Turtle power

As I’ve been unable to walk at the lake these past two weekends due to a horrible backache, there’s been little opportunity for new photographs.  Nevertheless, I spent a few minutes digging through the large number of images I already have and discovered some fun items captured the morning of April 26.

Along the northeast shore of White Rock Lake runs a tiny stream that meanders through limestone and soil, amongst trees and grass, and finally dives headlong into the lake itself.  I followed that stream for some time enjoying its diverse offerings.

One thing that surprised me was the number of turtles hiding out in the various pools along the way.  They offered few opportunities for photography, however, as the banks are generally high and whatever surprise I thought I had quickly vanished each time I leaned over the edge or rounded the bend.  What I usually saw was something like this:

An unidentified turtle running away through a small stream (20080426_04792)

That rather large turtle had been sunbathing in a shallow part of the stream quite near the Bathhous Cultural Center.  The moment I popped into view, it took off at high speed.  I jogged along trying to catch up with it.  The big reptile proved elusive as it slid downhill into a deep pool of muddy water.

Even from quite a distance away and seeing nothing except this view, I recognized this large common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina).  It was all but a memory by the time I reached its hiding place.

On my the way back toward Sunset Bay there exists a marsh formed by one of the creeks.  I often find a variety of wildlife and plants in the area.

As I peered between the reeds and grasses and trees, I spied this red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) doing some morning stretches on a log.

A red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) sunning while stretching its back leg (20080426_04848)

That one back leg out and propped on a plant made for quite an entertaining view despite me being at a disadvantage with the sun directly in my face.

One photograph was all it took for that turtle to prove its namesake: with barely a gesture it slid off the log and vanished.  I rushed to the water’s edge and looked for it—the clear water and bright sunshine made seeing the bottom no more difficult than looking through a window.  Unfortunately, this is one that got away.

I backed up and scanned the area for more life.  Another log a bit nearer the lake held yet another surprise.

Because I had to move into a different position for a clear view, I was forced to stand in the path of the sun’s reflection and direct light.  And by reflection, I mean from the water and from the turtle’s shell.

A small red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) sunningn while resting against a much larger unidentified turtle (20080426_04836)

That’s a small red-eared slider resting on the back of one large unidentified turtle.  I’ve seen this species before, so I’m scouring my pictures to find some that will make identification easier.

Note again that morning stretches are underway.  That one leg out to its fullest extent amuses me to no end.

As I slowly approached for a better shot, the slider took its leave with an almost silent dive into the water.  I’ll point out that it did in fact slide right down off the larger turtle and down the side of the log in one swift maneuver.

That left the much darker and much larger reptile all alone, leg outstretched to catch some rays, head held up to watch me closely.

A large unidentified turtle sunning while stretching its back leg (20080426_04840)

[note that I’ve manipulated the lighting in the last two images to reduce the glare from the reflections coming from the turtles and the water]

Leave a Reply