Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bluegills for Breakfast

Just renewed my fishing license and caught these Bluegills at Crystal Lake today. Should make for an excellent breakfast.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Turtles of Newton

Here are photos of an adult and juvenile Spotted Turtle taken recently in southeastern Massachusetts. Several years ago I discovered this species within the Brook Farm Historic Site just south of the Newton border. This species almost certainly occurs in Newton in the Wells Avenue Charles River Path area. Although it was likely more widespread in the past, it is unlikely that the Spotted Turtle still occurs elsewhere in Newton.

Until fairly recently, the Spotted Turtle was listed as a species of Special Concern, protected by the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Although the species was determined to be somewhat more widespread than previously thought, Spotted Turtles are vulnerable to road traffic and other threats, and are likely declining in Massachusetts.

It is interesting to explore which species manage to persist in urban and high density suburban landscapes such as Newton. The other native turtle species occurring in Newton are the Painted Turtle, Snapping Turtle, and Musk Turtle. It is likely that Eastern Box Turtles and Wood Turtles historically occurred in Newton, but have been extirpated. In April and May look out for basking turtles and in June look for nesting turtles. Here's a closeup photo of a hatchling Painted Turtle from Bullough's Pond.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Vernal Pool Certification

In Massachusetts, citizens can submit data to the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program in order to certify vernal pools. Certification provides enhanced regulatory protection under state law and under local bylaws in some cases.

Involving children in the certification process can be a marvelous experience for all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Here are a Snapping Turtle and a Painted Turtle from a Vernal Pool in Nahanton Park today. The Snapper was about 15 inches long.

Unfortunately, turtles in Massachusetts are increasingly vulnerable to road traffic.

For information about turtle conservation in Massachusetts, click here.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Peepers Mating

Here are some photos of Spring Peepers in amplexus in Hammond Woods earlier today. They are actively calling at locations such as Hammond Woods and Nahanton Park right now.

Most of Newton's vernal pools have been certified, but I am working on certifying the remaining pools. If you are interested in helping out, please contact me.