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Terrapins - Richards Diary part 20

Tues 4 May 2010

Hans arrives early to continue his work on the pond terrapin reintroduction project. His consignment of terrapins Emys orbicularis has arrived and he gives me a grand tour of the facilities and shows me the terrapins. They are remarkably alert and eye me suspiciously. The dark green base colour of their skin is flecked with pale yellowy-green spots, although most of the patterning is obscured by copious pond weed. The little beady eye is pale with a dark iris, except for those animals sitting under the sunlamps in their tanks with their eyes closed. They will remain in the hothouse for a week or two until Hans is ready to transfer them to the outside containment ponds where they will hopefully start breeding. It’s such an excellent project and he has such obvious enthusiasm for the terrapins that I momentarily consider sneaking a couple out to release onto the Somerset Levels when we get back (along with some tree frogs, a few fire-bellied toads, one or two black woodpeckers and of course a family of beavers). However, the thought of all the paperwork suddenly wakens me from my reverie and all I leave with are some nice photos of the terrapins.

Close up photo of an adult terrapin with eyes open
Adult pond terrapin with eyes open

close up photo of adult terrapin with eyes closed
Adult pond terrapin with eyes closed

I pick up Damon at 10.30pm at the Angermunde railway station. We will spend the last few days in Germany with Eberhard, monitoring some of our previous egg collection sites to see whether any of the crane pairs are relaying. We’ll also need to pack away the remaining equipment at the mill.

This is the diary of Richard Archer, RSPB Conservation Officer for Somerset. In mid April, Richard spent three weeks as part of the RSPB/WWT/Pensthorpe crane team collecting crane eggs in Eastern Germany. These are his personal reflections on the successful German visit. You can read all of Richards Diary here.

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Richard Archer is RSPB’s Conservation Officer for Somerset, and took his sabbatical in the of Spring 2010 to help with the collection, incubation and transport of the first year’s eggs.