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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Missing turtles

Yesterday I mentioned that I miss toads.  I miss turtles, too!  

While in New England, I hadn't realized how lucky I was to live in an area with such high turtle diversity where many species of turtles were relatively easy to find.

We would find Spotted Turtles sunning themselves in red maple swamps, assist Snapping Turtles trying to cross roads during nesting season, watch Eastern Box Turtles eating slugs in oak woodlands, and spot Diamondback Terrapins cruising salt marsh creeks.  Occasionally we might be lucky enough to see a Musk Turtle along the edges of a kettle pond or to happen upon a Wood Turtle near a sun-dappled stream.  (I also assisted with sea turtle strandings and necropsies on Cape Cod.)

Eastern Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta) are one of the most common turtles in New England.  We spotted a few basking in the sun while we were sailing and kayaking in southern New Hampshire this week.  Note their smooth shell and striking red and yellow markings.  You can also see their strong, broad hind feet (they're fast paddlers!).




I haven't seen many turtles since moving to California.  One day I was very excited to find a Western Pond Turtle on the side of the road near Salmon Creek just outside the town of Bodega.  I think I've also seen a few at the Chanslor Ranch pond visible from Highway 1.  Have you spotted turtles in other locations on or near Bodega Head?

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