Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve - 4.15.12 - Post 2

So here we go with the first set of spottings from Fullersburg...

White-Breasted Nuthatch (025 - 2012)

Here's my one new bird for the walk.  I saw a lot of birds, got some good shots, but I think this was the only one that was brand new for me.

This is a White-Breasted Nuthatch.
Nuthatches and creepers are really similar birds in both shape and behavior.  The easiest way to tell them apart - mostly - is by watching them on the trees.  Creepers will *always* go head down and around in a circle.  Nuthatches will travel in any direction, their heads going the way they're going.

So, of course, I happen to catch a nuthatch that's going down the tree, head-down.  Which led to me researching creepers for far too long before I realized it wasn't one.  *sigh*

Virginia Bluebells (026 - 2012)
 I didn't realize we had wild bluebells in Illinois.  I think I've mentioned before that I love seeing blue in nature.

 One of the nice things about Fullerton, besides the indoor chart, is that they have a cultivated area where they've put in a few of each wildflower and a sign that tells you what they are.  I know I've advocated shooting the signs before.  All these shots are from places I found them outside the cultivated area, but it was really nice to get shots of the signs and the planted bits, because it makes identification so much easier when I get home.

So, the rest of this post will be about the Common Snapping Turtles I found courting when I was walking near the river. 

Putting this spotting up at ProjectNoah.org was awesome, as there were some people there who gave me some great information.
Common Snapping Turtles (027 - 2012)
Neil Dazet told me, "Those 3 ridges that you see in the 2nd picture are common in this species, but they tend to smooth out and be less defined in older individuals. Also, female snappers are slightly bigger than male snappers. So it looks like an older male snapper attempting to mate with a younger female."
 Which, just... how awesome is that?  I know which species I've got, which one is which gender and their relative ages!  So cool!
 They were in the water the whole time and most of the time (and I was watching for about 15 or 20 minutes), they were 'hugging' - carapace to carapace with their legs holding on to each other - most of the time.

 During this time, I saw more soft parts of turtles (no, not like that!  Well, not that *I* could recognize anyway) than I ever have before.




They were so unconcerned with me that I was even able to sit and take some video of them.
video


 So you can start to see why my accidental walkabout (due to the broken bridge) wasn't the worst thing that's ever happened to me. :)  More animals tomorrow!


Total Identified Species Sited for the Year: 27
Total Unidentified Species Sited for the Year: 1
Total New Species: 14

White-Breasted Nuthatch*
Virginia Bluebells*
Common Snapping Turtles*

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