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Autumn Reflections
Western Pond Turtles
Distant mountain shows burn path of the Loma Fire.
Fortunately, the fire missed the mountains surrounding Hidden Lake.
The fire's path spared ancient oaks such as this.
Impressive limb structure of a massive valley oak.
Sulfur Polypore fungi favor oaks and can grow to an impressive size.
They draw nutrients from the heartwood of the host tree.
Oak forests clothe the mountains above Hidden Lake.
Late in the year, the sun fails to climb above the mountains on the lake's eastern shore.
Volume of runoff from recent rains carved inlets where the water is shallow.
Shoreline mud clod worn smooth by basking pond turtles.
In winter, pond turtles usually hibernate to avoid the cold.
However, some members of the lake's turtle population remain active.
Also active in this sunny area were a handful of Variegated Dragonflies.
Here, one chooses a partner for a tandem flight.
And away they go on a nuptial flight.
The two are joined together by claspers at the base of the male's tail.
Rising water levels submerge sections of the shoreline.
Sometimes flooding underground tunnels favored by tarantulas.
Rescued, this half-drowned tarantula clung to the brim of my hat.
I left it alone to recover and regain its strength.
While I chose a suitable place for its relocation.
Squirrels created tunnels beneath this log, a perfect relocation spot for the tarantula.
The instant the tarantula saw the tunnel it scurried into it - barely time to take a single photo.
Hidden Lake's waters rise and fall with the season.
The lake's remaining pond turtles will soon hibernate and not emerge until spring.
Set aside for the public. Protected from development. A haven for wildlife.
For additional information: Secret Lives of Western Pond Turtles: .ppt (2.76MB) .pdf (177kb)
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