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A Not So Empty Nest {Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary}

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

The irony is not lost on me as I am heading to Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to meet the research team and volunteers to check on turtle nests. My own proverbial nest is just days empty and here I am looking for baby turtles tucked safely into sandy nests on the Cape Cod sea shore at the Wellfleet Bay Nature Sanctuary.

Once the private property of esteemed an Cape Cod doctor, resident and nature lover, this extraordinary place is now a haven for migrating birds, marsh wildlife and Diamondback Terrapins.

We got there a little early and watched as an enormous turkey strutted around, snapped pictures of a rare blue lobster and got a sneak peek in the wet lab of a towel wrapped tupperware filled with a pile of baby turtles, cousins I suppose of the hatchlings we would soon be seeking.

After a quick orientation session about how the mama Diamondback Terrapins lay their eggs, how the nests are monitored and protected from predators, we set out in the late afternoon light to see if there was anything to see in a nest that had been flagged during the days early morning rounds.

I had been warned that a dreaded deadly to turtle hatchlings fly had been spotted and to be ready for a sad discovery. So my expectations were low and I happy just to enjoy this peaceful marshy place.

After a short walk in just a small part of the over 900 acre reserve, we gathered around the nest and the protective cage was uncovered and moved to display the nest. As the experts softy dug the first turtle brought out had indeed been found with a maggot attached to his egg yolk and it was placed into a separate container and then things got really exciting. Tiny wriggly turtle after turtle was discovered, gently sprayed with some refreshing salty water and placed into a container in the sunshine where they flipped and flopped and scurried.  In all the team discovered almost twenty live Diamondback Terrapin hatchlings.  It was a thrilling, life affirming discovery. 

I am now back in Rome and the Teenager's back bedroom is occupied by a family friend who is finishing up an internship before he heads back to university. 

My nest isn't so empty after all.

 Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Diamondback Terrapin Hatchlings // Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Diamondback Terrapin Hatchlings // Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

291 State Highway, Route 6
South Wellfleet, MA

We were guests of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce and the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, but all opinion are my own.


  1. Squeee! Babies! I love that you guys made the most of your trip back to the US. It was great fun to watch your travel on IG. Does it feel odd or good (or both) to be connected to the US in such a way again? I said earlier that my husband will be pushing a New England college tour for our own son... it comes up SO fast!

    1. Hear hear to a New England college tour trip! I am in love with that part of the world now. (I should probably visit in February and see how I feel then :)

      I am not sure how it feels to have a fledgling of my own making his way in the US yet.