Eastern Painted Turtle: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — There are seven or eight species of turtles in Maine, depending on what authority you check. By far the most common is the Eastern Painted Turtle, which is found in ponds all over the state. They tend, in my experience, to be relatively shy…sliding into the water at any approach. I rarely get as close to them as I would like for photography. These live in the little drainage pond at the back of the Southern Maine Health Care parking lot, and seem especially brightly painted. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Shutter program at 1/400th. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
I am falling behind…not because I am not posting every day, but because I am taking too many photos 🙂 Not a bad problem to have. Of course a string of rainy days might cure that, but for now, I am going to group this set taken at the same location on the same outing: I rode my trike out to Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains near home here in Maine, to see how spring was coming along. We have the Plains landscape on the way into the pond at 24mm equivalent (all with the Sony Rx10iv, this one with HDR, and the rest with my birds and wildlife modifications to Program), a Northern Water Snake (one of the largest I have ever seen) at 465mm, Dogwood in bloom against a stand of white birch at 24mm, two Painted Turtles sharing what appears to be a tender moment (but probably was not really) at 600mm, and Eastern Pine Elfin at 600mm and about 3 feet (this is a tiny butterfly, about 1/2 inch across). In leaner times I might have stretched this out over 5 posts, as each shot has an interest of its own. (I did already post the Elfin to some of the Butterfly groups on Facebook, but it belongs here too, in the context of the the visit to Day Brook Pond.)
Just for fun. I always take a short burst of photos at about 4 frames per second…just to make sure I get the shot. I saw this happen through the viewfinder, but did not know if I actually got it until I got the sequence up on the tablet at home. 🙂 The turtle, a smallish Painted Turtle, was sunning itself high above the water (high for a turtle) in Day Brook Pond. The turtles at Day Brook are among the most skittish I know of, perhaps because so many people take their dogs there to swim, so I was surprised when this turtle did not immediately dive off and back into the water when I approached. I am, of course, happy that it did not. (The Dragonfly, though not quite in focus, appears to the a Chalk-fronted Corporal.) Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
It has been in the 50s the past few days, and sunny, which has brought the Painted Turtles at Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area out in force. I saw a dozen or more, of all sizes, sunning themselves on the half-submerged White Birch trunks along the edge of the pond, and I am sure I did not see them all. They seemed to like to pile up on each other. I am not sure why. Maybe that gave the smaller turtles a better view.
Nikon P900 at 1400mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 140 @ f6.3. Processed in Lightroom.
The Everglades is such a rich ecosystem, in part, because so many of what would normally be considered separate habitats in their own right, mix and mingle in the Everglades. I an not certain how common a sight this is in South Florida, but we found both of the Florida Cooters (Turtles) sunning off the boardwalk on the Anhinga Trail at Royal Palms Visitor Center in Everglades National Park. And two of almost exactly the same size at that. 🙂 It is easy to figure out which is which. The Peninsula Cooter, or Yellow-bellied Turtle as it sometimes called, is the first frame and on the right in the group shot, and the Florida Cooter, sometimes called the Red-bellied Turtle, is the last frame and on the left in the group shot. You might assume, going by the pattern on the head, that these turtles are closely related, but, aside from obvious color differences, you might note that the front legs are distinctly different (different enough to me to imply very different behavior between the two species), and a practiced eye can see the difference in shell shape, which is distinctive. Not that I knew all of that when I started writing here. Besides color, the only difference I had observed before this morning was the front legs, which I did observe in the field.
We saw at least two other turtle species in the Everglades: a large Florida Mud Turtle, and a couple of big specimens the Florida Soft-shelled Turtle.
Sony HX400V. Processed in Lightroom and assembled in Fotor on the Surface Pro tablet.
I was returning from a fruitless dragonfly prowl down by the mouth of the Mousam River over the weekend, and came upon this fine lady. She had just finished digging a nest, and was laying her eggs. She was only 3 feet from a fairly busy strip of blacktop, between the edge of the road, and a fancy iron fence that keeps the public out of one the larger estates in Kennebunk (last owned by one of the young stars of a recently very popular TV show). They have a large ornamental pond, with a rustic bridge, daffodil banks, manicured white birch trees, etc. She, hopefully, made the pond her home (since otherwise she was on the wrong side of the road from the nearest water…not an issue for her maybe…but a definite hazard to her hatchlings, when and if.)
I mean, this is one tough old lady Snapping Turtle.
Such character! Such power. Such a lady.
Canon SX50HS. My usual modifications to straight Program. 1) 425mm equivalent field of view. f5.6 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 800. 2) 2400mm equivalent. f6.5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 800. Processed in Lightroom.
It is not all warblers all the time, or even all birds all the time, at Magee Marsh and the Biggest Week in American Birding. I found these two turtles along the large canal by the eastern section of the boardwalk. We have a rare (relatively) Blanding’s Turtle and a super abundant Painted Turtle sharing the same perch.
Blanding’s is listed as endangered by ICUN Red List, and has threatened status in a number of states and all of Canada. Unless I am much mistaken this is my second sighting of this individual. The pattern of moss on its shell is quite distinctive. The first time, 3 days go, it was crossing under the boardwalk most of a mile from this log.
Canon SX50HS. Program with iContrast and Auto Shadow Control. -1/3EV exposure compensation. 1200mm equivalent field of view. f6.5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 640. Processed in Lightroom for intensity, clarity, and sharpness.