Spring Happenings and Aquatic Turtle Update

Top Photo: Upper surface of American snout.

Things happen very quickly in spring, flowers bloom and fade, plants shoot out new leaves, insects emerge, birds who’ve been absent half a year, reappear. Here’s some of those things and more of what has occurred over the past week.

Daffodils are early season flowers that last but briefly. Bees emerge with little on their agenda but food and reproduction. It’s time to get a new nest started.

Bumble bee is determined to extract all it can from fading daffodil.

Northern, or Dekay’s brown snakes, which can been seen throughout the winter, are more active in spring.

Dekay’s brown snake crossing path and getting photo’d in the process.

Butterfly weed (Asclepia tuberosa) gets ready for another season.

Shoots of butterfly weed in Catch the Wind.

Trilliums are spring ephemerals which are only seen during a brief period in early spring. They grow in the garden next to the Butterfly House.

Wake robin or red trillium.

Dragonfly nymphs who have spent the past few seasons in the water as aquatic insects, crawl out on land and seek out a vertical object to cling to in order to morph into adult dragonflies.

Dragonfly cast off skin, or exuvium, on wall in Explore the Wild.
The adult female dragonfly that emerged from the exuvium above.

Local birds and migrant stopovers are arriving from winter quarters. Swallows, catbirds, green herons, white-eyed vireos, and I’m told a scarlet tanager, among others were spotted on campus this past week.

Green herons are back.
Gray catbirds are singing from perches around campus.

And, as I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that turtles, painteds, musk, snappers, and sliders, who’ve been underground in nests dug by their mothers for the last six or seven months are now emerging. They can show up anywhere on campus, so keep alert.

As of this writing I’m aware of ten hatchling turtles (7 sliders and 3 painteds) found on the pathways of the museum. If ten is the number observed and reported, imagine how many of the little turtles go unreported or unseen.

We generally place them in the wetlands when we happen upon one of the little herps.

Just minutes from digging out of underground nest this yellow-bellied slider is getting an assist to wetlands.
Facilities Tech Daniel releases young slider into the water,

And, over in the deeper water among the established population of aquatic turtles, basking perches are at a premium.

Sometimes the turtles double-up when space is tight.

Things happen quickly in spring. Get outside as often as you can so you don’t miss a bit of it.

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