Saturday, October 17, 2009

Snapping Turtles

The Snapping Turtle is a common site along the Ohio River and Creeks, We took to smaller fishing boat with a five horse power motor (less noise) along the Eagle Creek. Logs and submerged trees poke up out of the water periodically with piles of sunning Turtles, (both Snapping and Soft Shelled).  Typically shy, these guys often take a dive for safety when anyone approaches.
The one on the right top is certainly thinking about it.

Their range is quite large from S. Alberta and east
to Nova Scotia in the north all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and even central Texas. They are fresh water dwellers and mostly reside in slow moving Creeks and Lakes with muddy bottoms and an abundant vegetation and food source.

Reproduction takes place from April to November along sandy shores were the female will excavate a hole and lay as many as 83 eggs. Depending on the weather, it takes 9-18 weeks to hatch the eggs.

The snapping turtle has a general length raging from 8-18.5 inches. Color ranges from dark brown to even black. They feed on carrion, invertebrates, fish, birds, and small mammals, amphibians and aquatic vegetation. I've yet to paint them, but this image I found interesting and will most likely end up on a canvas. : - )

Friday, August 28, 2009

Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron This solitary hunter is found just about everywhere I've traveled in the United States.

The images above were taken at Eagle Creek, Ripley Ohio.

Two years in a row now, I've set time aside to photograph this wonderful bird. As a Wildlife Artist, studying species is a must! I have a few favorites of course and this Common Great Blue Heron is certainly one of them.

Here are a few facts about them:

The North American Great Blue Heron is the most common and the largest of the Heron family.

They are typically seen along coastline, near shores of ponds, marshes or streams. They have a wonderful style of hunting. They are experts at fishing!

Their well designed neck and blade like bills allow them to snare their prey while standing or wading along these shores. Herons hunt alone but nest in colonies. They generally build nests in tall trees. Females lay from two to seven eggs which both male and female protect and incubate. It takes the Chicks about two months of age to survive on their own.

Great blue herons’ are wonderful to watch in flight. They typically range in size from 3.2 to 4.5 feet in height and have a wing span of 5.5 to 6.6 feet.