I used to love the turtles

We only did some minor sightseeing today. Not much to write home about, but here I am. After a big breakfast at a local restaurant, we walked some in a huge riverbed belonging to the Tagliamento river. Judging by the size of it, maybe once or twice a year, this will guide enormous amounts of water from the mountains down to the plains below. The scale of it all was quite impressive and hard to capture on camera. From here we drove a short while to our current campsite at Lago di Cavazzo, with a brief stop on the way: Riserva naturale Lago di Cornino.

All the grey in the back is river bed…

The natural reserve was small but gorgeous. I stopped along the road just before it because I saw several large birds circling around in the sky. They reminded me of the awkward flight of red kites, but not quite the same. A less strongly forked tail. They turned out to be black kites. Cool, because I don’t think I had ever seen them before. When I looked a bit better at the skies above, I also noticed griffon vultures, ravens, falcons (not sure which, but not kestrels) and I think I saw a golden eagle! In a place like this I’d love to watch the skies all day. I’m not a birder, but I have a sweet spot for the birds of prey. No pictures, sorry.

I also love to watch lakes, especially if they could potentially be home to European pond turtles, or dice snakes, but not today. All I found today was a shit load of north american turtles; Mississippi map turtles (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni), red-eared sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), and Cumberland sliders (T. s. troosti). I used to love these things. I guess in a way I still do. They’re beautiful, and I’ve kept them as pets in the past. But unfortunately, they are all over the place here (and in many many other places of the world), and can be highly problematic due to their feeding habits. I even saw signs today which indicated that dumping pet turtles was prohibited. Clearly too late, or people don’t give a fuck. I saw about a dozen of these invasive turtles on a stretch of maybe half a kilometer. Aside from some fish, I didn’t see much else. I know from personal experience that these turtles eat everything they can get in their mouth (quite a lot considering they’re only turtles), so I wonder if they were also responsible for the general absense of frogs or pond turtles, or other small wildlife along the lakeside. Maybe I was just unlucky. Anyway, despite the love I have for these animals, I’m inclined to think something should be done about them. I don’t like to say they don’t belong here, but it might be the harsh reality.

Turtle stew, anyone?

Lago di Cornino – the bluest blue
Lago di Cavazzo
Red-eared slider
And another

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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