Thomas Baker. It is always great to bring new folks out and show them what this time of year is all about. While no turtles were spotted, we did find other wildlife. Right at the roadway Bizzy spotted this large Caterpillar. 

We spotted a just as large and slightly different large caterpillar along the trail. This seemed to be much brighter in appearance.:

We found one more of each of the above examples. Here is a shot of the third unit:
We also encounter a number of young Toadlets and one mature American Toad. Pickerel Frogs were plentiful and we spotted 2 Maritime Garter snakes and what I believe was a dark Red-bellied snake. 
Other sightings were some American Goldfinches and the wing of a Common Nighthawk. 
Perhaps the most significant finding was that the lake has fallen victim to Blue-Green Algae. We notified the Department of the Environment and it was confirmed. 
More patrols coming. 
Put some wild in your life today!


Sunday 17 October 2021

October 13, 2021 Turtle nesting area tour.


It is not all fun and games when we are trying to help turtles. But it sure is nice when you spend a day with people who have a genuine interest in their well being.

This was a fabulous day with (l-r) HRM Councilor Paul Russell, HRM Councilor Lisa Blackburn, and Ecology Action Centre-- Wilderness Outreach Coordinator, Karen McKendry!

Karen managed to "herd the cats", and get us all together. We then did a four stop tour within the city limits where construction work has had both positive and negative impacts on Snapping Turtle nesting areas.

We started out at Red Bridge Pond and covered off the history of the site, which we here at the Turtle Patrol deem to be a victory. Then we moved on to two sites on Cobequid Road where an intermediate solution was developed with Turtle Patrol and the City contributions. We ended our "tour" at a spot on Windgate Drive in Beaverbank where the reuse of asphalt on road shoulders resulted in the loss of not only 5 active nests, but nesting area forever.

Karen and I very much anticipate that future situations like this can be avoided with just a little communication between groups.

We here at the Turtle Patrol would very much like to thank Paul, Lisa, and Karen for their time, attention, and support!

Paul T


Thursday 26 August 2021

Time to be watching for emerging hatchlings. 20210826

 Here in Nova Scotia our shortest incubation season, that I have personally seen, is 76 days. With 31 days in July and 31 days in August, and just 14 days in June, that makes 76 days.

Our summer has been warm and wet, with some very warm nights, very much in line with the shortest season that I have witnessed. So any turtles that nested before the 9th of June have the potential of hatching out any day now. 

Please be on the lookout for emerging turtle hatchlings and let us know @ if you see any, anywhere and share your experience with us. 


Sorry for the long absence from the blog, but I had lost the password. Bummer I know. 

Please keep an eye open you may find something like this little gathering:

Yours in Turtling!


Saturday 6 July 2019

20190706 A busy morning on Patrol

With the Snappers finally putting in their appearances,David and I had a very busy morning patrolling. David had never seen a snapping turtle up close so he was enthused. With the recent activity I was hoping to show the young man a turtle or two. we were successful almost immediately.
As we looked around we spotted a few more of these wonderful sweethearts trying to pass their genes on to another generation of critters that have been on this earth for millions of years!
The third beauty we spotted was in the act of laying. It is always wonderful when we get to witness this act. I refer to this girl as one of our north side Sally's as they lay their eggs on the north side of the rails not the south side as most of the other ladies do.
Down the trail a bit we found these two troublesome girls.
I say troublesome as if they lay between the rails, and their eggs hatch out the hatchlings are doomed to die as they will not be able to get themselves out from between the rails.
These were not the only pair out for a stroll together, here are two more wonderful girls.
Here is a close up of the third snapping turtle female that is investigating laying her eggs in exactly the same 2 foot square plot of land that two other female snapping turtles have already laid their eggs.
Of course the world isn't just about turtles, while we are out there strolling around we also find other beautiful things like this black admiral butterfly.
Take some time today and put some wild in your life!

Friday 3 May 2019

2019 activities are kicking off in fine style!

