Tag Archives: turtle


By Rebecca Wadman, Education Intern

Spring Beauty - Photo by Dave Pro

Spring Beauty – Photo by Dave Pro

Spring is absolutely full of flowers! As the temperatures warm up and the sunshine gets longer, plants start putting out their leaves and flowers. Spring Beauty flowers are one of my favorite, and they’re blooming everywhere here.

There are many fantastic flowers here at Ashland! Here are just a few of the ones blooming right now.

Common Blue Violet - Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Common Blue Violet – Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Common blue violet is native to North America. Native Americans and early European settlers used it to treat colds and sore throats, and ate the leaves and flowers as food. It comes in many different colors and patterns, ranging from dark purple to white, and solid colored, striped, or even speckled!

Cutleaf toothwort - Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Cutleaf toothwort – Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Cutleaf toothwort is another pretty native wildflower. It lives in places that were never used for fields or houses, and only has leaves and flowers in the spring. The “toothwort” part of the name comes from the root, which looks a little bit like it’s growing teeth, and “wort” which is an old English word for plant.

Bloodroot - Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Bloodroot – Photo by Joe Sebastiani

Bloodroot is a native wildflower with a distinctive, bright red sap.It’s rare, so keep a careful eye out on Treetop Trail at Ashland if you want a chance to see some!  They have finished blooming now, but look for their strange “hand-like” leaves with an upright, pointy seedpod.

Speedbump loves to eat dandelions! - Photo by Rebecca Wadman

Speedbump our captive Yellow-footed Tortoise loves to eat dandelions! – Photo by Rebecca Wadman

Dandelions might be a weed in your yard, but people and animals alike eat them for food. Goldfinches love to feast on Dandelions, and all of our captive education turtles really seem to enjoy them!

Come out out to Ashland on the weekend and join us for a free nature walk with one of our naturalists at 10:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday! No registration is necessary and these walks are free.  Right now, there are flowers blooming everywhere, and the ponds and marsh are full of frogs and tadpoles!

Out and About: Week of April 27

Hey nature lovers! I hope you’re ready for another exciting round-up of the week, because it’s coming at you quick! We almost need two posts for this week.

Our first two photos comes to us from teacher/naturalist Bethanie Delfunt. They were both taken during programs with Penn London Elementary School. The first is of two different species of dragonfly niaids (babies). It is really cool to get two compare two dragonflies in their larval state. The second picture with Penn London is of an adorable baby snapping turtle. He looks a bit different from the 25 pound goliath that we saw a couple weeks ago (see: Out and About: Week of April 15).

They certainly don't look much an adult dragonfly!

They are so cute until they get big enough to take off a finger

Our next photo is from a guide training at Flint Woods Preserve. Migrant birds are coming in full force right now and this is a shot of a common yellowthroat; a type of warbler that comes back to the area this time of the year.

Check out his black mask

Thanks to Greenwood Elementary School, I was able to get this cool photo. Leafcutter bees were taking shelter under a cherry tree during a morning rain. We were there to do an On School Grounds program for their first graders. They have an awesome nature trail!

There were about thirty bees hiding under this tree

Our last photo was actually taken about an hour and a half before this post! Steve Jonas caught this cool milk snake when he was doing land maintenance on the grounds. It was not very happy to be caught; in fact; it bit him!

This snake had a real attitude!

It had such gorgeous coloration

Whew! I am out of breath! That’s it for this week but The May Herp Room Animal of the Month will be up by this weekend! Keep checking in. Until then this is Austin Conley saying…Stay Wild!

Out and About: Week of April 15th

Howdy nature lovers! Are you ready for another dose of wildlife from our DNS sites. We had a lot of interesting events happen this week including one very large event.

Our first and most adorable happening was a deer mouse that was caught in the intern house at Ashland Nature Center. He was corralled into a box by education intern Kelly Schaeffer and released out into the fields.

This guy was enjoying the warmth of the intern house

We have also been seeing a lot of cool birds. A few pairs of waterfowl have been hanging out in the marsh. Geese, mallards, and also a pair of wood ducks have all been seen multiple times. A green heron was even spotted flying around the area.

Perusing the Red Caly Creek for food

Time to Identify! Conservation Project Coordinator; Derek Stoner found a pupa that is actually moving when it is picked up! Do you think you know what it is? Comment on this post with your answer and we will tell you what it is when it hatches!

Who do you think will emerge from this?

And finally time for the big news. This Monday we had a very big visitor. A common snapping turtle was brought to us that came from a private pond. He had to be removed from it because he was eating the geese!

That is a yard stick that he is laying next to...

His shell was 16 inches long by 13 inches wide and he weighed in at 25 pounds!

