Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Turtle Season


(Red-eared sliders in Tennessee, Texas Gopher Tortoise, and Loggerhead Sea Turtle in North Carolina)
One of my favorite things about spring is turtles. Turtles! I've always loved them, all of them. I have little notes of when I was a wee child writing about "tretols." Growing up on a small lake, I'd find baby Red-eared Sliders in April and May all over the place. I'd see adults laying eggs and heading back to the lake. I'd go on daily missions (usually several times a day) to look for babies crossing the road and save them. I still do this when I'm home, obviously. I've saved hundreds and hundreds of turtles in the road. I saved my first one this year a couple days ago. So glad the little guy is safe now.
(baby Arizona Mud Turtle and Loggerhead Sea Turtle below)
Anyway. Turtles. I love all of them, even those badass snappers. I've found sliders covered in leeches and picked them off with tweezers for 3 straight hours. Gross. But it was obvious that she was thankful. I saw the look in her eye and I found her again a few days later, sunning herself. And she looked so much happier without the stupid leeches bothering her.
(Me with a Loggerhead who had just finished laying 84 eggs. She had been out of the water for more than 4 hours and started going the wrong way - not towards the ocean. I had to round up some people and help turn her around. Seeing her finally reach the ocean was a pretty cool experience. I had spent almost 5 hours with her at that point. Below is a Snapping Turtle I saw a couple weeks ago in Tennessee)
(Below: Texas Gopher Tortoise at Laguna Atascosa)
In 2005, I got to work with sea turtles (my spirit animal) on the Outer Banks. There were mainly Loggerheads, some Leatherbacks and Hawksbills too. This was my first field gig and I was hooked. I found nests and relocated them to safer places. I got to see the moms digging the nests and laying eggs. The word "amazing" is overused but this...this was pretty amazing stuff. I adore these animals.
(Loggerhead with her crawl above, below Red-eared Slider)
I could talk about my love of all things turtles and tortoises for days, but I'll keep it brief. They're awesome, they just can't help it. I get all giddy and goofy when I find turtles. I advice you to do the same. And help 'em across the road! One of the redeeming things about Mississippi is that there are a ton of different species of turtles. I gotta snap up my identification skills! Weekend Reflections Watery Wednesday Outdoor Wednesday Nature Notes
(Below: Me with 2 unidentified turtles in Mississippi, Snapping Turtle in TN and a 3-legged Slider in TN)

60 comments:

Cecilia Artista said...

Wow - beautiful, beautiful turtles. I understand that you love them! Thank´s for sharing the pictures of them!

texwisgirl said...

We've got the red-eared sliders and the snappers here - I was just telling my dogs today that it was almost turtle egg-laying season (when I have to go on alert to the dogs catching them along the fence lines!)

You've got some lovely photos of all different kinds!

Phil said...

Great story and information Jill anmd you obviously love those turtles. I can see why, wonderful creatures indeed.

Woody said...

You are really passionate and you make the world a better place!! I can just imagine you rounding up people to get that massive mom pointed in the right direction.

Your photos are fantastic! You might like this one:

http://2zars.com/photoblog/2010/07/are-you-at-turtle/


I was at a local preserve Sunday and photographed a wood turtle that I'll likely post on 14-mar. It's covered in mud, but hey, that's what turtles do!

J Bar said...

Wonderful snaps.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Pagan Sphinx said...

These are fantastic! Double wow! We kept a re-eared slider as a pet for five years. The poor thing never looked happy, no matter what we tried. She grew large and finally I found a home for her with a woman I worked with who had a huge water complex in her apartment for four other red-eared sliders! I was ecstatic! She took Shelby, our turtle and then told me about the first thing Shelby the Turtle did. She swam out to one of the sunning decks and climbed on to the shell of another turtle! :-)

Thanks for a really cool post!

ChrisJ said...

Interesting. I think I would like them if I saw many of them, but we don't seem to get enough water around here. Saw a really giant green turtle from the third deck of our cruise ship in November. He looked huge even from that height.

Dan said...

Great stories. Great photos. Great post.

Out on the prairie said...