May 3, today and I thought it might be time for an update of what has been going on. If this is any indication this season is going to exhausting. earlier this week Clarence and some unnamed assistant did some site enhancement at a key location. Yesterday was a busy but great day for raising awareness regarding the plight of the Snapping Turtle. I attended a Sackville Business Association gathering (Thanks to Walter Reagan) for the invite. It was a productive hour as i met several people and distributed a couple of our great knitted turtles. In the evening Clarence carried our flag at a monthly Sackville River Association monthly meeting by putting on a 40 minute presentation. He signed up some memberships for our society, and distributed a couple of our knitted turtles so we had a Super day on the second of May.
Today, I was out to see Joe as we cut up some 4x8 sheets of plywood into "blanks" for our Watch 4 Turtles signs.
We have been provided with permission to use these signs from Kelly Wallace from the Think Turtle Initiative in Ontario. You may have seen her post items in our FaceBook group Turtle Patrol Nova Scotia. She sent along a finished sign and all the specifications of how to make these beauties.
Here is a shot of Joe nipping up the sheets of plywood into the blanks.
We are having a work party to turn the blanks into the turtle shape and have them primed and ready for painting next weekend Saturday May 11th @ 10:00 a.m. at 103 Dow Street in New Minas. Don't hesitate to contact me (902) 240-8332 if you are able to be there and give us a hand.
This will be the second year in a row that AA Munro Greenwich are offering a day of volunteer assistance. They will be providing our lunch during the day!

More good news came today in the form of our first local report of a reappearing Snapping Turtle.
So they seem to be out and about.
Another SUPER thing that happened today is when I picked up the mail I was greeted with this piece of fabulous news.
So we will now be able to start getting our office set up, our field equipment, and project identification/education items. Here is a BIG shout out to the wonderful Councillors at the Halifax Regional Municipality for committing to our cause!!!!!
Let's hope we don't get too busy to keep everyone up to date on our advancements and results.
Yours in Turtling,

Saturday 27 April 2019

A little time in California

At the end of February and into March  I had the good fortune to spend a little time in California. While birds and mammals are usually my targets, on this trip I was able to spot a few Reptiles to so here you go.
At the Irvine Regional Park I was pleased to find a "hurtle of turtles". Now I know as I am certain that you are aware that a group of turtles is called a "bale". I just thought that with the concentration of these Red-eared Sliders, to get from one side of the group to the other, they would have to hurtle several others.

On the other side of the pond I was able to get much closer to a pair of these sweethearts.
At the small zoo that is located at the park I was also able to capture this close up of what I believe is a Gopher Tortoise.
On the 9th of March we went into the desert and at one of the parks near Palm Springs I took this image of another Gopher Tortoise. This is a younger Tortoise as you can almost "count" his growth rings on his back scutes.
A couple days later, Lam-Son and I were out and he told me about a spot in Los Angeles where were likely to find some Green Sea Turtles, did I want to go take a look?  Absolutely was my immediate reply and we were not disappointed as there seemed to be a few of these lovely creatures around. They seemed to "Bob" up and look to see what was on the shore.
What a great surprise! Another terrific encounter with yet another species of turtle.
Spring is here in Nova Scotia so please keep an eye out for out turtle friends, and report those sightings to the Turtle Patrol @ (902) 240-8332

yours in Turtling,

Paul T

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Not all our volunteers are in the field (20180718) Turtles in the making!

Well we here at the Turtle Patrol appreciate all the help we get from our volunteers. Many of them spend hours in the field watching for turtles, monitoring females while they lay, and walk with us in the fall to find hatchlings to get to appropriate water bodies. We also have had volunteers from Gracenote come out and do some site remediation. The ladies from AA Munro Insurance built nest protectors for us. So not all of our volunteers are "in the field".
Here is a bit of a story of one of my favourite volunteers: Ellen Turbitt she helps out by knitting.
She spends at least some of her time in her busy schedule knitting little turtles for us here at the Turtle Patrol so that we make provide them to folks who provide us with donations. She has been doing a pretty good job so far. I think she has knit  16 or 17 of these wonderful little "Thank Yous".
She is very happy that she has received a $25 donation for this beauty.
This is a "custom" ordered unit that has been requested from an individual at AA Munro insurance. Andrew wanted something "different" and this is what he is receiving.
We hope we can keep her active knitting and providing our Thank You gifts because that means we have lots of folks to thank for their help--so we can help the turtles. Of course every now and then the turtles want to thank Ellen for their existence and they provide her with little turtle hugs.
Just like other turtles, when the time is right, there is little they like better than a little basking in the sunlight.
I should let you know that Ellen is my mom, and that is why she is my favourite volunteer!
Should anyone out there like a little Thank You memento from the Turtle Patrol all it takes is a little donation :)
Yours in Turtling
Paul T

