Turtle, Times Two

 

Late on Christmas afternoon, two turtles had trundled up this tiny snag to enjoy the sunshine and the gift of an especially warm day.

Cold-blooded, turtles control their body temperature by basking in the sun to absorb warmth and UV rays. Heat is radiated to their bodies from their shells, but they often will stretch out their legs to collect additional heat. In the photo below, you can see how far their legs are extended, and how they’ve widened their feet to increase the surface area even more.

I usually see turtles lying prone on logs, but these seemed comfortable at about a 60 degree angle. It’s clearly a favored spot. I’ve seen this pair of what I presume to be red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans) on the same snag three different times, but this is the first time I’ve caught their reflection in the water.

 

Comments always are welcome.

May Babies

Female black-bellied whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) and ducklings

The first time I noticed this mother duck, she was resting on a bank at the Lafitte’s Cove pond on Galveston Island with all seven of her ducklings tucked beneath her wings.

After a time, as she led them to the water for a swim, the father arrived to stand guard while they splashed, chased one another, and fed on the greens just under the surface of the water.

I found it hard to photograph the active ducklings in a single group because of their constant scattering and diving, but even a single duckling makes a worthy subject, especially when it seems to have crowned itself Queen (or perhaps King) of the May.

 

Comments always are welcome.