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Posts Tagged ‘red-eared slider turtle’

Although the daytime temperatures keep dropping, turtles still come out to bask on sunny days. I spotted this beautiful turtle, which I believe is a Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), last Friday at the same suburban pond where I saw the Ring-necked Ducks and Canada Geese that I featured in previous postings. The subject and composition of this image are fairly ordinary, but the beautiful interplay of the light and shadows help to make the image stand out.

Red-eared Slider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Most of the time Red-eared Slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) slide into the water as soon as they detect my presence. Yesterday, however, this turtle seemed to be in such a deep meditative state that it remained in place when I approached it at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. The turtle was even impassive to repeated buzzings by several Eastern Amberwing dragonflies, some of which flew within inches of its face.

I was hoping to get some a shot of a dragonfly landing on the turtle’s shell, but was content to capture this image with both the turtle and a passing dragonfly.

Red-eared Turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What is your first thought when you see these three turtles together? Are they just friends or more than friends? The turtles seem to be pretty comfortable sharing a confined space and there is plenty of space in our minds for varied interpretations on the nature of their relationship. According to the old saying, “two’s a couple and three’s a crowd”—is that always true?

Whatever the case, the turtles at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge have been definitely been enjoying our recent sunny days. My turtle identification skills are not very good, but I think these all may be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta), though there is a chance that they might be Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

I love images like this one that allow viewers to use their creativity to interpret what they see and to generate in their minds their own mini-narrative of what is going on. Ménage à trois or just friends—you make the call.

red-eared sliders

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The temperature today feels so frigid—right about the freezing level—that it is hard to remember that only this past Monday it was sunny and 60 degrees (16 degrees C). While I was enjoying the unseasonably warm weather and exploring Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I photographed these sunning turtles, a relatively rare sight in December.

I did not get a good enough view of the turtles to be able to identify them with any confidence, but I think they may be Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) or possibly Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans).

Turtles in December

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I made a quick trip to Huntley Meadows Park on Christmas Day to see what creatures were stirring and was surprised to see some turtles had surfaced to bask in the sun. The flash of red on this Red-eared Slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) made its colors seasonally appropriate and it did seem to have sandy claws.

Red-eared Slider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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All of nature seems to be speeding up as we move deeper into spring. Even the turtles seem to be moving faster, like this Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) that I spotted recently at a county-run historical garden.

Initially the turtle was swimming around in a small pond (as shown in the second shot). I was pleased that I was able to capture a shot of the turtle as it was emerged from the water onto the shore.

I had my 180mm macro lens on my camera when I caught sight of the turtle and I was reminded of the need to zoom with my feet when using a lens with a fixed focal length. In my zeal to get a bit closer to the turtle, I narrowly avoided sliding down the bank into the water.

slider1_blogslider2_blog

© 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.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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When the family of Red-eared Slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) adopted an orphaned turtle, they had no idea that the baby would grow so big. Despite his disproportionate size, the larger turtle, an Eastern Snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina), likes to participate in all family activities and doesn’t seem to realize that he is different from the other members of his adopted family.

I chose a natural setting for this family portrait and managed to catch almost everyone in a good pose—unfortunately, one of them had an attitude and refused to look directly at the camera and smile. Most of us have similar informal family portraits with the same problem. I don’t know how professional portrait photographers get everyone to cooperate.

co-existence_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday, when an Eastern Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) crawled onto a floating log, where a much smaller Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) was already basking in the sun, it looked like there might be a showdown.

The two faced off, staring at each other. Despite the size difference, the small turtle did not appear to be intimidated and refused to back off at all. Eventually they both relaxed and decided that peaceful co-existence was the best option.

It turned out that both the log and the sun were big enough to share.

turtles_blog

Click on the photo to see a higher resolution view.

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A warm day this past weekend brought out the turtles in my local marsh, who lined up on logs to bask in the sun. On some logs as many as a dozen turtles of all sizes were crowded together, but somehow this big Red-eared Slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) managed to get a log all to himself.

In the first photo, he seemed a little annoyed when the sun disappeared behind the clouds, but he quickly resumed his zen-like pose in the second shot, when the sun reappeared.

turtle2_blogturtle1_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I haven’t seen a frog in a couple of weeks, but the turtles and snakes still make an appearance when the sun is high overhead, seeking somehow to warm themselves in the rays of the sun.

The first shot is a red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), a type that I have featured before in blog posts. I find them to be amazingly photogenic. In this shot, I particularly love the reflection that he is casting. The blue of the water is a little unusual and reminds me a little of some of Monet’s paintings in which he used a similar blue.

Sunning turtle in the fall

The second image is a head shot of a Northern Water snake (Nerodia sipedon). He was stretched out in a grassy portion of the marsh, probably trying to expose the maximum amount of his body to the sun. I got down pretty low to get the shot and, as you can see, the grass made it difficult to get an unobstructed shot.

Sunning snake in the fall

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I often see turtles lined up on branches in the water, basking in the sun. Usually they are arranged as neatly as cars in a parking lot, though occasionally I see them in haphazard patterns or so close to each other that they are touching (I see that in parking lots too, actually). Nonetheless, I really like the configuration of the turtles in this photo, who all appear to be red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans). I find the different positions of the heads and bodies to be interesting and the facial expressions particularly fascinating.

My favorite element, though, is the little turtle near the bottom of the photo, who is mostly in the shade, but has managed to extend his neck to catch a bit of the sun. Do you prefer a different turtle?

Turtles in the sun

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What do turtles think about? When I came upon this red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), that was my first thought. Perched at an angle on a branch, the turtle seemed to be lost in contemplation. His eyes looked out over the expanse of brown, muddy march water, but he seemed inwardly focused.

Maybe this is a form of turtle yoga.

Pensive turtle

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Basking in the warmth and light of the fall sun, turtles of all sizes were perched on the logs and other chunks of wood in the muddy waters of a local marsh pond. I was struck by the attitude of this red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans), whose stiff-necked and imperious pose seemed almost aristocratic. He had gained this prime piece of real estate by crawling over one of his fellow turtles and was now standing on that turtle’s back to provide himself better access to the sun.

I have to admit that he is beautiful and I suspect that he would be the first to tell me so if he could speak.

Red-eared slider turtle basking in the sun

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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