Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It Takes Patience to Photograph a Turtle.....

.... but, surprisingly, they can get up quite a head of steam!

Behind our house is a half acre hill that is nothing but thick green grass. Usually I see crows, squirrels or the occasional rabbit out there. Yesterday morning, though, the crows were showing curiosity about a brown lump. At first I couldn't tell what the lump was, but was afraid it might have been a dead critter. The crows weren't picking at it and soon lost interest. I grabbed my camera and used the zoom as a spyglass and discovered this ambitious mud turtle.

This is quite a steep uphill climb, but by the time I set down my nice hot cup of coffee and went down the steps from the deck the little guy was nowhere to be seen. How far can a mud turtle go in just a couple of minutes?
Soon I spotted him near the chain link fence that keeps our dogs from running off and other critters from getting in. Even mud turtles.
I went outside the fence to get better photos and "phlup!", in went head, feet and tail for protection.

Turtles don't come with periscopes, so he had to peek out every now and then to see if I was still there. I was. Patiently waiting.

But like every self-serving photographer I needed better light, so I picked him up and moved him over into the sunlight. He became a little more curious about the lens moving back and forth, so I did get a couple of good macros.

Well, considering I was running around the yard in my jammies, bath robe and slippers, plus I have snoopy neighbors, on top of soaking my slippers in the morning dew, I went back inside the fence to let him go on his way. But he didn't go away. He was back at the fence trying to get in.
He would get his head and legs through, but, of course, not his shell. I couldn't hear it tap against the metal. Not being one to give up easily, he slowly moved over to the next opening and tried again.
Tenaciously, he tried four openings before giving up and sauntering away.
Head held high, he continued his journey.
By the time I went back up to the deck he was out of sight! My guess is he was scooting along the retaining wall toward the front yard.
This might not have been his first visit here. I found a mud turtle about the same size at my front door one day. So, maybe I'll see him again.

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