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.
The painted turtle was soaking up the sun on a fine summer morning. Often they crowd together on the same log. This one chose a solitary perch.
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.
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.
I always associate painted turtles with lazy summer afternoons. They are either basking in the sun or going for a quiet swim. You feel yourself slowing down in their company. No better way than that to enjoy summer!
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.