The night settles in with bird and frog song at the beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan.
In addition to the open water of Lake Michigan and the inland lakes, there are dozens of small wetlands, bogs, and marshes ready to explore. Coastal beauty sweeps through the area and there are opportunities to fish, canoe, and take to the trail. Though named for the dunes, these areas reveal another side of the park, just as wild and stunning.
Photo by Furguson, NPS. Photo description: Sunset colors reflect over a pond with lily pads.
A Round of Applause for the Roti Island Snake Necked Turtle
The Roti Island Snake Necked Turtle, or McCord’s Snake Necked Turtle, (Chelodina mccordi) is a species of turtle only found on the island of Rote in Indonesia. It’s main habitat are freshwater lakes, marshes, and rice paddies. Although they are primarily aquatic, their preferred ecosystems are not. In the dry season, when freshwater is no longer available, McCord’s Snake Necked Turtle will burrow under leaves or boulders rather than hibernating in mud like other turtle species. C. mccordi is mainly nocturnal throughout the year, although they are known to emerge during the day during the rainy season, when it is generally believed that they mate.
Eggs are produced anytime between Februrary and September in clutches of eight to fourteen. Young take about three months to hatch, with the majority emerging at the beginning of the wet season in November. When they first hatch, juveniles have yellow or orange splotches on their bottom shell, also known as the plastron. These splotches become dark as they grow older, and by the time they’re adults the plastron is completely black.
Adult Roti Island Snake Necked Turtles are medium sized, for turtles. They can weigh anywhere between 400 and 800g, and the shell is typically 18 to 24 cm; females are usually larger than males. Their necks, for which they are so named, are nearly two-thirds the length of their bodies. Because of their length, these turtles cannot pull their heads straight back under their shell. Instead, they curl them to the side in an S-shape. This is the defining trait of the suborder Pleurodira, of which C. mccordi is a member. This group is also aptly referred to as the side-necked turtles.
Little is known about the daily life of McCord’s Snake Necked Turtle. They are carnivores, and it’s generally believed that their diet consists of insects and small fish. Their shells protect them from most predation, as do their claws and a musk they produce when threatened. However, both eggs and juveniles can be consumed by wild pigs and wading birds.
Conservation Status: This species is critically endangered. Historically it was greatly hunted for meat, shells, or the pet trade. As of 2001, export of the species was banned, but population trends continued to decline. Habitat loss only exacerbated the problem. Only two or three small populations are believed to remain in the wild. Several breeding programs around the world are in place to preserve the species, but no reintroductions to the wild have as yet been attempted.
If the conditions are just right, you can see a spectacular sight at Congaree National Park in South Carolina. These "rainbow pools" are not a sign of pollution, but a natural occurrence that can be caused by one of two things. Many times they are the result of decaying vegetation, especially cypress cones and needles, that release their natural oils. The other cause can be bacteria breaking down iron in the soil. Combined with very still waters, a few days without rain, and the correct angle of the light, and you can see shimmering colors floating on the water. Photo by National Park Service.
The Ford government is proposing a retroactive change to provincial law to clear the way for a controversial development project on a protected wetland.
The change in legislation was tabled by the government Thursday as part of an unrelated bill about expanding broadband internet in rural areas.
The amendments to Ontario's Planning Act would nullify a key clause that limits the scope of ministerial zoning orders (MZOs), a powerful tool that helps fast-track developments by overriding local zoning rules.
CBC News has obtained an internal document that shows the government is making the change specifically to to bolster its case against a lawsuit that aims to halt a development on the Lower Duffins Creek wetland in Pickering.