With daytime air temps reaching fifty-nine degrees on Wednesday (12/17), at least one of our resident turtles made it out for a little sunbathing. A male yellow-bellied slider was awakened by the intense sunshine of the day. The sun’s warm penetrating rays apparently reaching and warming the bottom of the pond sufficiently to stimulate the turtle into crawling out on a log and bask away the afternoon.
It’s in no way unusual to see a turtle out basking during winter, a few days in the fifties is all that’s needed to rouse one or two of the sleeping herps. The pond in our Wetlands is very shallow and the water warms quickly. A southerly flow of air, a bit of sunshine, and you’ve got basking turtles.
Over the past several weeks the numbers of hooded mergansers in the Wetlands has ranged from a dozen to two dozen. There were a few days, though, when ice-covered the water early in the day and there were no waterfowl present. Yesterday (12/17), quite to my surprise and delight, there more than 35 mergs swimming, fishing and resting in our willow lined wetland.
There’s apparently sufficient food in the Wetlands to keep the birds happy and enough space and shelter for peace of mind.
Will even more mergansers show up? I can’t answer that question, but I’ll be watching. I’m also going to be watching for other waterfowl mixed in with the mergs. Other birds, attracted by the crowd of mergansers, may decide to stop in to see what all the excitement’s about.
Will more turtles come out to bask? Unless we have an exceptionally cold winter, you can bet on there being more turtles out and about. Remember, a couple of days in the fifties with plenty of sunshine brings out the turtles.
I’ll see you in the Wetlands.