Friday 29 June 2018

A Super Volunteer day. (20180621) A Special thank you to Gracenote a division of Neilsen

Earlier this year the Turtle Patrol was contacted by Gracenote to see if we would like some volunteer effort. We were happy to have some strong backs and willing hands. So we made arrangements for them to come out on Neilsen's Global Impact day on June 21st. Clarence handled the arrangements and we ended up receiving 10 volunteers. We decided that we would put them to work doing habitat enhancement at our educational site. Clarence headed down early and to see if we were going to have any live turtles to show our guests and was ready to go at 9:30 when everyone arrived. Upon arrival at our primary educational site we were greeted by Grace. She was sniffing around looking for the "right" place to lay her eggs.
Clarence and I split our crew into two groups, and I took my crew to the second pond and we got to work removing destructive vegetation from the nesting area.
There are specific areas where vegetation is of particular concern as the roots will grow right into the eggs laid by the Snappers and make the eggs unviable. Here is a look at how much the guys in the crew were able to clear up.
I was doing trial trimming to ensure the walk into this site was clear and trimmed so patroller's opportunity to encounter ticks were minimized.
Clarence's crew did a similar stellar job at first pond and the place looks great!
Next it was back to my place for lunch and nice cold water that was supplied by AA Munro Insurance. During lunch Clarence and I answered many questions regarding Snapping turtles andwe hope the Gracenote folks got something out of the session.
We then headed out to our second large patrolling area that contains our greatest population of known nesting females. Here is a quick shot of most of the Gracenote crew, some with their AA Munro water bottles ready for their next stroll and education opportunity.
While we spotted no Snappers we were treated to a viewing of a Painted Turtle basking in the sun- what little was available,
So, once again a special thanks to Gracenote volunteers: Craig Sampson, Aaron Landry, Charles Zwicker, Ian Sutherland, Cliff Wheadon, Tom Bilodeau, Scott Rose, Greg Taves, and Ye Liang. We hope you had a great day and learned a little about our Nova Scotia Snappers. I would also be remiss if I didn't thank Alison Conrad from Deloitte, and Jenn Stotland from Halifax Earth, who also came out on the 21st and provided assistance.
As a followup, here is a shot of Grace just before she laid her eggs the very next day.
She is a beauty!
Take some time and put a little wild in your life today!

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Nest Protector construction (20180616) Thanks to AA Munro and Hefler Forest Products.

Well with the nesting season already upon us we finally managed to scrape together enough donations to begin building some "nest protectors" for this and future years Snapping turtles. With lumber trim ends provided by Hefler Forest products, screws and staples provided by my sister, and top-side screening provided by AA Munro we set to work.
I would also like to thank the ladies of AA Munro and friends who provided the labour. Here are just two of the three helpers that the Turtle Patrol had on this beautiful day.
In all we managed to bang together 20 of these boxes for use by the Turtle Patrol. Having a air-assisted stapler helped fabulously.
So now all that is left is to find some nests to protect.
Thanks again to the folks from AA Munro for their generous donation of time and energy, not to mention the most expensive component of a protector, the top-side screen.
A "shout out" also goes again to the folks at Hefler Forest Products for the generous donation of trim ends. Last and definitely not least a huge Thank You to my sister and fellow contructor, Angie!

This effort represents 18 hours of volunteer effort and about the equivalent of $300 in materials.
Thanks for taking the time to read and view!


Friday 8 June 2018

Our biggest rehabilitation effort to date (20180606) A HUGE thank you to Hefler Forest Products!

Well folks sometimes you just get blown away, that was the case this week as we worked on our largest effort of the year so far.  We had popped in and mentioned to the folks at Hefler that we would like to come in and do some rehabilitation for some nesting Snappers. Dana greeted us warmly and told us we had the go ahead, and mentioned that she would let us know when they had some gravel for us.  On June 4th, Dana let us know that there was gravel available for us to use. What a speedy response. We Headed over on the 5th and started work. The following shots are kind of what we started with. This first shot provides a peek at the gravel pile we had to work with and some of the area we would be working on.

