Winter frogs, and a Strange Turtle Encounter

Frogs persist in the swamp across from the Wetlands Overlook. On warm days, especially when the sun warms the shallow water of the swamp in late morning to early afternoon, frogs begin to move about in the water. I’ve not actually seen one of these frogs, that is, before one of the resident Red-shouldered Hawks, who patiently wait for them to stir pounces on them from above. Even then, it’s usually a quick glimpse as the hawk adjusts its grip on the frog for the flight to a higher perch to eat the unfortunate amphibian. The last frog I saw hanging from the hawk’s talons appeared to be a Bullfrog.

As cold as it was on the morning of January 14th (high 20s), I saw another slighly larger, and a bit more wary, Red-shouldered Hawk eating a frog, this time in front of the Lemur House. Where and why are these frogs out and about in such cold weather? The hawks apparently know where and how to find them.

The same morning (January 14), a large Yellow-bellied Turtle sat motionless on the muddy bottom of the Wetlands, in approximately 18 inches of water. There was a thin layer of ice on the water. I was sure that the turtle was dead: its head was hung down to one side and resting on the bottom, it didn’t move, it was under the ice. It was still in the same position two hours later. When I checked several hours after that, it was gone. The creatures of the Wetlands are a constant source of amazement, and education! I learn something every day.

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