Thursday, April 19, 2012

The turtles are up in the Schuylkill. I went for a ride before work on Monday morning and kept stopping to peer through the line of trees along the river. That bump on a log? Nope, just a bump. That one? Yep, a turtle.
I figure most of the turtles I saw were the introduced and likely invasive red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta); I noted the red ear stripes on a couple, and they're the default turtle these days in the river as it runs through Philadelphia. A couple might have been the native red-bellied turtles (Pseudemys rubriventris); these had visibly orange plastrons (bottom shells). Here they are in a camera photo so bad I nearly didn't post it (and that's saying something for me).

I'll be observing as the temperatures, particularly the water temperatures, warm up. Although the spring has been entirely too dry so far (I garden too), and I am hoping for more rain than this, I am also hoping that we stop short of last summer's series of deluges that kept our local rivers too high and turbid for turtle snorkeling. This summer I'd like to catch some of those Schuylkill River sliders, and maybe some of the more-elusive Schuylkill River map turtles (Graptemys geographica).

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