Thursday, June 4, 2015

Terror in the backyard

The calendar is marking time for me these days rather than the clock. I realized it's almost been a month since I last posted. My camera has not sat gathering dust, however - I've done a little commercial work and family shots at birthdays and soccer games: those important moments in life. My work as treasurer for the dog rescue run by two of my daughters, with the help of many volunteers, has also taken much of my time (more info here.)

And then there are those surprises that almost catch you off-guard. I discovered that a new resident had made our pond home. I thought I had caught a glimpse of him some time earlier, but when I almost decapitated him with the lawn mower (rest assured, he survived the experience with nary a scratch) I was finally able to identify him - a snapping turtle !

I quickly ran to get a shovel and pail - I remembered being warned as a youngster never to try to handle one of these ornery creatures - they have rightly earned their reputation. This one was about 8" (20cm) across and was capable of inflicting a nasty bite. In deference to his ability and potential to snap, I used a zoom lens to capture his main weapon - a sharp beak.

I released him after a short while back onto the lawn and watched as he quickly (well, for a turtle) made his way to the water. A while later as I walked past the pond I noticed some old leaves stuck near the edge. Normally I would have removed them by hand but I picked up a stick that happened to lay nearby and reached to flick them out. As I poked the leaves, a head lunged out with lightning speed from beneath them and a beak snapped hold of the stick momentarily. I quickly realized that my fingers could have been the recipient of that attack. Lesson learned - no more fingers in the pond !

Despite his nastiness, even creatures like these play an important role in God's creation, helping keep things in balance. Otherwise I'm sure that our pond would be overrun by a plague of frogs.

[I apologize if I haven't returned a visit to your blog - I shall make every attempt to do that before my next post. Please know that I read and savour every comment]

the business end


Linda said...

Hi Rick,

It is so nice to see a post from you, and I absolutely love these photos!

biebkriebels said...

Very cute animals to look at.

Ruth Hiebert said...

That beak looks nasty. The use of a telephoto lens is a good choice.

Marleen said...

Well that was an unexpected surprise! Great photos.

Bas said...

prachtig maar denk erom dat hij scherpe kaken heeft.

Pamela Gordon said...

Great shots of this snapping turtle Rick. I've never seen one and I guess I'd best be wary around ponds or creeks. I'm glad you used a stick to remove the 'leaves'. :) Enjoy the weekend.

Stephanie said...

He looks cute! Nice to see you back posting again.

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

I am much more comfortable around poisonous snakes than snapping turtles (if that tells you anything).

Gunnar Hustad said...

Very nice pictures; I like your style of photo taking!

Amelia said...

Hi Rick, how you doin'? Love your terror by the backyard. :)) They sure look cute, as usual very impressive photos.

Keep up the good job in your blog and as a treasurer for the dog rescue, never mind if you post once a month or two but please don't MIA for good. Opppsss... but I'm also slow down in blogging. LOL But I try to post at least once a month to keep in touch will all my friends.

Beautiful header picture.
Have a great week ahead,regards.

Helma said...

Hoi Rick,
echt heel leuk om een schildpad in je tuin te ontdekken als nieuwe bewonder hihi.... De eerste foto als portret is wekelijk prachtig!

Iedereen heeft wel eens andere prioriteiten dan het maken van foto's en blogs. Nu laat je wel weer even een uniek stukje zien :-)

Groetjes, Helma

Hilde said...

hoi Rick,
Terug van weggeweest, fantastische 3 weken in Peru achter de rug! Nog niet echt aan bloggen toe, maar 'k kom toch even voorbij om je een fijn weekend te wensen :-)
groetjes, Hilde

Scott said...

Well I certainly can't cast any stones for not posting as regularly as some, but I do always enjoy your posts. This is a cool one. I'm sure you'll go out one day and he will have moved on to his next appointed location, so Enjoy him while you can.

Lisa Gordon said...

What a handsome fella, Rick!