Thursday, June 29, 2017

Nesting Wood Turtle

We were riding our bicycles on the Pine Creek rail-trail when we saw a nesting wood turtle. Each year we find many turtle nests in the limestone screenings that were used to make a rideable surface, but those nests have been plundered by the raccoons, skunks, opossums and foxes that patrol the trail in the night looking for a meal. 

But this was a female wood turtle in the process of backfilling her nest after deposing eggs.

The backfilling was done at turtle speed in turtle time. As can be seen, the turtle operated just as a conscientious person would do when placing fill – putting some backfill in the hole (we call that a “lift”) and compacting that before adding more fill –

Although the turtle had already partially filled the hole before we found her, we watched for 43 minutes before she finished and, apparently satisfied, slowly walked back toward the stream.

H. and I rode on and in less than a half mile found another female wood turtle excavating a hole in which to lay her eggs –

This lady turtle had apparently begun a number of nearby nest holes that had subsequently been abandoned when she got through a shallow layer of screenings and encountered the large ballast stones. Given how long it had taken to backfill the other nest, and lunch beckoned, we decided to ride on.

A bit over a week later we rode the trail again and saw that a predator had found the turtle's nest and enjoyed a meal. 

Hopefully other nests along the trail will escape the predators and produce a few hatchlings.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Round of the Year - Spring

Winter was over, but snow remained on the ground as the final season of The Round of the Year began. Earlier posts of this seasonal sampling of photographs of the natural world can be seen here (Summer), here (Fall), and here (Winter). As in the earlier posts, the photographs from my trail cameras are listed at the end of this post.

Every day of the year serves up something interesting to see (in this case to photograph) in forest and field. Some of those things are large, some small, some on the ground, some in the sky – but all anyone has to do is look and there’s something to see.




Although I spend most of my days in forest and field, there are wonderful and interesting things to see in town and city as well. Wherever you may be, it’s worth looking up, down and all around – there may be cloud formations, insects crawling about, birds or mammals, and it always pays to stop and smell the flowers. 

Thus we've completed the circle of the seasons and the round of the year, hopefully you've taken pleasure in the pictures just as I've taken pleasure in photographing these wonderful things.

Trail camera photos - 4/28, 5/7