A Red-Bellied Turtle Wearing Algae

Thursday, September 12, 2013,

This is a female Red-bellied Turtle that I saw resting along the Lower Carmans River. Her carapace, (that’s upper shell to folks like you and me), appears to be covered with some sort of algae. I’m not sure if this is a lifestyle comment or a fashion statement. It’s not my place to judge. JK




Praying Mantis During The Bird Walk

Thursday, September 15, 2011,

The Four Harbors chapter of the Audubon Society had our monthly walk at Avalon this past Saturday morning. We meet every second Saturday at the Duck Pond at Stony Brook. If you’ve never been to Avalon, this makes for a great free tour. You don’t need to know Jack about birds to join us but you may come away with an education. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt. Much.

And you won’t just learn about birds, either. Many of our regular walkers are very knowledgeable about plants as well as a myriad of other subjects. I’ve got lousy hearing but I’m always trying to eavesdrop on conversations to learn little tidbits. I’ve been playing in the woods since I was five and I used to think I knew a lot about our local wildlife but I learn more and more at each of these walks. It’s great. A good deal of this kind of information is not easily found in books or even online. Plus, it’s a very enjoyable way to spend a morning.

Oh yeah. About the Mantis. That’s what this post is about, right? Well, despite the previous paragraph, I had to consult books and online resources. And I managed to learn something. Maybe it’s new to you too. This is a Chinese Mantis. The size alone – this one was at least 3.5 inches long – tells us this. These guys are an introduced species from, yes, China.  Since their debut in 1895 these guys have become fairly common in the northeast. They were brought here as a form of pest control and there is no doubt that they are very capable predators. There is even documentation of of hummingbirds being taken by these critters. That’s impressive. Not pretty, but impressive. JK.