We had material in front of these barriers which we wanted to move behind, in order to encourage our Snapper ladies to lay in a safer environment. 
This far end view shows us our target for a nesting pad. It also illustrates the area by the recently replaced telephone pole that had stirred things up and brought a lot of large aggregate to the surface of area. In the background you can see the pile of gravel. 
Some of the barriers had quite a bit of material that we wanted to move behind. 
So we got started raking and shoveling, shoveling and raking. When it came time to build the pad front end Loader man Terry moved some of our topping to be reused after we installed our gravel bed. 
Talk about efficiency over having to shovel! We were ecstatic that we didn't have to Pick and Shovel all that material. 
After several hours we are happy to report we got the job done! While we didn't use all of the gravel the pile was considerably smaller when we were done. 
The area behind the barriers were all raked up and we ended up with about 4 inches of fresh material added to what was already there.
The fronts of the barriers have all been cleaned up nicely. 
This final shot tells the story of not only the new pad, but also the work that was done by the telephone pole. We were able to create a second pad about 8 feet in diameter in that area that should provide a nesting sight for two or more females. The pad in the fore ground was elevated by about 4-6 inches which should be a wonderful spot for the ladies to get their business done. 
So a BIG shout out to the kind and caring folks at Hefler Forest Products for providing such a wonderful nesting area for the Snappers in the area. What a classy organization. 
Yours in turtling

The Snapping Turtle Breeding Season has Commenced!
The Turtle Patrol has been busy busy busy this spring getting ready for the breeding season. In addition to getting lots of organizational stuff done, meeting with people and passing out business cards like crazy, we have been doing a ton of field work. Already this spring the Turtle Patrol has visited 64 turtle locations. Our main field focus has been preparing these sites for laying females which involved evaluations, cleanups and habitat enhancement.
We have another 10 sites slotted for enhancement this week in the Halifax metro area and we plan to work fast as to the south and west of HRM the Snapping Turtles are already laying.
Our first report came yesterday of a laying female in Kentville at Miners Marsh and this beautiful photo was taken there by Sally Rose. Today a video of a second laying female was captured by Joelle Bezanson at Kejimkujik National Park.
We are now entering our next phase where our main focus will be on patrolling for laying females.  There are a ton of sites that need to be covered so please send me a message and let me know any days any of you are available to do a patrol and we can easily find sites for you to do. 
Yours in turtling,


Monday 28 May 2018

Some rehabilitation and a new "spot" 20180527 Clarence and Paul do some site work and visit a new site

Sunday morning and Clarence and I are in the truck to so some site inspections and explore an area we wanted to checkout last fall. Our First spot was in one of our Windsor locations where the snappers had terrific success last fall. We had our rakes and a shovel with us and needed them both. This first "rehab" just needed some raking and smoothing before the nesting season.
The next spot started s quite a indentation in the hillside that these snappers use. Here is a shot after we loaded the first several shovels full of material.
It is tough to get the proper perspective on some of these images. The "hole" was about 10 inches (25cms) deep. We raked to recover some of the local gravel that had washed into the pond.
As there was not a lot of sand mixed in with this "washed" material, we had to find a little local mud to add to the the layers of gravel we tossed in. 
 Once we finished, with a little sunshine to dry out the damp material, you wouldn't even know we were there.
Even where we recovered the gravel, you would scarcely see any impact of what we did.
We then headed into our targeted investigation area, and we were very pleasantly surprised by what we found! We met some of the local cottage owners and they were very aware and knowledgeable about the local snappers. The were quite gracious and encouraging in letting us walk our area of interest. Now for the "good news/bad news": we found a high concentration of activity with 27 predated nests from last year. There may have been even more, those were just the nests we could count due to the presence of egg shells. We were also told of a nest that was located in the yard of one of the Cottager's.
We would like to thank Myrtle, Donna, Carl, and Steve for their time and willingness to work with us on the Turtle Patrol!
On the way home we stopped in at two areas where we had single nest success stories last fall and did some raking and shoveling to encourage snappers to lay there again this year.
So three sites visited and rehabbed, and new hot spot to keep an eye on this fall, a really successful day.
We are always looking for volunteers to help with work of this nature, so drop us a line and see if you can help out!

Yours in turtling,