Turtles at Cranberry Lake
By Janet Alred, 13 May 2011.
Following the most interesting lecture on these endangered turtles by Vanessa Kilburn, our field trip took us to Lindsay Park at the north end of Cranberry Lake. Here we were met by Vanessa and her colleague Aimee Mitchell, as well as photographer of amphibians, Terry Brown and partner Jude Abrams.
After a brief discussion of the preferred habitat of the turtles, we drove to the bird sactuary by the lake. Vanessa explained the building of the turtle nesting beach that she organized last September with the full support of the city. It is hoped that the turtles will use this patch of soft gravel to lay their eggs instead of wandering outside the sanctuary. From the end of May to the end of June volunteers will be watching this area for nesting activities and reporting those to Vanessa and photographer Terry. A couple of basking logs were installed close to the shore to provide a convenient basking place.
Vanessa treated us to some animated demonstrations of turtle behaviour, such as how they feel the temperature of the nesting area with their outstretched necks. There are so many little known facts about the Western Painted Turtle, it is worth learning more about them.