Monday, May 25, 2009

Interesting Inhabitants of Magee Marsh

Spring migration seems to be slowing down a bit, with one last predicted "push" coming later in the week. I spent some rest and relaxation time there today, and thoroughly enjoyed some of the "locals" and summer breeders.

A species of special concern, a Blanding's turtle with its distinctive yellow throat, shares a log with a much smaller Painted turtle. Considered a short step away from an endangered species, they are protected in most of the last remaining states where they can be found. Magee is one of the few places in Ohio where these 8-10 inch turtles can be seen.

Since Blanding's turtles require 15 to 20 years to reach sexual maturity, it is a wonder any make it at all! Our smiling specimen could well be a female basking or thermo-regulating. This behavior speeds the development of her eggs, allowing her to lay them sooner.

Maybe we will have some little ones this fall. They will be about an inch long when they hatch out, but don't count on seeing them. Blanding's are very secretive until they get a bit larger, and little is known about their young.

Consider a late May stroll at Magee to enjoy a peaceful boardwalk, the serenade of Warbling Vireos and melodic tones of the Baltimore Orioles. Breeding birds along the walk currently include Great Horned Owls, House Wrens, Tree Swallows, and Prothonotary Warblers.

Warblers are great, but Magee is much, much more. A "bad" day on the boardwalk is still one of the best days a naturalist could have.


  1. Weedpicker, what a very great find and photograph, I've yet to see a blanding's turtle that wasn't being actively researched (like one straight out of a trap) in one of the LE marshes. I'm a sucker for turtles, they really were my "spark" animal for getting me into natural history.


  2. Thanks Tom, but you are way better equiped (camera and talent-wise) to get a great photo of this gal. I don't have any of the long-range camera equipment required to do her justice.

    Next time you're near Magee, pop-in and see if she is still hanging out on the stream along the back side of the boardwalk. I would love to see a good photo of her!