New Visitor to the Turtle Pond

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That’s not the real name but it is what we now call it since the first sighting of turtles last fall. Now this part of the Midwest is not really blessed with awesome natural scenery. We’re mostly flat and much of the land was cleared for corn and subdivisions but, as the quote above suggests, there is beauty to be found outdoors even in what seem like ordinary places.

One of the many things I love about spring is watching the world wake up. And walking through the same stretch of woods over a period of weeks is the perfect way to see this. You start with the grasses greening up and then the wildflowers and other things start to cover what used to be bare dirt. The shrubs and underbrush start to leaf out. The trees come to life at different times so almost every visit is different because of what is out and it changes the sun and shade patterns over time.

I’ve mentioned the birds before and some days you hear different calls. Some days it is the usual robins and cardinals.

And then there are the turtles.

Representative picture – photography isn’t my thing.

If photography was my thing, then this would be the perfect photo op. When you get the turtles lined up on a log with their reflection in the pond, it makes an ideal photo. We counted over 30 today in various spots around the pond. The air temp is still a bit chilly meaning the water likely hasn’t warmed up that much so they find whatever they can to climb out and sun themselves.

Why this is so fascinating is hard to explain. I mean the turtles are just doing what comes naturally to a turtle but it is still fun to scan the edges of the pond trying to see how many are around. Sometimes, you look away from one section for a bit and then look back and several have just popped up on the various logs. It is funny to us to see them climb on top of each other to try and share what is a limited amount of space on the various logs and downed trees.

It is hard to believe that this many turtles were just slowly moving around under the ice just a few short months ago when the pond was mostly frozen over. I know animals have ways to adjust but it in a lot of ways it is sort of magical.

I mentioned the new visitor. I don’t think he’s a new visitor but just not something we had seen before. While we were counting turtles, a large male bullfrog made an appearance. We heard him before we could see him but with the sun shining on the bright yellow underside, he was pretty easy to pick up.

Representative photo

He croaked a few more times but basically seemed content to sit in the sun in the shallows. Yes, another animals that has adaptations that allowed him to survive over the winter. I don’t know about the hibernation patterns of frogs and whether he just waited longer than the turtles to wake up but this is the first time we’ve heard him. Not sure if he’ll make an appearance on every walk but we’ll be watching for him.

We ran into another couple who was fishing off our turtle observation deck. Just kidding. It is really more for people to fish but it is the best place to get a view of the entire pond. I think they were new to the place because she talked about how great it was. Yes, even an introvert like me can sometimes strike up conversations with random strangers in a park. Kind of have to do it here in the Midwest – especially on nice spring days. I mean we survive the winter for days like this.

So we set a new record for turtles and saw a bullfrog. It was a good day.

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