On Wednesday I dropped by Sardis Pond for a quick look. On a log there were three turtles. One, the big bruiser of a turtle, was obviously a Red-eared Slider. These turtles are non-native and are descendants from turtles released by people who bought them in pet shops when the turtle was small and cute but when they became big and finger-hungry they get tossed into the nearest water body where they quite happily survive and reproduce. The other two, as the pictures below show, were markedly different and unless I am wrong, believe they are Western Painted Turtles based on shell shape, head colour lacking the red-ear and the bright colours on the 'bottom half' of the shell (sorry, my turtle lingo stops at 'finger-hungry'). Painted turtles are native to B.C. but are restricted to a few locations in the Lower Mainland and are a listed species.
This may be a nice find. The only other nearby location I am aware of for this species is at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.
Gord Fraser Valley Birding Administrator eBird Regional Editor (Fraser Valley)
Post by murraybrown on May 26, 2013 8:26:00 GMT -8
Gord, After looking at your pictures, I compared them with some that I took last week up at Kilpoola Lake in the southern interior with Thor Manson. To me they look identical and I don't think there is any doubt about the authenticity of that population. So that leads to the question "How the heck did they get into Sardis Pond?" I don't know anything about the history of that pond. Is it totally man made, or was it always a naturally occurring wetland that has been enlarged?
The two small ones are Western Painted turtles. Sardis Pond used to be an abandoned gravel quarry at one time (in the old days when I was a kid growing up in Sardis). Folks even swam in it before it was rebuilt into a park pond for duck etc.
Last Edit: May 26, 2013 20:32:09 GMT -8 by kenpossum
Post by murraybrown on May 27, 2013 19:38:08 GMT -8
Based on Ken's historical information it would seem that the turtles must have been planted at some point. Not too surprising since I remember bringing western painted turtles back to North Surrey from our camping trips to Penticton back in the old days when I was a kid.
Of course they were very common then and we didn't realize the consequences of our actions at that time.
The fact that these two are juveniles suggests that they must have been brought in not too long ago unless there are breeding adults hidden away. Certainly worth watching for.