Snapping Turtles in Love

Wednesday, May 8, 2019,

These are two photos of a pair of Common Snapping Turtles mating, The female is only apparent in the top pic but, trust me, she’s present in both photographs. I’ve seen this at least four times before but every other time that I’ve witnessed this, I was in a kayak. This is my first “by land” sighting.

This occurred at Frank Melville Park in Setauket while I was waiting and hoping to find Green Herons nesting at the park. To answer your immediate question, yes, it does appear that the Green Herons are nesting here for at least the fourth year in a row. These Snapping Turtles are merely a bonus but, oh!, what a bonus. It’s not every day that you come across something like this. As this was going on – and it went on for at least thirty minutes – I was calling people over, not just fellow photographers, but folks with dogs and Moms and Dads with kids in tow. Everyone seemed to enjoy the show.

Despite appearances, this is a happy turtle. Now, as a matter of size and strength, his head is about the same size a grown man’s fist. Check out the size of his foreleg. That is mostly muscle. Imagine just how strong this guy is. And now, think about this: Snapping Turtles are the largest turtles in this and every other freshwater pond on Long Island, but this guy and his girlfriend are not the biggest Snapping Turtles at Frank Melville Park. Not by a long-shot. There are at least two much larger Snappers at the park and if you’re ever lucky enough to see them, they will take your breath away.  JK

Big and Ugly

Thursday, May 25, 2017,


Really big. Really, really big. And really, really ugly. But check out that eye. That eye is magnificent. Click on the image for a larger view. This is a Common Snapping Turtle that I caught a glimpse of at Frank Melville Park in Setauket. She’s so ugly that she’s downright beautiful. Beauty is everywhere, even where you can’t see it. JK

The Creature From The Green Lagoon

Thursday, October 31, 2013,

Happy Halloween all. This seems as likely a time to post these pics as any. I got these shots near the start of the month at Avalon. Both of these photographs are lucky captures. I mean that. I visit Avalon on a regular basis but I’m usually a very early bird. Most times, I’m already wrapping things up by 9AM. It’s a quality of light sort of thing.  But I was being interviewed by Sue Wahlert, a reporter for the Times Beacon Record Newspapers and I was out later than usual. The folks at the Times Beacon thought I’d make for a decent human interest story of sorts. I had a camera with me despite thinking I really wouldn’t need it aside from being a prop. Since I was being interviewed (and photographed) for being a photographer, I figured that having a camera with me would be a plus. So there I am, pretending that I’m taking photographs of the local wildlife which was represented primarily by Mallards when this Common Snapping Turtle made its appearance. I was actually taking pictures (hey, I’m a method actor) when this monster came out of seemingly nowhere, rearing its head from the duckweed as went past us. And then it opened its mouth, but without any apparent threat. It swam past a pair of resting ducks without raising any alarms despite its open maw before disappearing beneath the little bridge. This was a pretty amazing thing to see. Trust me on this. I cannot and will not claim to be a Snapping Turtle expert but I have seen more of these beauties in the wild than many other folks and finding one swimming around with its mouth wide open is a very rare and wonderful occurrence. Enjoy the holiday. JK