Sunday, May 31, 2009


There's only a couple more weeks of turtling. I spent a good chunk of sunday out and about. I found two super rare turtles, so that always makes it a good turtling day. The feisty one, pictured here, shows why it's hard to take notes, measure the turtle, and hold the turtle. Note the claws of the back legs digging into my fingers and the "ehn!" expression.

Here's an abandoned church that I often pass while turtling. It has a graveyard, which I'm sure is just as interesting. One day I'll have to come back to further investigate. Check out the large boulder blocking the basement entrance.
The dame's rocket is in full bloom. I always love watching the cycle of wildflowers and shrubs that go throughout the seasons. What I don't love is the cycle of annoying bugs. Today my head was constantly being orbited by some blackflies.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Small, smaller, and smallest

This extendo weekend I spent some time turtling. I ventured out to a couple sites, one of which is close to the homestead. Both turtling outings had less than ideal weather. It was way too hot in my book. That means the turtles would not be out basking, but rather hiding in the mud and water. The home site had previously resulted in a bunch of dead turtles. I was hopeful that my luck would be much better.

I spotted a small spotted turtlet within a few minutes of getting there. It was puttering along in the water but i managed to grab her. This site is mostly bottomless, so foot travel is slow and methodical.

This site has a bunch of fallen trees, which I use to shimmy along the deeper water areas. Balance beam was never my strong suit in gymnastics and the thought of bottomless pits on either side is enough to get my vertigo going. The smaller turtlet was spotted in one of those pools. I managed to grab her without taking a header into those pools.

The final spotted turtlet was found much later. It was just relaxing in the shade in a puddle surrounded by cattails. So I found my three turtles and headed back to the car. All and all it was a good day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

50% skill, 50% luck

The super rare turtle quest has turned out well this season. Most of my super rare turtle finds have been made under great duress. It's been at the end of the day when I'm tired, hungry, thirsty, feeling depressed/cursed, etc. A recent time I was out with two of my bosses and they were finding turtles left and right. They had a bunch of hatchlings and I was coming up empty-handed. Cue the internal cursing and damning! One boss found a turtle within a minute of coming into a site I had only ever found one turtle. It was my nemesis site. Then we hit one last site at the end of the day. I was running on fumesand ready to quit all super rare turtle searching for good. I think we've all been in that place before. Let's just say I was going to call this post "Frustration!" Then within 10 minutes at this final site I spotted a super rare turtle underwater. Jackpot! I searched another 30 minutes. Nothing. It was getting so warm I could tell my face was totally flushed. My water was dwindling and very warm. Yum! I'm turning back to head towards the car and I spot a super rare turtle partially hidden under the tussock curtain, as I call it. He appears to be standing motionless and all appendages are out. I grab him and realize that another turtle was below him. I think we all know what was going on here. I grab her and she's mad as hell. All appendages are flailing and he's completely pulled in and motionless. He could have been asleep for all I know. The happy or unhappy couple is pictured here. I think you can figure out who's the girl. That's my second two for the price of one this season. I seen to have the rated r turtle luck.
So in all, I believe that most things in life require 50 percent skill/knowledge and the other 50 percent is luck/karma/x factor. When I'm searching for turtles, it's that x factor of finding them. I always feel like I'm zigging when I should be zagging when I can't find them. What if I went to the left when I should have gone to the right! But that luck eventually has to change.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Trying to make lemonade

This week was mostly spent outside. My hand tan is unfortunately already in full effect . Most of the week was turtling. Things didn't go quite as I had hoped. The first two days were spent in allergy hell. I guess it was the location and having to kick up a lot of pollen by bushwacking the skunk cabbage. I was exhausted and had a non-stop sinus headache while outside. Thankfully I had a reprieve by the Wednesday, but I paid for it by falling on a rocky slope. I got a bruised ego and skinned knee out of it. Who knew that binoculars bounce? Apparently they do. Did I mention that I seem to be tick magnet this season? Yup that's still going. I just love pulling them out of my hair after I brushed and checked my head.

Even though the quest for the super rare turtle has been a tough go, I was able to find a less rare larger turtle. Of course, they are huge and pretty easy to spot. I'm just glad I didn't totally skunked (finding no turtles) as we say in the biz.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Just another weekend

Super rare turtle quest continues. Things have been slow considering the wacky weather we've had this spring. This weekend was gorgeous and I tried to take full advantage. I headed to the swamp to check on the spotted and painted turtles. The few turtles I did see were chowing down on the veg. No a single turtle was out basking. I saw this water snake who took extreme measures to find a spot to bask. It's hard to tell from this angle, but this guy was basking on top of a shrub with like a foot drop to the water. Don't move otherwise you'll fall in! Following the swamp visit, I tried to check out a new turtle site. Unfortunately it was along a brook that was completely flooded out from the extreme rain. So mission was aborted.

Then today I headed out to three sites that don't have many rare turtles, if any at all. I wasn't 100 percent sure I wanted to make the effort today, but then I got word that a co-worker found a super rare turtle there yesterday. So I immediately bolted out the door and scrambled there. I saw another co-worker had beaten me to the punch, but he didn't find any. He reluctantly left and thought I would find the turtle as soon as he left. I ended up spending a long time, but I came up empty handed. I headed to another site that I love, but it only has one lonely snapping turtle, which is the not the object of my search. I greeted snappy and went about my thing. Again, I came up empty handed. The third site I had never been to. I thought I had found the best place to park and walk in. I battled my in and went about my search. Nothing! On the drive out, I decided to do an immediate drive by and of course there was a fantastic place to park right next to it. Rats! Well there will be a next time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Tale from turtling

I've been out turtling as much as I permitting of course. The weather this spring has been whacky to say the least. We've had possibly record breaking heat followed by near freezing temperatures. It's now raining and cold and more of the same is predicted for most of the week. Not good turtling weather.

But given the hectic work schedule, I've had to make lemons out of lemonade. That's why we had to go out turtling at a very large site on the insanely hot day. We started out early to avoid the heat, but that didn't matter considering we had to spend about 3.5 hours out there. The vegetation was very dense shrubs peppered with swamp rose. I forgot my garden clippers so getting through was even more difficult. To add to the mess, every once in awhile you would stumble upon a bottomless open pit, which had to be carefully navigated. Boredom and exhaustion came early. No turtles were spotted. I did spot a couple water snakes and a newt....that was my excitement. To add insult to injury, dozens of ticks were continuously invading me. Each time I crashed through and even brushed up against a shrub, at least 5 ticks would hitch a ride on me. Of course, I was the only one in the group that had this problem. I did spray myself with bug spray, but since I didn't wear hip waders (opted for the lighter and cooler rubber knee boots...if you can call them that), I was the object of their affection. A few hours in I hear a co-worker yell to another "mumble mumble bear heading mumble mumble." I immediately jump out of my heat/boredom coma and come rushing towards the action. From what I learned is that all the skunk cabbage had been eaten in one area. I know exactly what that means....beartown. My co-worker then spotted a boulder and thought it was a good spot to rest on. Turns out the bear was resting on the other side! My co-worker did a silent and quick retreat and another co-worker unknowingly came upon the scene. Other co-worker made some noises and whistles and the bear took off.

So I am borrowing my hedge clippers from the family for the next visit....if that happens. If it does happen, you can all guess where I will be heading towards first. Don't worry, I won't be bringing it any snacks. I just want a peek....after all 3.5 hours is a long time for turtling.