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Surprise early visitor ,Jamaica Bay

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Was drifting for fluke yesterday, when a  large turtle, (I believe a Green Turtle) swam by my boats stern. Yelled to wife and that spooked it, but she got to see  it before it kicked into hyper drive. A few barnacles on its' back, but seemed healthy. I've seen them in the bay many times, but not 4' away, and not this early in the season.  Hope it can survive the  boat traffic.

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19 hours ago, LowEnd said:

Kids at my beach club have been finding hatchlings all over. 
Never seen this before.

Those are probably diamondback terrapin, which are a native turtle of the salt marshes that were badly depleted by both directed harvest (they were the favorite turtle for the turtle soup popular in coastal restaurants a century ago) and bycatch mortality in crab traps.

 

A few years ago, the DEC outlawed terrapin harvest (up until then, they issued commercial terrapin permits) and required escape vents to be installed in crab traps set in certain areas.

 

It's nice to hear that the terrapin might be responding to such measures.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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2 hours ago, CWitek said:

Those are probably diamondback terrapin, which are a native turtle of the salt marshes that were badly depleted by both directed harvest (they were the favorite turtle for the turtle soup popular in coastal restaurants a century ago) and bycatch mortality in crab traps.

 

A few years ago, the DEC outlawed terrapin harvest (up until then, they issued commercial terrapin permits) and required escape vents to be installed in crab traps set in certain areas.

 

It's nice to hear that the terrapin might be responding to such measures.

Saw my first one a couple summers ago in Stratford.  Ended up seeing 4 that day

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Turns out that the DEC featured a terrapin article in their Marine newsletter this week.

 

How Can You Save Diamondback Terrapins?

Diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) are found in the local bays and estuaries of the marine district. This turtle species plays an important role in maintaining the health of saltmarsh ecosystems that many of our other marine species rely on. Unfortunately, terrapins enter crab pots in search of food. Once inside a crab pot, terrapin cannot find the exit; they cannot surface or breathe, and they drown inside. Installation of Terrapin Excluder Devices (TEDs) (PDF) on crab pots keep terrapins out and let blue crabs in. Do your part to help diamondback terrapins by installing TEDs on all the entrances to your pots.

A small number of TEDs (provided by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Seatuck Environmental Association) will be available to crab pot fishers on a first come/first serve basis at no cost. Please contact us at 631-444-0444 or NYBlueCrab@dec.ny.gov for more information.

An interactive map of the marine district is available, that shows all the areas where Terrapin Excluders are required.

How a turtle excluder works

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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8 hours ago, CWitek said:

Those are probably diamondback terrapin, which are a native turtle of the salt marshes that were badly depleted by both directed harvest (they were the favorite turtle for the turtle soup popular in coastal restaurants a century ago) and bycatch mortality in crab traps.

 

A few years ago, the DEC outlawed terrapin harvest (up until then, they issued commercial terrapin permits) and required escape vents to be installed in crab traps set in certain areas.

 

It's nice to hear that the terrapin might be responding to such measures.

These are sea turtles they have flippers not feet. Beach club is on the ocean.

Seen lots of turtles in the bay, unfortunately most have been dead.

Those have feet with toe nails.

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15 hours ago, LowEnd said:

These are sea turtles they have flippers not feet. Beach club is on the ocean.

Seen lots of turtles in the bay, unfortunately most have been dead.

Those have feet with toe nails.

It's not impossible, because I know that there was a Kemp's ridley nest--the first ever recorded in New York--somewhere in the Rockaways five or six years ago.

 

Having said that, this would be very, very early for a sea turtle nest to hatch.  Turtles like warm water.  For sea turtle nest to be hatching now, the eggs would have to have been laid no later than mid-April (based in the Kemp's ridley, which has an incubation time of around 50 days), when the water was still very cold.  I'm not sure that a sea turtle would be swimming around New York at tht time.  The nest from a few years ago saw eggs laid in mid-July.

 

We see a lot of sea turtles offshore.  Usually, the first ones to come through are leatherbacks, with the first ones coming through around the middle of June.  We see a lot of loggerheads and Kemp's ridleys in the summer into early fall.  Not sure that I ever saw a green off New York, although they certainly come up here.

 

I don't know whether there are any recent (or older) records of any of those species nesting in New York.

 

So I can't say with absolute certainty that you didn't see hatchling sea turtles this spring, but I do have to wonder whether it's possible that the claws on a terrapin develop at some point after the turtle is hatched, and that's why it looks like the hatchlings have flippers.  But someone else will have to provide the answer, for a herpatologist, I am not.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

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About five years ago I was walking the Rockaway beach, and I saw a turtle about 18" long , that had lost one of its' front flipper. My daughter wanted to save it, so I called the marine animal rescue, out in Riverhead. and put the turtle on my front lawn.  They poo poo'd me and said it was probably a terrapin, but my daughter who is much  more tech savvy, sent them a picture. Their response was quick, and their tone had changed considerably. The said it was a Kemp's Ridley an endangered species and they were sending someone to my home. Unfortunately the turtle eventually sucummed (sp?) to its' injuries, but it's interesting that CWitek said a nest had been found in the Rockaways, (where I live) and hopefully the Kemps Ridley I attempted to save, may be the one that laid the eggs.

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