Monday, July 8, 2013

Old dock or snapping turtles?

My paddle partner said, "I need to take a break ashore somewhere. Oh look. There's an old dock over there. Maybe I can climb out."

Me: "OK, I'll wait out here in the middle of the creek!"

Paddle partner: "Come over here with your camera! It's not an old dock. Look! It's a bunch of snapping turtles on a fallen log!"

Oh joy. Do I have to? There's a little current in the creek pushing me one way, and the wind is blowing 25 km/hr with 40 km/hr wind gusts pushing me the other way, and all I've got is a little hand-held snap'n'shoot camera with only a 3X zoom, and you want me to get a picture of this without scaring them all off the log if I get too close!

I did this for you turtle loving friends and almost lost my paddle.
Snapping turtles on fallen log, Lyndhurst Creek, Lower Beverley Lake, Delta, Ontario, Canada
My quick drift and shoot plan worked out, and the turtles stayed on the log while I cursed that I don't yet have a GoPro camera, and that I forgot my paddle leash on such a windy day. 

The pictures turned out fairly well for all the trouble they were to get. I've never seen this many snapping turtles in one place before. 

And notice the hierarchy for the best real estate. The bigger turtles are on the bigger end of the log with the best sun. Turtle size diminishes as the log narrows and disappears into the marsh grasses with less sun.

Depending on the image and the angle of the photos, I count 35 to 40 turtles. You can click on an image to enlarge it. The images are scaled down from the originals. 
Lyndhurst Creek, Lower Beverley Lake, Delta, Ontario, Canada
And the turtle stories continue. 

People keep making me stop and look at snapping turtles. I never notice them, or seem to care if I do, but they keep showing up and catching my attention one way or another.

I recently passed by a large female snapper laying her eggs and burying them next to a bike path route near a river where I was cycling. I cycled right past her, and someone said, "Hey, look . . . !"
Snapping turtle laying eggs, bike path, Moira River, Belleville, Ontario, Canada
I've got more pictures and a short video of this snapper laying her eggs in early June, and a cycling story of the bike route along the Moira River in Belleville, Ontario that I'll publish later.
One of my most popular BaffinPaddler posts is Turtles! People are interested in seeing snapping turtles and learning more about them. So, all this turtle stuff is for you. 

And, if you are a paddler, a swimmer, or a fisherman spending time in the same waters and shorelines as snappers, it's good to be aware, as they can get very big, and can deliver a nasty bite if surprised or bothered. They also like to steal your bait or small catch.
I keep learning more about snapping turtles, and I keep thinking, "There are a hell-of-a-lotta snapping turtles out there in rivers, creeks, and lakes. This turtle probably just laid about 50 eggs!" 

Happy trails!
The BaffinPaddler

1 comment: