Spring Peeper out and about before hibernating for the winter.

Relishing the last of these golden days, we took advantage of Sunday’s delightfully beautiful weather with a hike around Eastern Point. Several female Yellow-rumped Warblers were spotted feeding on seed heads, a lone turtle was basking on a sun-warmed rock, the Harbor Seals were lolling about, and a tiny Spring Peeper was spied in the fallen leaves.

You can see why these sweet birds are called Yellow-rumped Warblers. Note the little flash of yellow on the rump of the warbler flying in the background.

Eastern Painted Turtle

Who me?

Harbor Seals warming in the sun.


painted-turtles-niles-pond-gloucester-copyright-kim-smithI laughed out loud when looking through photos from several days ago, not realizing that at the time when taking snapshots of these beautiful Painted Turtles at Niles Pond they were not only basking, but also rubbernecking, and mostly all in the same direction. The turtles were on a rock adjacent to the Snapping Turtle (below), which at first glance looked like two rocks, a smaller stone (its head) and a large stone (body).

snapping-turtle-niles-pond-gloucester-copyright-kim-smithThe Snapping Turtle was about a foot long, unlike the Snapping Turtle furtively gliding through the murky water several weeks ago at Henry’s Pond. The stealthy one in the last photo was huge and appeared to be just shy of two feet!!snapping-turtle-henrys-pond-copyright-kim-smith

Turtles are ectotherms, relying on sunlight to warm and regulate their body temperature.


In case you were wondering, where do turtles go in winter?

The Eastern Painted Turtle is our most common turtle and this beauty was found at Niles Pond, crossing the road heading towards one of several little babbling brooks that flow towards the pond. Perhaps it was planning to hibernate there as it was the last day of October.

Turtles are an ectotherm, which means that their body temperature mirrors the temperature of the surrounding environment, whether pond water or sunlit rock. During the fall they find a comfy spot in the mud at either a pond or stream and burrow in. The Painted Turtle’s metabolism slows dramatically and it won’t usually come up for air until spring, although even during hibernation they require some slight bit of oxygen, which they take in through their skin. Painted Turtles do move around a bit in the mud during the winter but do not travel far and do not move very swiftly.

Painted Turtle Niles Pond ©Kim Smith 2015



A friendly sort, this little guy was found in the middle of Niles Pond Road headed towards the brook. He posed patiently while I filmed him for the swan film, took his photo, and tested out my new phone 4K video feature. I placed him near the brook but he started to cross the road again and then just plopped there in the middle! I was late getting back to work so I marched him down an overgrown path and positioned him near a rock at the water’s edge. We can only hope. Perhaps he was confused by the gorgeous warm weather this morning.

An exciting turtle instagram 🙂

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Painted Turtle rescue at Niles Pond!

A post shared by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Eastern Painted Turtles live in fresh water such as Niles Pond, and hibernate in the mud during the winter months. Painted Turtles are the most widespread turtle species of North America.


Turtle Release Update

Diane Lapin writes, “Thank you all for helping us locate the perfect little spot for our Turtle release on Sunday.  Noel, thank you so much for providing access and information and, of course, watermelon! Now it is up to nature!”

Thanks so much Diane for keeping us updated!

See original post:

Help Needed Returning 5 Painted Turtles to Langsford Pond

Mama Turtle

Help Needed Returning 5 Painted Turtles to Langsford Pond

Eastern Painted Turtle ©Kim Smith 2013GMG received the following call for help from Diane Lapin this morning. If anyone living on Langsford Pond can help Diane, please leave a comment in the comment section and I will email you Diane’s phone number. Thank you!!!


Kim Smith’s post on the Eastern Painted Turtle is quite timely.  I have a request for help from GMG.Last fall, while renovating an area of lawn that I had torn up in the spring, but never got to finishing, we accidently dug up a clutch (??) of baby painted turtles, destroying their nest.

Long story … they have been cared for a wild life rehabilitator in New Hampshire and are now ready to be released.

My neighborhood is heavily wooded and fairly large, but Langsford Pond is the pond the mother came from.  It is through the woods behind my house and difficult to traverse from here.

The 5 surviving turtles are ready to be released and I need access to the pond (near a reedy part for their protection) for their release.  Chris, the wildlife rehabilitator from NH will  be releasing them.

I know a lot of people in our ‘hood read your blog, so perhaps someone will have and be able to provide that access to us to return the babies home?
The release will be on Friday or Saturday of this week (still awaiting finalization).
As per law, the turtles must be returned to Mass and to the body of water they came from.

Perhaps a helpful GMG reader can help us secure a accessible location with lots of reeds to return the little one’s back to their home?

Warm regards,
Diane M. Lapine

Mama Turtle

The female Eastern Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta) deposits her eggs in a hole, or nest, which she has excavated with her hind legs. She lays between three and 14 eggs. Depending on soil and air temperatures, the eggs incubate unattended in the soil for six to twelve weeks.  Sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperatures the eggs were exposed to in the nest. Warmer temperatures produce females. Cooler temperatures produce males. Some eggs are deposited close to the surface and others are laid first and are deeper in the soil. The slight differences in position in the nest produce enough variances in temperature to ensure that both males and females are produced from the same nest.

Filmed in Gloucester, Massachusetts, June 2013 with Fujifilm XE-1.

The Gentle Rain ~ Song by Astrud Gilberto