He was not a big fan of having his picture taken

After he was measured and recorded by Associate Director for Land and Biodiversity Management; Jim White, the Snapper was released into the Red Clay Creek so he can find a new home. Check out this video of the big guy’s release.

There’s your scoop on another great week. I hope you all enjoyed the post. Be sure to send us things that you have seen around. Herp Room Animal of the Month will continue in May, so stay tuned. Check in new week to see what else is happening! Until then, this is Austin Conley saying… Stay Wild!

Who’s the Champ?

Here we are once again nature lovers. It is time to vote! We have some very interesting candidates for this coming month. Who deserves the prize? You decide!

Signs of Spring!

Calling all nature lovers! It’s that time of the year! Days are getting longer, birds are starting to sing, and flowers are starting to bloom. Spring is in the air and our wild world is waking up. We want you to keep a look out for who is waking up right now. Go out in to your backyard and look for signs of spring. There are 20 different plants and animals that we are looking for to tell us that winter is over.
Wood Frog egg mass
Spring Peeper
American Toad
Pickerel Frog
Garter Snake
Water Snake
Snapping Turtle
Anglewing Butterfly
Eastern Phoebe
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Robin building nest
Snowdrops blooming
Skunk Cabbage blooming
Bloodroot blooming
Spring Beauty blooming
Trout Lily blooming
Violet blooming

Send us pictures, tell us stories and we will put them up on the blog every week until we have found them all! Send your stuff to austin@delawarenaturesociety.org and we will get it up. So get out there and find some signs of spring, and remember, as always, Stay Wild!

February Herp Room Animal of the Month

Who deserves the prize? Will our turtles claim another Herp Room Title or will one of our other animals take home the gold. You decide!!

January Herp Room Animal of the Month

Hey all you nature lovers! Thanks to everyone that participated in the first voting for the Herp Room Animal of the Month. It was a very back-and-forth battle between all of our January candidates, so much so, that I had to keep the poll open a bit longer because of a tie. But the dispute is over and the fat lady has sung…

The first Herp Room Animal of the Month of the year 2012 is…

The Diamondback Terrapin!

As Maryland’s beloved mascot, this turtle can be found in brackish (salt mixed with fresh water), swampy, coastal areas of the eastern US; ranging from Cape Cod, all the way down to the Florida Keys. They get there name from the diamond-shaped scutes or scales on their shell. They can tolerate salt water, unlike related turtles because of special glands and having skin that is almost impermeable to salt. These turtles are excellent swimmers, with webbed feet and a narrow shell to help quickly navigate through their shallow coastal habitat. They have a carnivorous appetite for a wide variety of creatures found on the coast including shrimp, snails, and crabs. Here at Ashland, the terrapin is fed worms throughout the week and is treated with the occasional fish. Like our other turtles, the diamondback terrapin competes in the International Turtle Race at the Harvest Moon Festival. He is a usual favorite and has won the race on numerous occasions. This year, he finished second in both races.

So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed hearing about the diamondback terrapin. Be sure to keep checking the blog because the voting for next month’s Herp Room Animal of the Month will be starting very soon!

Herp Room Animal of the Month

Every month we will feature an animal from the Ashland Nature Center’s Herp Room. The Herp room is the room where all of our educational animals live. These animals are both native and non-native and they all attract a lot of attention from everyone that visits the nature center. Since the Herp Room is not open to the public, we wanted to give everybody a closer look at our amazing critters.

These posts will have all of the information you could possibly need about the animal featured. You will be able to view it as a video or pictures and text. For this first month, the Herp Room Animal of the Month is already chosen. In the coming months, you will be the ones choosing which animal deserves the coveted title.

This time, The December 2011 Herp Room Animal of the Month is….

The Yellow-footed Tortoise!!

Affectionately referred to as “Speedbump,” the yellow footed tortoise is the oldest animal (approximately 35) at Ashland Nature Center and also, one of the most popular. He is native to northern South America, typically around the outskirts of the dense rainforests. These turtles are diurnal, meaning they are awake during the daytime, in which they feed on various fruits, berries, vegetation, and slow moving animals such as snails and worms. They are remarkably long-lived animals that can be up to 60 years old! They are also quite social, with various noises and head movements to impress the ladies or to tell other males to take a hike. You can tell a male tortoise from a female because the male has a big dent on the bottom of his shell.

Here at Ashland, this big guy is spoiled with salads three times a week and a nice juicy worm once a week. The yellow-footed tortoise participates in the annual International Turtle Race at the Harvest Moon Festival, though he has never won. He prefers to munch on the clover instead of actually competing.

Be sure to keep checking the blog to see when you can vote for your favorite animal to become the next Herp Room Animal of the Month!