A musky herp and some avian arrivals

A very small Common Musk Turtle (10/11/11).
A Stinkpot heading back to the water of the Wetlands. She probably just deposited anywhere from 2 – 8 eggs in the vegetational debris next to the swampy area between the Black Bear Exhibit and the Wetlands (5/28/11).

The thumbnail sized Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), or Stinkpot, in the photo above was walking up the middle of the path in Explore the Wild. The light markings on the marginal scutes of its carapace and face identify it as a musk turtle. To get a feel for its size, the willow leaf next to the turtle is less than a centimeter across at its widest (7 or 8 mm).

I saw several adults of these bottom-walking, tree-climbing aquatic turtles out and about during the latter part of May, presumably out laying eggs. Our little friend above is most likely the result of one of those springtimeĀ terrestrial treks.

In the bird news, three wood ducks flew over the Wetlands on Friday (10/7). What I assume were the same three actually came in to land on the water the following day. The ducks promptly swam into the willows and were not seen again the rest of the day.

The first of the season Winter Wren and Northern Flicker were seen on Tuesday (10/11).

5 responses to A musky herp and some avian arrivals

  1. Ashlyn says:

    Makes sense! Keep up the good work and keep those eyes open:)

  2. Ashlyn says:

    Greg, if it was that small, how on earth do you find these things???

    • Greg Dodge says:

      I don’t know, I just happened to see it. I probably miss many, many things in the course of a day.
      Glad I saw this miniature stinkpot though because it could have easily been mistaken for a small stone and kicked to the side, or worse.
      To be more specific about answering your question though, when you spend so much time looking at the same thing day after day, like the path around Explore the Wild, any new object that enters into that environment that wasn’t there the last time that you looked, sticks out, becomes obvious to you, even a tiny pebble, or turtle, in this case.

    • Greg Dodge says:

      You should’ve seen the little stinker in person. Talk about cute!!

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