Posts Tagged ‘painted turtle’

When I spotted this turtle from a distance earlier this week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, it was so elevated that I thought it was standing on a log or a rock. It was only when I zoomed in on this Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta) that I realized that it was standing on the back of another turtle. Yikes!

You have to be pretty old—probably about my age—if you remember the song whose name I used as the title for this blog posting. No, it was not sung by The Turtles.

Eastern Painted Turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The temperatures this past weekend soared past 60 degrees (16 degrees C), bringing the turtles up from the mud on the bottom of the ponds at my local marsh. Most of the turtles crowded together on the log in the first shot appear to be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), but I think I detect at least one Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans).

Not all of turtles, however, wanted to bask in the sun in a communal environment. The second image shows a turtle that managed to find its own log and was enjoying a few moments of contemplative solitude.


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday when the sun was shining and the temperature soared to the high 50’s (15 degrees C), I was blissfully ignorant that snow was headed our way. Like this Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta) that I observed at my local marsh, I wanted only to bask in the warmth of the sun.

Today in the Washington D.C. area, the federal government and most of the schools are closed and we are all hunkered down as we await the arrival of what is forecast to be the biggest snowstorm we’ve had in a few years, as much as eight inches (20cm).

During the summer, I often see a whole row of turtles on this particular log, but yesterday this was the only turtle that had bee roused from its slumbering state by the surprisingly warm, sunny weather. The mud on its shell suggests that this turtle did not swim around a lot, but made a beeline for this log after rose to the surface.

I suspect that this turtle is already back in the mud at the bottom of the pond today, comfortably dreaming of spring, when it will reemerge into the sun.


Click on the photo to see a higher resolution view of the turtle.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Most of the turtles that I have seen on recent sunny days have climbed out of the water entirely to bask in the sun, but this Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta picta) seems to have taken a more tentative approach.

Although he seems poised for a quick reentry into the water, he seemed undisturbed when I approached him to take this photo. The angle of the photo provides a view of the turtle’s torso that I rarely see, and as you can probably tell, I got down pretty low to get the shot.

 I was surprised by the amount of red on his body and the length of his claws. When I saw the claws, I decided not to go for an extreme close-up shot. I can only imagine the newspaper headline, “Wildlife photographer mauled by killer turtle.”


© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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