This lake has a fair number of resident turtles. As I scanned the water for birds, I noticed a painted turtle enjoying a swim. Now it and its mates are buried deep in the mud, hibernating until spring.
Painted turtles always look grumpy. In doing a bit of reading, I’ve discovered that they are a species of Special Concern here in Ontario. Cars and habitat loss are their main threats. Painted turtles are also slow to mature and only lay a small clutch of eggs. If just a few die the whole turtle population can be impacted. I now see why they look so grumpy.
The snapping turtle surfaced from the murky water as I stood on a viewing platform. I thought it was quite young given its size but with all the algae on its shell I’m not so sure. This small lake has three kinds of turtles, the snapper growing the largest. After a long winter of hibernation deep in the mud, we’ll see them again when the ice melts in spring.
I was scanning the river for birds when I noticed this very large painted turtle on the edge of a boulder. I kept expecting it to slip into the water but it continued to balance like this for all the time I was there. Although not endangered or threatened, its status is of “Special Concern” as it may become so. That said we haven’t had as many sightings as usual this summer; I do look forward to seeing them every year.
Painted turtles are common and widespread in our region. We usually see them sunning themselves along with their buddies in mid Spring, as soon as the sun gains some heat. They’re hibernating now, nestled deep in the mud of local ponds. I look forward to seeing them again in a couple of months.
I’ve sat on this image for quite a while, not sure whether to post it or not. I usually like to crop closer in to my subject(s) but in this case, I decided to focus on the rugged terrain and the challenging conditions these painted turtles face at our local reserve. I assume they made it safely across but I had to be somewhere that afternoon so I couldn’t wait around to find out😊.
These painted turtles look pretty put out. In other reserves where the turtles tend to dive for cover when you approach, these turtles stay put and glare. Like frogs they blend in well to their surroundings. On a windless day if I see duckweed floating on the surface of the water, chances are a turtle underneath it is propelling it along.
And now for a little change of pace, with the arrival of milder weather the painted turtles have returned to the surface after a long winter of hibernation. I spotted a few on the weekend and when I returned to the lake today there were even more about. Another welcome sign of the season.
The air was cool but the sun was nice and warm and the painted turtles were out in force. In this sheltered little bay every log was host to crowds of turtles. The spring melt has flooded parts of the park and we had to wade through shin high water to get to the little bridge that overlooked the turtles. What a sight they were for winter weary eyes.
Snapping turtles and painted turtles are the most common turtles at the reserve. We usually see them, often together, sunning themselves on logs in the water. I captured these two when they were swimming. They move silently through the water and blend in so well, that it’s only when they come up for air that you see them. The snapper isn’t fully grown but it’s mature enough to have quite a growth of moss on its back which acts as excellent camouflage. They have a prehistoric look, with their long tale and spikes. Not pretty but fascinating to observe.
I took these photos last summer when everything was lush and green and the turtles were basking in the sun. Right now they are hibernating at the bottom of the lake and won’t resurface until late spring. Smart turtles! Painted turtles are common here in Ontario and share the lake with snapping turtles and the occasional blanding’s turtle. Painted turtles can be rather shy and slip into the water as you pass them but not these two on that day.
These photos were taken in July when the sun was warm and the lake was full of life. We saw painted turtles everywhere, basking in the sun or swimming in the water. Summer is long over and it’s been several months since we’ve seen any. They’re likely hibernating at the bottom of the lake waiting for winter to set in. The group in the first photo were making the most of the short summer and seemed to be admiring the water lily across the way.
There’s a platform off the water that provides an excellent view of the goings on at the reserve. Given the drought in our area the water level is low and the painted turtles are easier to spot as they swim around. In the first photo the turtle seemed to be treading water. I’ve never noticed one in that position before. I spotted the second turtle further along the trail. He was a fine looking example, his shell and claws quite striking. But what a grump!
I came across these painted turtles basking in the the warm July sun. It was one of those perfect mornings when the temperature was just right and the mood nice and relaxed. Sometimes turtles can be easily scared off when they sense your presence but not that day. They were nicely lined up and the water lilies provides an additional note of interest to the scene.
I was standing on a platform with a group of other photographers trying to take photos of a heron that was just out of my lens’ range. As I was having no success with the heron I looked about to find something else of interest. The painted turtle in these photos was swimming around a few feet below me and kept raising his head above water. As I didn’t have a polarizing filter on my lens the water looks a bit murky but I don’t think it detracts from the final result.
On a sunny day last week we came upon these turtles basking in the sunshine. The Blanding’s turtle (the turtle with the yellow throat and domed shell) was sharing the log with the much more common painted turtles. Very often turtles will slip back into the water as you walk past. Happily this particular spot was far enough away that the turtles continued to soak up the rays as I took my shot. A note about the Blanding’s turtle – it’s a threatened species in Canada. Wildlife experts are working with landowners, conservation groups and local authorities to protect their habitat.