Friday, April 11, 2014

Welcome Back, Turtles! April 10th and 11th

First off, Andrea saw a Opossum in a tree on the way to work Wednesday.
I hope it is OK... it must have been scared!

It seems like forever since I have seen a turtle up enjoying the sun! In fact, it was only since February, but that was in Florida and so it doesn't count. The weather in the Northeast has been improving, however, and I excused myself from work early on Thursday the 10th to peruse Allendale Woods for a roaming Garter Snake or a peek at a basking turtle. It was warmish in the sun, but the wind kept it pretty chilly.

Being a last minute decision, I only had my pocket camera on me so when I got to the pond and saw this:
I really wasn't able to get an ID shot. (Though I would guess that, left to right,  is a Red-eared Slider and 8 Painted Turtles.)

Man, the place was filthy, too. That bums me out.

The only herp I found that I could add to the database is a well-earned Two-Lined Salamander that I flipped near a stream.

No worries, I got to explore new trails and tie things together in my head; it's much easier when the trees are leafless and I can actually see. Neither of the vernals had visible eggs or masses in sight, and both were pretty big. Hopefully the middles were more fruitful.

The plan had been to meet Andrea after work and head over to Forest Hills Cemetery while the healthy turtle population there was still basking. Our timing seemed to be just about right. First sight from the car was three Red-eared Sliders up basking.
I know, introduced... released pets... whatever. They're still turtles out there living on their own and I think they're beautiful. They shouldn't be there, but since they are, I wish them the best. Besides, what is that behind them, through the bush, besides a Canada Goose? Yep- a Painted Turtle!

Here's another angle of the (shedding) Sliders.

Moving around the pond, we saw something triangular sticking up from the water. Could it be? I snapped a shot, then it was gone. We were right... our first Common Snapping Turtle sighting of the year!
We went over to look around and could see it under the water, poking its massive head around, but couldn't get a good shot. The two white spots behind the face (it is looking to the right) are on the back of his head, to give you an indication of the size of this one's noggin!

I had hoped last week to get a better shot of my #41 bird, the Goldfinch... this one, while still not good, is much better.

On the other hand, this picture of  #43, the Blue Jay, is aces!
#43 Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata)

But our #44, the Dark-eyed Junco, will also need an upgrade soon.
#44 Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

So, that's not bad for a Thursday!

On Friday, because I'm still on a shortened workweek, I decided to go over to Drumlin Farm and visit the shop to see if my Audubon membership's discount would do any good for a pair of binoculars. Not really. Them's 'spensive!

Since I was there, I decided to take a walk and look around. Not surprisingly, many Painted Turtles were up enjoying the intermittent sun.

The only other herp that I saw during my short stay was a flipped Redback.

There were lots of Wild Turkeys around, including a displaying male that wasn't having much luck with a group of females, but my favorite (#45) was this one, taking a dirt bath. It was digging with beak and claws and rolling like a cat in the loosened soil. Very very cute.
#45 Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)

One other great thing about my brief trip was meeting another local herper and artist... two of my favorite things! We will hopefully meet up and herp together soon! A look at just who she is, her artwork and ideas can be seen here. Excellent stuff indeed!

So while awaiting the weekend, we added a few species to our 2014 sightings and we couldn't be happier! May the weekend bring massive happiness!

In closing, since Drumlin Farm is a FARM, here is a gratuitous shot of frolicking sheep.


  1. ¡Las fotos son maravillosas!!!!¡Bien muchachos!!!! Cariños Martha (hay otra historieta en el blog de Eerie)

  2. No puedo comunicarme .Este es el segundo mensaje que escribo.sobre las bellas fotos de blog.Un beso Martha. (hay una historieta en mi blog.)