Amazing shots, the sea turtles are real neat.I have found snappers out on the prairie and sometimes it is hard to figure where they are headed.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Love this, love them, great post Jill. I have all but gotten myself a ticket for stopping in the road to remove turtles, always moving them to the side of the road in which they are heading. I have had pet turtles of one kind or another most of my life. I have one right now, that I gathered up as a hatchling. All of the rest of the group got eaten up by one lonely hungry coon and I could not stand leaving this last one for him to take too. Brook Ivy is still hibernating and once a wee bit larger, she shall be released where I gathered her up~

ρομπερτ said...

How fragile they look. May time and life continue to treat you all kind. Please have a good Wednesday.


daily athens

Lesley said...

turtles are such great prehistoric looking things. I envy you being able to see so many different ones in their natural (and not so natural, i.e. road) habitats.

Light and Voices said...

Turtles are fascinating! Thanks for the photographs and the information. Happy Outdoor Wednesday!
Joyce M

Barb said...

All the turtle photos are special but that first with the reflection is outstanding. I love the little baby turtle. The look in the snapper's eye is really comical.

Sandy said...

I have such wonderful stories of Turtles.. Also my bumper sticker says "Sea Turtles Dig in the Dark".. to keep the lights off on the beaches during egg laying season! I live on the South Gulf Coast of Florida Beaches and they are special.
Wonderful Post!
Sandy

Infatuated with Homes and Gardens said...

Thanks for sharing this reminds of when I was a child and would find them in front of our house, I always wanted my father to drill a hole in the shell so i could keep it chained, I am so glad that he made me put them back in the creek now:)

Marka said...

Awesome collection of photographs! Your passion for turtles & tortoises shines through. And thanks for the reminder to keep an eye out for them now that Spring is rapidly approaching. Cheers!

Donnie said...

That was some really neat turtle photos. Great post.

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That post put a big smile on my face. I just wanted you to know.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Wow what great pictures. Love the turtles.

Jocelyn
http://justalittlesouthernhospitality.blogspot.com

Southerncook said...

What an amazing Outdoor Wednesday post. We value our Sea Turtles here in our area of N FL as well.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

gengen said...

Oh they are cute one. Happy WW!

Stewart M said...

What splendid animals - I always like the "train tracks" they leave in the sand - well I like pictures of them. Will have to add them to my "to see in ral life" list!

Cheers Stewart M - Australia

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

I've had the pleasure and great opportunity to witness release of 100s of hatchlings on the national seashore here where I live. It's a phenomenal experience!!

Loved your turtle photos.

My watery link: LAKESIDE FOG

Mary @ Framed and Tagged said...

Great photos and what a great thing to do!! I am glad that you can do what you love and make this world a better place.

Have a wonderful day!

Regina said...

So cute. Love these.
Amazing captures and outdoor Jill.
Thank you for sharing.

Regina

Regina said...

So cute. Love these.
Amazing captures and outdoor Jill.
Thank you for sharing.

Regina

elvira pajarola said...

SUBLIMESUPERFANTASTICTURTLES...!!!

Incredibly beautiful and soo sympatic animals....you took the PORTRAITS; the closeups just outstandingly magnificient!!!!!!

The giant one on the beach is fabulous....; how tender are they even......!!!!

Your turtlefriendship and passionate story is fascinating; I do understand you...: we have got the mediterranean ones in our land; they are funny also; beautiful and make part of our wildlife joys!!!!!!

Thanks Jill for this outstanding work!!!!

ciao ciao elvira

Moogie said...

Love this post! I'm your newest follower. http://moogieland.blogspot.com/

catsynth said...

Beautiful pictures of the turtles, and thanks for all the information. That one being held in the second photo doesn't look too happy, though ;)

Jedediah said...

That's an amazing variety of turtles. The baby is so adorable.

A piece of news said...

I'm really glad there are people like you in the world helping out animals while I sit behind a desk and wish I could do more. It isn't that I don't help, but you get to do more than most and it's fantastic!

Jane said...

Amazing photos...and great information. I can feel your passion for turtles...and nature...in your words.
Jane (artfully graced)

 gmirage said...

Tretols, so cute! lol. We love them too! My kids only get to see the small ones and from the pet shop :( Hopefully, we get the chance to see live ones and as many as you did...

Rambling Woods said...

I too love turtles since our pet tortoise 'Max'...I end saving baby snappers. LOL... What a honor to help a sea turtle. This weather has been so tough on them...Come on out and visit my big snapper here..I guess she needs a name like Scary Coopers Hawk..thanks for the good wishes..it has been a challenge.. Michelle

Carver said...

