Turning turtle

The story about JFK’s turtles is getting a whale of coverage in the UK press. The authentic story, though, is from AP, via the WSJ or, dressed up with a little reportage by Andy Newman for the New York Times City Room blog:

Specialists from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey removed about 100 diamondback terrapins from the runway around 10 a.m., said John P. L. Kelly, a Port Authority spokesman.

Some flights were delayed for up to 30 minutes, said a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration, Arlene Salac, but not too many: the runway is used relatively infrequently this time of year because of seasonal prevailing-wind patterns.

The runway becomes a turtle crossing every year around this time as the terrapins gear up to reproduce.

“They look for sandy spots to lay their eggs,” Mr. Kelly said, “and there is an ideal location on the other side of Runway 4L. They come out of the water and cross the runway to lay their eggs in the sand.”

Wildlife specialists for the Port Authority and the federal Agriculture Department relocated the turtles to an equally nestworthy area on airport property out of harm’s way, officials said.

“We just take them to a part of the airport where they can keep traveling west, but in a safe direction,” said Allen Gosser, assistant state director for New York wildlife service for the department.

Good to know there are “specialists” for such eventualities. Good, too, for the top Reader’s Comment to be:

The very definition of a slow news day.

That might be verified by the headline NY Times story today being by Sarah Lyall:

Public Workers Strike in Britain Over Pensions

Hundreds of thousands of teachers and public-sector workers across Britain walked off their jobs on Thursday to protest the government’s proposed changes to their pension plans. Union officials warned that this could be the beginning of a wave of strikes this summer and fall over pensions and public-sector budget cuts.

Too right.

As for the turtles, that’s a bit different to local experience.

The official reason for the closure of Nutt’s Corner as the airport for Belfast, and the short shift down the road to Aldergrove, was the tight descent and steep take-off. Popular legend, however, has it that pilots objected to umpteen hares’ eyes gleaming back from the landing lights. When the authorities closed Nutts Corner, the hares promptly debunked to Aldergrove. They remain one of the things Malcolm looks for, and the hares generally oblige, to make it a kind of home-from-home coming.

Now, anyone for crunching through the periodical cicadas?


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Filed under air travel., New York City, New York Times, Northern Ireland

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