Friday, August 10, 2012

Bidding Farewell to the Bog Turtle

It's hard to believe that my second summer in New Jersey has come to an end. Between working lots of hours during the week and getting out in the field on the weekends, the past three months have flown by. One of the greatest things about my time here has been the opportunity to work with biologists on several conservation projects involving threatened & endangered species, particularly regarding to turtles. Though I can't go into much detail about the research project I've been working on, I can mention some highlights that the area has to offer. Earlier this week, we ventured north to a beautiful site set in the highlands of New Jersey.

This high quality limestone fen is home to a population of Bog Turtles. This species prefers wetlands with ample emergent vegetation such as cattails, sedges, rushes, and ferns and cold, slow moving water from seepages. This particular fen is found at high elevation in the mountains, and the scenery here is astounding compared to other bog turtle sites I've been to. The northern population of Bog Turtles in the United States is generally considered to be a lowland species, but there are exceptions. While the southern population is generally found in high elevation mountain bogs in the southern Appalachians of Georgia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. Though this site was not technically a mountain bog, the montane backdrop and terrain made it an awesome site to look for Bog Turtles. The weather this day was in the low 80s and the humidity was low, a comfortable day to be out surveying for this species, and after an hour or so we finally hit pay dirt.

Bog Turtle - Glyptemys muhlenbergii

A beautiful little female that was found resting in a small seepage which meanders throughout the fen and likely the last bog turtle I will get to see for a long time. Boggies are an endearing turtle species, they are unique in terms of their habitat and ecology, and it doesn't hurt that they are undeniably cute. It has been a true privilege to have the opportunity to work with these guys over the past few years and I can only hope that my paths will cross with this species sometime in the future.


  1. Incredible spot, Nick. I don't think you could have had a more productive summer.

  2. It was an awesome place Pete, going to miss that species a lot.