Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nature is awesome

On our morning walk with Locksley this morning we came across something pretty amazing.

Behind our apartment is a little woodland area with paved trails that lead to a playground and recreation area. I always tell Sam he's flattering it by calling it a "forest" because it's really more of a "woods" in that it's just a scrap of wilderness. But even so we get some pretty great visitors--fox, birds, deer, snakes, and so on so I'm really grateful to have it so close to home. It's my favorite place to walk the dog.

So we're on our morning walk when all of a sudden we come up on this:

Can you see it? I spotted her first and even when we stopped to observe Locksley was pretty much oblivious. Which is good because you don't really want to annoy a snapping turtle.

I knew immediately what was going on, she was digging a hole to lay eggs! As we stood quietly watching she gave us kind of a dirty look and went on with her business.

Digging with her back legs, a pile of earth behind her.

Watching the turtle reminded me of the turtles that we had growing up. My dad when he was a boy would go out into the woods and find Eastern Box Turtles. They'd keep them for the summer and then let them go in the fall. So when my sister and I were young we did the same. One year we even had a turtle lay eggs, though I don't think they hatched.

Sam's mind was blown from coming across this turtle. It was definitely an educational experience! And it made me really grateful that I had lots of experiences with nature as a kid.

We didn't want to make the turtle too uncomfortable with our presence so we didn't stick around too long. She was doing important stuff, after all! I hope that her choice of a nesting spot is a safe one and that the eggs get a chance to hatch.

I looked up some snapping turtle information and apparently they can lay anywhere from 10-30 eggs! The sex of the eggs are determined by temperature. And they can hatch anywhere between 55 and 125 days later. You can learn more fascinating stuff about snapping turtles here and even more nerdy stuff here.

Also, we managed to get a video where you can actually see her plopping some eggs into the nest:

Nature is awesome! Thanks and Godspeed lady snapping turtle!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Busiest Friday Ever

Friday the 13th had a lot in store for me this month, and all of it good!

I found a baby bird

I took a half-day at work so I could meet the farrier at Bonnie's for Gobie to get his feet trimmed. On the way out of the parking garage at work a baby starling flopped out in front of my car! So I stopped, parked, put on the hazards, and got out to usher him to a safer place.

Well, I looked around to see where I could put him. Any nests? Adult Starlings looking worried? Even a good patch of grass with some shelter from predators and away from the road? Nope! He was also way too easy to catch which made me think that he probably wasn't feeling so hot anyway. So I did the only logical thing for an animal-loving bleeding-heart could do: I brought him home.

I had a feeding pan in the car so I put him in that and then wrapped my black, breathable rain jacket around that so he wouldn't flop around the car. Then I high-tailed it home.

Fortunately I have some spare cages lying around. I put him in Nooch's old cage with some paper towels in the bottom. I noticed after I put him in the cage that I had a red bug on my hand. Uh oh--parasites! I'm no stranger to rehabbing birds so I knew that these weren't going to infest me or anything (they're specific to BIRDS and, as I learned, specific to Starlings, even). I also noticed quite a few on my jacket, and squished 'em all. Honestly he didn't look so hot so I wasn't sure he was going to live. I didn't want to be late for the farrier so I high-tailed it to the barn.

Gobie got his feet trimmed

I made it to the barn on time! You can read all about how Gobie's feet trimming went here. The short version is: he was great and the farrier was awesome! It was a totally pain-free experience and left me confident that I have a good little pony on my hands.

We went to a Thrill Kill Kult show

So appropriate for Friday the 13th--My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult was playing a show at Bourbon Street in Baltimore. So we went! Sam and I don't go to a lot of shows so much anymore, but when a band that we like does come around it's always a treat to go see them. The band put on a great show as usual, occultiness and sleaziness at its peak performance!