- A census of Western Pond Turtle nest sites was conducted in five nesting areas at Fern Ridge Reservoir, in West Central Oregon. Baseline data about soils, vegetation,
landform structure, and hydrological environment were collected through measurement of slope, aspect, straight-line distance from water, soil compaction, overstory cover, percent vegetative ground cover, vegetation height, and period of inundation between June, 1995 and August, 1997. Nest chamber temperature was recorded at 10 nest sites during 1996. Measurements of slope, aspect, and straight-line distance from water of Fern Ridge nest sites had been collected during 1993 and 1994, and were combined with data from this study. Climatological data were collected during all 5 years. Anecdotal information was collected on nest success, clutch size, hatchling emergence dates and post-emergence movements, nesting frequency, and nest site philopatry.
Nest sites were typified by low slopes, southern aspects, and wide ranges of straight-line distance from water. Nest area soils were very compact and dry during the nesting season and period of incubation, but were often saturated or inundated between
November and April, when hatchlings overwinter in the nest. Vegetation was relatively dense; dominated by various low forbs and grasses. None of the nest sites had overstory cover. Successful nest sites tended to have more vegetative ground cover, and were exposed to less precipitation and more growing degree days during the period of incubation than unsuccessful nest sites. Successful nest sites were also inundated for shorter periods of time during the winter.
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