bruce and i drove out to watertown center to meet susan at her office and so she could take us to see some turtles around where she works. nearby was the ubiquitous charles river, with a nicely maintained pedestrian trial looping around the water. i've been here before, but on a bicycle with julie.
to be honest, i wasn't nearly as excited about seeing turtles as susan and bruce. i've seen enough painted turtles in my own personal naturing life that if i never see one again, i'd be fine with it. however, it was just a nice chance to be out on this gorgeous day, a perfect summer afternoon in the middle of spring, warm and sunny enough to start considering put on the sunblock.
so around the river we went with susan leading the tour. she seemed to know the area well enough that she could've been a professional guide. we did see turtles, and lots of them. susan and bruce did a count, at least 30 turtles were seen before they gave up trying to keep an accurate record. some painted turtles, and a few larger ones that look to be older painted turtles (shells about the size of footballs) that have either lost their color or just covered in mud.
the highlight would have to be our snapping turtle sighting. while resting at one of several observation decks looking at the myriad of turtles swimming and basking below us, we suddenly saw a loud and sudden thrashing nearby. previously there was a red-winged blackbird but now we saw the upper half of a monster snapping turtle that had jumped out of the water to ambush the bird. although we only saw the upper half of its body, it must've been at least 2 feet long. the head itself was about the size of a large potato. it was a scary sight, and stayed in its half-submerged position for a little while before sinking into the water, leaving a trial of bubbles. (my first snapping turtle sighting, snapping turtle on the road, snapping turtle babies).
the second highlight was seeing some yellow warblers. at first i thought they were goldfinches, but this time of the year, during the spring migration, when you see a yellow bird it's more often than not a warbler instead of a finch. through the binoculars it was easy to tell it was a warbler, and back in the car flipping through the peterson guide we confirmed it to be a yellow warbler. and it's actually sort of ironic, that despite my several trips to the mt.auburn cemetery, this was my first yellow warbler sighting of the season. not sure what my warbler count is but definitely more than somebody who's just a casual observer of birds.
back at susan's office we got a good drink of cold water before bruce and i headed back to cambridge. none of my clients had contacted me so that gave me some time to do some grocery shopping at market basket. at the parking lot client N called me again. i spent 15 minutes troubleshooting, watching people pushing their carts to their cars.
back at home i did a water change on the minibow 7, finally taking out that last guppy (now a recognizable male) and putting him with the rest of his ilk. i poured out the 2 gallons of waste water into the backyard. i noticed the air tubing on the hexagon tank was backfiring again, with water dripping into the pump. i reassembled the unit but it still wasn't working, so i netted out the cherry barb and put him in the tetra tank. i know he had a problem with the guppies but hopefully he can coexist peacefully with the tetras so i don't have to isolate him again.
in the evening julie came over and i made pastrami tortilla wraps, filled with pastrami (natch), cole slaw, jalapeño jam, horse radish flavored cheddar cheese, and cilantro. julie (who's sort of a picky eater) opted out of the jam, and only later did she try the slaw. we watched the red sox game (win!), then switched over to house (cure!), and finally SVU (conviction!). julie was trying to convince me (unsuccessfully) how great google is, how there's a new online collaborative feature where groups of people can simultaneously edit the same document, like a spreadsheet.