Thursday, April 19, 2012

Uh Oh! That Didn't Sound Right!

I'll wait till the end to share the bad news...

UPDATE: A colleague at work here (thanks John!) corrected me on my turtle identification.  The two turtles I thought were Painters are actually Red-eared Sliders.  They are not native to Southern Ontario but likely pet releases.  They don't make it through the winters here, so will likely not be around next spring. Unless we get an even crazier winter than the past one!  So replace Painter with Slider when you read the post. :)

I went out today for a short lunch break to Bayfront Park and was enjoying a rather bold Painted Turtle. They are usually quite quick to relinquish the warm sun for the cover of the cool water when anyone approaches. Its fellow sunbathers were more typical, splashing into the water as I approached closer than my initial picture or two.

Painted Turtles sunning,
maybe a Northern Map Turtle?
I didn't realize this until looking at the pictures tonight... In the picture above, the middle turtle has a somewhat "serrated" edge along the back.  The focus is on the front turtle, so hard to really see the pattern on the shell.  Also, the shell doesn't have the "brim" effect the other two Painters do. Might be a Northern Map Turtle?  They are threatened species in Ontario.  Any professional opinions?

The brave one, or the foolish one?

Coming in for a look.

Man, this shell is heavy!

The segue into the next topic is the turtle in the bottom of the picture below.  With the distance, the harsh noon day light, and my lack of knowledge of turtles, I could not tell what kind it was.  It didn't look like a painted turtle to me.  A smaller snapper?  Seemed a strange place to be, and I wonder if it was hanging out there, hoping for an opportune moment for a meal?  Again, anyone know if this is possible?

So, the Mute Swan pair is back by the gazebo in the boat launch bay at the park.  They've made a larger, taller nest just a little north of their last year's site.  Though I wonder, maybe the other nest started out the same size - I only started visiting not long before the goslings hatched.  I wonder if the nest slowly settles as the lower reeds get water logged and lose their buoyancy.  

Mute Swan incubating eggs with a
turtle on the nest edge.

I was told by others there that there are 12 eggs this year which would be a very large clutch.  Last year there were 9 which was also larger than the average 6. I'll see if I can get an actual count soon.

Now the bad news...
You know that great sound and feel of camera shutter action? There is something about that feel and sound that is satisfying.  Well, during a series of quick shots while the turtle was climbing out of the water, (not that they move that quickly) the reassuring click was not the same - it was short and incomplete.  Next, the camera shut off with no warning.  My first thought was that it did not sound right, and second hope was, did the battery die so suddenly that the camera couldn't put out it's usual warning?  I was hoping, but my gut told me no.

'Twas not to be.  Back at the office confirmed the shutter was stuck shut.  I dropped it off at the camera shop tonight to be shipped to Sony for repair, still under warranty thankfully.  It will be 4-6 weeks, or longer if parts aren't available.  Hmm.... Bald Eagles just hatched, Sandhill Cranes nesting, who knows what else during the exciting spring months?

Of course, life does not end, and I should probably put this freed up time towards spring yard cleanup, lots of Church work on the to do list, etc, etc.  Priorities right?  Although I enjoy this hobby, it's telling to see how one reacts when the things we find joy in are removed (although I realize this is just temporary).  Brings back to mind my post about hobbies where I was challenging myself previously.  I'll have to think on whether I followed through on some of my plans there!

I do have more Sandhill Crane pictures to post, so those will come sometime soon.  Till then, I'll have to be content to enjoy seeing things without a camera in between the creature and me.  Maybe that's not a bad thing.  But I'll be anxious for the camera back.


  1. Thankfully you are still covered by warranty. I am often amazed by how much time others have to devote to birding...if I didn't have so many other obligations, I would love to devote more time to it myself :)

  2. Brian, that really sucks that your camera broke, just as the peak of migration is about to set in. My Canon 40D had a similar failure (slr mirror hinge), just 45 minutes after arriving on Sanibel Island Florida in March of 2011. I like the approach you have taken to look at the positive side, its one less distraction while being out there and appreciating nature. -DM


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