Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Stacked In Our Favor. 4-15-2017

Low to mid-60s and sunny. We needed turtles, as you do every now and then. Having only seen one Painted Turtle thus far this year and failing to get a photo, we were hoping for stacks of picta perfection. We chose a place just inside Bristol County to cruise for shell and hopefully see a Water Snake as well.

We got to our spot a little after 10 AM and it was already pretty nice out. Our sweatshirts didn't stay on for long. As is often the case, we started our hike with a fine Redback.
Quite a red head on this one. I thought it was Andrea under the log for a moment.

We hadn't added a Lifer bird in quite a while so I was really happy when these "Buffleheads" turned out to be Lesser Scaups when I uploaded the pic. #159 on the life list.
#21 Lesser Scaup  Lifer #159
We managed to get a few more birds on to the 2017 count, though we're still very low.

This was a good sign to see...

The leafless trees and bushes are a blessing and a curse. I could see turtles basking, but I couldn't get a shot. (I'm still without my good camera... using an old one that doesn't quite have the same guts.) Finally, I had a clear, if horribly back lit shot of some Painters, our first documented specimens on the year.
*whew* It's about time.

We were down by the water's edge at a pond when Andrea looked down and saw this cute and alert Garter.
She couldn't resist him and got musked for her troubles. He wanted to try on her fitbit, too.

The sun was high and the Painters were soaking it in.

We walked alongside some wetlands and again, through the trees, I could see a stack of turtles on the edge, as well as one lone shell further out. I found a path that got me to the water's edge, but branches were still in the way. Armed with the lesser camera, I was doubting my chances, but stretched my arm out and snapped a few shots. I was surprised as hell and more than a little happy to see our first ever Spotted Turtle at this place!
We've been hiking here for five years and that's our first one. We'd even seen Blandings here, but never a Spotted. Noice!

Then, I had to contort a bit for the stack on the log, a bit further away but possible. Imaging my surprise when I got a look at my photo...
Three days later, you could still knock me over with a feather. Spotted Turtles just don't bask like this! I guess when we broke the seal, we REALLY broke it.

Back to some more colorful Painted Turtles.
Andrea's shot of this duo is really beautiful...

Every perch that could fit turtles was filling up with Painted Turtles.

Andrea found another beautiful, olive Garter.
He wasn't being cooperative on the moss so I followed him into the leaves and got a shot of his face.

There were loads of Redbacks cooling it under damp logs.

Stacks. More stacks. Chorus lines. I love it.

Another "through the trees" sighting had us all confused for a while. We could see the sculpting on the shell but couldn't figure out what it was. Turns out it was our ninth Spotted Turtle.
We're used to seeing these guys with smooth shells. I'll bet this guy is an old-timer. Or a Bog Turtle.

The Painters were ridiculous.

We'd already done about 6 miles and were starting to get weary. At our last area, we were hoping for some frogs but none were present. Andrea found our First-of-Year Water Snake, though.
Again, not an easy shot.
What a lovely smile.

Only five species on the day but we couldn't be happier. Goal achieved... turtles, and lots of them. I doubt we'll ever see anything like that stack of Spotted Turtles again. I love it that on any given day, nature can hand you something priceless.


  1. i love all the turtles.......... love them so much!

  2. That pic of the stacked spotted turtles is awesome. I plucked a juvenile spotted out of the road today. Hope you guys are well.