Tag: turtles

Photography Challenge Day 95: Celebration of World Turtle Day

So today’s pictures all have a common theme: turtles!!! Today is World Turtle Day–a day to celebrate turtles and tortoises, and to maybe help keep them from tumbling over the edge into extinction.

Red-eared sliders sunning themselves at Boomer Lake

So far this year, it has been a good year for seeing turtles up at Boomer Lake. I don’t think I really got any pictures of turtles last year on my early morning walks (which isn’t surprising since it was basically as the sun was coming up–they were still snoozing in the water or wherever they sleep).

Red-eared slider swimming in Boomer Lake

Managed to get a picture of one swimming on Sunday as well. According to one person fishing, there is even a bigger one swimming around the lake. He claimed it should be about four times the size of this one.

Large box turtle moving through the park

I did see this box turtle last fall moving through the park. It had been the first time in quite a few years that I’d seen a box turtle in the area. They are one turtle that I do keep an eye out for in the mornings when I’m headed to catch the bus. I will usually try to help them across the busy road (in which ever direction they’re heading). Ten to fifteen years ago, they use to be extremely common in the neighborhood–not so much these days.

Sea Turtle at the New England Aquarium

And of course, there is my favorite–the sea turtle. I’ve seen them in the wild (when I went to Hawaii), in aquariums (such as the New England Aquarium), and rehabilitation centers as well. These majestic sea creatures are some of the most vulnerable species currently–due to climate change, hunting, and the daily dangers of living in the oceans. All sea turtle species are listed at some level on the endangered species list.

I would love to be able to see a leatherback sea turtle in the wild. I would also like to make it to the Galapagos Islands and see the tortoises in their natural environment as well.

Turtles and tortoises all play an important role in their respected environments–environments that we should be protecting and not destroying. So when you’re out and about–slow down if you see wildlife crossing the road. If it’s possible (and safe to do so), stop and help the turtle(s) cross the road–just be careful if it’s a snapping turtle. The world is dark enough as it is–lets keep the light shining by helping to bring some species back from the brink of extinction.

No Comments naturePhotographyRandom Celebration DaysZoos/Aquariums

Photography Challenge Day 59: The turtles dove for cover.

At times no matter how quiet one is, there is always something that can startle the wildlife and some of them will scatter.

Going for cover…….

I was just starting to take the picture of the turtles, when I guess I somehow (and accidentally) startled a couple of mallards, which then in turn startled quite a few of the turtles.

At least I managed to also catch the water splashing as several of the larger turtles went back into the water to “escape” the threat (me on the shore, and no where near able to get to them).

But I noticed that when they get back into the water, several others usually “pop” up from deeper in the water and start swimming along with them.

I see several little turtle heads…..

I’m sure that they all came back out and started sunning themselves again once I left the little open area that gazes into the little cove.

No Comments naturePhotography

Turtles and Blue-winged Teals: Double “T” Photography Challenge Day 39

Today’s photograph is a double “T”–some teals (specifically blue-winged) and some turtles. The turtles might be a little harder to find, but they’re in the picture.

Some blue winged teals and some turtles basking in the sun

The male blue-winged teals (Spatula discors) have a bluish-gray head with a white crescent in front of the eye (and this only during the breeding season), and they also have dark speckling on their breast. They are migratory birds, and Oklahoma is within their migratory path (though the panhandle of Oklahoma and a little bit of the northern board with Kansas is also within their breeding area). I’m not use to seeing the males in all their colors—I’m use to the blue on their wings, but this is the first time that I’ve caught a picture of their blue-gray heads as well.

Some interesting facts:

They can winter as far south as South America, they have a small spot in Texas where they possibly can be found year round, and they are basically absent in California (with the exception of the bay area and the coast line).

Therefore these are some of the first birds to migrate in the fall, and some of the latest to migrate in the spring.

They seem to be a warm weather duck—they’re largely absent from most of North America in the cold months.

Their diet consists of mainly plant material, especially seeds of various grasses. Depending on the season, they may also eat snails and insects.

The young leave the nest within the first day foraging for their own food—though they don’t “leave-leave” the nest until they’re able to fly, which is about five to six weeks after hatching.

Ring-necked pheasants sometimes lay eggs in blue-winged teal nests.

References:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Blue-winged_Teal/overview

https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/blue-winged-teal

The other member of the photograph is the red-eared slider (Trachemys script elegans). This is an semiaquatic turtle, that has become a popular pet turtle in the US. Since it has become so popular (and due to both intentional and unintentional releases), it is also listed as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.

Though it is difficult to see in this picture the red marking along the ear (that gives them their name). So I’d mentioned that they are a popular pet—well with any pet, there are always issues such as biting and nipping. Turtles as they get older develop stronger jaws and if they bite—it is probably quite painful (luckily I’ve never been bitten by a turtle), and since they are known carriers of Salmonella bacteria—they could easily infect humans with Salmonella if they aren’t properly handled. This has caused them to be released in areas that they wouldn’t be found normally and therefore have become invasive in and are out competing native species.

It has been nice to see numerous sliders and other aquatic turtles this winter/spring at the lake, as the weather changes more and more—more and more species are going to be become vulnerable to the extremes (reptiles and amphibians, along with insects being at the forefront), and if we don’t work to help dial back the damage—they could be gone within a couple of decades if not sooner.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-eared_slider

No Comments bird watchingnaturePhotography

Turtle Tuesday: Photography Challenge Day 23 (short post)

Turtles sunning themselves at the lake.

Today’s photograph is of a group of freshwater turtles that I spotted sunning themselves two weeks ago up at Boomer Lake. I know that there are a good number of freshwater turtles at the lake, it is just a matter of timing (making sure that I’m out when both the sun is out and the air temperature is fairly nice) and knowing where to look for them.

They like to collect on the limbs and fallen trees that allow them to crawl out of the water to warm themselves in the sun–but also allows them a fast getaway if they feel threatened. Though I think at times they notice people taking their pictures and they slid back into the water until the photographers have moved on. I’m hoping to see these guys a little more often, especially if I do my walks at Boomer a little later in the morning.

No Comments naturePhotographyScience