Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pic of the Day

Blanding's Turtle, Magee Marsh
A local name for the Blanding's Turtle is the "yellow-neck" turtle
     Blanding’s Turtle – Magee Marsh, Ohio:  Standing on the boardwalk at Magee Marsh a woman approaches me and says, “did you see the Blanding’s Turtle?”  Instead of saying, What’s a Blanding’s Turtle (because I had no idea what a Blanding's turtle was), I said no, where is it.  “Just after you get on the boardwalk, on the left.  It’s the turtle with the yellow neck.  It is very rare, it’s only found here in these ponds,” she said. 
     So, I had to see this turtle.  I made my way back to where the boardwalk started, and the turtle was just where she said it would be.  It was easy to locate.  The bright yellow underside of the neck and head lit up like a beacon in the dark.  I shot some images, but there were too many branches in the way, and the turtle was quite far out in the pond.
     With a little research I discovered that the Blanding’s is an endangered species and is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, but it is not as rare as the lady had indicated.  It’s range centers on the Great Lakes and stretches from central Nebraska and Minnesota eastward through southern Ontario and the southern shore of Lake Erie eastward to northern New York state. 
     Blanding’s Turtles reach upward to 9 inches wide and 10 inches long.  This turtle was about as big as they get.  They live up to eighty years and do not reach breeding age until they are 14-20 years old.
     Everyday I walked the boardwalk, I looked for the Blanding’s turtle.  While I never got the image I wanted, I did get a few record shots.  The ones posted here are quite cropped.  Maybe next year I’ll get a better one.

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