Sunday, May 21, 2017

Adventures at the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch: we rescued a Red Eye Slider Turtle

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m leaving the house to meet my friend Kathy to explore the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch.  I find a parking space and get my camera gear together when I spot a couple of love birds in the parking lot.  They were on the ground under some trees in a median.  I snap a few photos and off to find my friend Kathy.

 Love Bird

We meet up by the Saguaro cactus and off to pond 7 to see what we can see.  No birds, the pond was almost empty but off to my left I see a Coyote; my first Coyote in the wild!  I snap several shots as he stands and scopes out the dry pond looking for rabbits since no birds were to be found.  The Coyote was off for better hunting ground so we’re off to pond 1 to see if there is any water and birds.


Half way along pond 1 there is a clearing and we found some Canada Geese.  We enjoyed their company for a while and off we went to pond 5.  Along the way, we see Quail and lots and lots of Cottontail Rabbits.

Canada Goose

At pond 5 there was some water but mainly very tall vegetation; no birds and a lot of Cottontail Rabbits.   We looked for Jack the friendly Black-tailed Jackrabbit but so sad no Jack.  I haven’t seen him in over a year.
Peek-a-boo Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail Rabbit

So off to pond 2 we go.  We come to the first clearing at pond 2 and no birds, so farther down the path we go.  The next clearing there were 4 Mallard ducklings on the shore and no parents!  We kept our distance not to disturb them and I took several photos of the little guys.  We went to the next clearing and still no birds but we decided to stay to see if we could see the mother Mallard; no luck.  While standing there talking a Great Egret flew in, love these majestic birds.  Took several shots and here comes mother Mallard landing in the pond and swimming over to her babies.  Several other mother Mallards swam by with their ducklings; yay some birds!!!

Mallard baby ducks

Great Egret

We decided to go over to pond 6 and yay water!  No birds but water.  We hung around waiting for something to fly in and nothing.  So off to the foot bridge by the to find the Least Bittern Heron.
We are at the bridge and we witnessed two Least Bittern Herons flying out of the reeds.  Of course, we just arrived and I didn’t have my camera ready.  Standing there talking with another photographer we noticed a lot of fishing line and lures tangled in the reeds and we all were concerned about the Least Bittern Herons when we notice a red eared slider caught up in a line.

My friend Kathy decides she can’t take it anymore watching this poor turtle struggle she takes off her shoes and socks, rolls up her jeans and she’s in the water to rescue the turtle.  She finds the turtle totally tangled in the fishing line with a hook through its mouth.  This hook was huge and thick and went all the way through its mouth and out the other side. 


Kathy brought the turtle over to me and a passerby helped cut the fishing line and part of the hook away from the turtle.  Kathy went back to the reeds and cut out several fishing lures and pulled out a lot of fishing line before we helped her out of the water.

Kathy and I were on our way to the parking lot so I could take the turtle to the Arizona herpetological association to see if they could get the hook out.  I called and left several messages but no one was calling me back.  I tried every button I could press but no one was answering the phone!  So I drove home to get the turtle into some water and keep trying to reach the association.

Finally, home my darling hubby had gotten our wash tube out and we put the turtle in there with some water.  I grabbed some needle nose pliers and holding the turtle John was able to push the hook out of its mouth and the turtle was saved!  The turtle was so happy.


So back in the car we go to drive back to the Riparian Preserve to return the poor turtle back to its habitat.  I released the turtle back to the fishing pond where we rescued it but on the other side away from the reeds and fishing line.  The turtle was so excited to get back to its home it couldn’t wait to get back in the water.

Red Ear Slider Turtle back home

All I ask if you need to fish please read the signs and do not fish on the foot bridge!  If you lose your fishing lures jump in the water and retrieve them.  You have no idea how much you are hurting wildlife by leaving your trash behind!

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