Huntley adventure: Naughty turtles?

March 26, 2010

Thursday in Huntley Meadows Park was an interesting mix in terms of weather and wildlife, including a new one – snapping turtles.

When I arrived in the park, the skies were sunny and clear, but as time progressed the clouds began to roll in and a light rain descended on the scene. Both clouds and rain don’t bother me much when I’m shooting. In fact, I kind of prefer it that way. Soft light is great for photographs.

With several hours before the sun was to set, I took my time scanning the boardwalk area for signs of life. In the distance, I could hear frogs but was unable to locate them. About halfway across the path, I noticed movement and went in for a closer look. Here is some raw footage of the fish I saw. Can anyone explain this behavior?

Of course I spent time photographing the Red-winged Blackbirds. You might think I’d get sick of shooting the same species over and over, but something about their look and their call keeps them interesting to me (at least for now).

It wasn’t as easy to grab the frames of the blackbird this time, though, since they kept hopping down into the low reeds. With a little patience it worked out.

I spent the majority of my time waiting for something to happen on the far side of the trail, where a pair of geese were milling about near the boardwalk and I was able to make a few images that I liked. In Harrisonburg I had always had difficulty getting near geese, but in Alexandria they don’t seem to spook as easily.

As I gazed off into the water, I noticed a disturbance. As it moved, a hump emerged from the water. It took me a few seconds to realize I was looking at a turtle shell the size of a large dinner plate. Its head slowly rose out of the water and I began to document its journey. It moved smoothly around broken groups of cattails and eventually had a few displays to other turtles I initially interpreted as aggression.

Later, the sound of splashing brought my attention back to the turtle, and I noticed it wasn’t alone. I’m thinking I was wrong about that aggression. What do you think?

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2 Responses to “Huntley adventure: Naughty turtles?”

  1. Jim Turner Says:

    I’ll need to go check the Discovery Channel archives. I’ll get back to you.

  2. Rob Says:

    I think the explanation is all in this music video:


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