Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happy #WorldTurtleDay! #phenology

where the turtle was before it crossed the road
where the turtle was before it crossed the road
Photo by J. Harrington

I have no idea whether high water in local ponds may, or may not, help our turtle population as they come and go on their procreational travels during nesting season. Less bank to climb but possibly some areas where otherwise eggs might be laid are water-covered? One of the painted turtles in the pond up the road was crossing this morning and posed nicely for a portrait. In return, I helped her(?) (I assume) safely across the gravel to the roadside she was headed for. I would have done that even if today weren't World Turtle Day. Does anyone tell the turtles it's their day?

portrait of a painted turtle
portrait of a painted turtle
Photo by J. Harrington

It's now less than a week until Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the Summer season. Local streams are running more than bankfull and more rain is in the forecast. High water conditions are not what I find conducive to the kind of fly-fishing for trout that I most enjoy. I'd truly like to see more sunshine and less rain in our weather pattern. (In looking up the linked reference, I learned that "Colder water has an increased capacity to carry sediment." If I ever knew that, I've forgotten. It seems just the opposite of warm air carrying more moisture, doesn't it? Water is strangely wonderful and wonderfully strange.)

male scarlet tanager at grape jelly feeder
male scarlet tanager at grape jelly feeder
Photo by J. Harrington

My specific mention of weather is because yesterday, after I had complained about not seeing tanagers and orioles, a male scarlet tanager landed at the grape feeder. Now I'm testing to see if I can induce Mother Nature to provide for dropping water levels (but not too much) so that local streams approach normal Summer flows. Then I'll spend less time at a keyboard and more with a fly rod in my hands. It might do wonders for my growing curmudgeonliness, those around me hope.

Finally, for now, this morning I noticed the neighbor's semi-feral cat lurking around the front bird feeder. Unlike the dogs, the cat seemed totally unimpressed by any residual scent of bear around that feeder. If the bear, or the dogs, don't raise enough anxiety for the cat to seek other hunting territory, I'll shut down the front feeder for at least a while. Who knew feeding birds could attract such a full scale menagerie?

The Adventures of a Turtle


By Russell Edson


The turtle carries his house on his back. He is both the house and the person of that house.
         But actually, under the shell is a little room where the true turtle, wearing long underwear, sits at a little table. At one end of the room a series of levers sticks out of slots in the floor, like the controls of a steam shovel. It is with these that the turtle controls the legs of his house.
         Most of the time the turtle sits under the sloping ceiling of his turtle room reading catalogues at the little table where a candle burns. He leans on one elbow, and then the other. He crosses one leg, and then the other. Finally he yawns and buries his head in his arms and sleeps.
         If he feels a child picking up his house he quickly douses the candle and runs to the control levers and activates the legs of his house and tries to escape.
         If he cannot escape he retracts the legs and withdraws the so-called head and waits. He knows that children are careless, and that there will come a time when he will be free to move his house to some secluded place, where he will relight his candle, take out his catalogues and read until at last he yawns. Then he’ll bury his head in his arms and sleep....That is, until another child picks up his house....


********************************************
Thanks for visiting. Come again when you can.
Please be kind to each other while you can.