I love turtles too and have started looking out for them but haven't spotted any yet. I know last spring I saw quite a few at the lakes near me. Your photographs of these are fantastic.

Kate said...

Fascinating! I would love to see the turtles on the beach.

Kitty said...

Awesome, awesome stuff!! And such good work you're doing too - when I hear of people actively helping wildlife it gives my spirit such a lift. And aw! The little baby turtle! I have never actually seen turtles, I don't think - maybe once in a zoo. But they're enigmatic things, so old. As though they they have been struggling onto land for millenia, never noticing how the world has so changed about them.

Tracy F. said...

Awesome pictures! I've always thought turtles are such interesting creatures.

Míriam Luiza said...

Que coisa linda, espetacular, única! Lembrei de uma tartaruga que tínhamos quando eu era criança. Eu morava em chácara, e ela andava por tudo. Comia frutas e bebia muita água. Ela botava muitos ovos, e me lembro que comíamos, quer dizer, eu não, os outros. Você tirou lindas fotos, e me fez viajar ao meu passado.

MarieElizabeth said...

I just love baby turtles. I would be helping across the road too.

Arija said...

Jill, i can understand your love of them, there is something so prehistoric about them and a connectedness to all of time.

My first experience of one was in Tahiti with a huge one that one was encouraged to sit on. Unfortunately the photo got burned with the house but it is etched in my memory. Here on the farm, we have lots of small ones wandering among our 5 dams and winter creek. I love it when they cross my garden.

the turtle in your first shot is quite outstanding with it's pebble pattern legs.

Gaelyn said...

I'm Really glad you like turtles so much because you've shown us some Awesome photos of so many kinds. I did rescue a desert tortoise from the road once and used to catch small snappers as a kid in the Fox River. Have a friend helping with Loggerheads right now somewhere, sorry momentary lapse of where.

Irene said...

Amazing shots! Just love them!

Wren said...

No accounting for love, is there? I like turtles, but you've given me a new appreciation for them. Between this post and Nina's on salamanders, I may be inspired to bundle up and see what's out in the wetlands despite the snow.

All the photos are great, but that gopher turtle is my favorite.

NatureFootstep said...

Interresting post Jill. I had to look twice at the first image to realise what it was. It was the calm water mirroring it all that confused me. The small ones are cute, the old ones gives me a feeling of respect. :)

KaHolly said...

Jill, this was a most delightful post!! I stick pretty close to the ocean and am loving my extended visit here in TX in regards to the turtles. They are everywhere, and you are so right, they are 'way cool'!! ~karen

Inger-M said...

I love this post, turtles are such exotic animals to us, they don't live in our cold climate.

Nefertiti said...

tres jolie photo et merci pour les explications

bon w end

Sylvia K said...

I love turtles!! And these are so beautiful! What terrific captures as always, Jill! Hope all of you have a great weekend!!!

Sylvia

Pat Tillett said...

Great photos! It's a great thing you do for those turtles. I'm sure are building up major karma points for doing so...

MyMaracas said...

What an engaging post! Great photos, and your passion for these magical creatures comes shining through.

We have a pond and wetland woods where painted turtles, box turtles and snappers are plentiful. I do stop the car when I see them on the road, get out, and move them to safety. Well, the paints and boxers anyway. I enjoy having ten fingers, so the snappers are on their own. ;-)

James said...

These photos are so cool! My favorites are the top one and the one with the slide marks in the sand. :)

Meri said...

Beautiful reflection shot, but beautiful spirit following her passion, more to the point.

Kay L. Davies said...

It must be so satisfying to help turtles and tortoises. The photos are wonderful, and you look so happy to be with your spirit animal. A beautiful post. Thanks!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Nature Rambles said...

Love your photos! Thanks for posting these delightful pictures!!

Sally in WA said...

I really enjoyed your post and pictures, Jill. Like you, we always stop and "help" a turtle get to the other side of the road.

Janie said...

You haven't changed a bit since your childhood. Once an animal lover, always one.
BTW, I'm very fond of turtles, too.

Shydub said...

oh boy that is huge, and i want one of that. i want to see a turtle that big

My Watery Wednesday

Snowcatcher said...

I have so enjoyed poking around your galleries and your blog, reading about the charmed life you lead, drooling with envy because I wish I could spend that kind of time in the wild and with wildlife. Your photography is awe-inspiring!