Monday was Presidents Day, and a lovely day here in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California. As we took a stroll around a local pond, we were treated to a view of five turtles, scattered around the periphery and basking in the late winter sun.
There was one adult with two juveniles, and there were two individuals in separate areas. One of them disappeared into the water before I could photograph it.
As this nature area is on the county fairgrounds, the cattails had recently been trimmed back. The wildlife was still protected, but our view was improved.
When I first saw turtles basking at this pond last year, I assumed they were Pacific Pond Turtles. Now that I have had a closer look at both juveniles and adults, I see that they have the distinctive markings of Red-eared Sliders, a red mark behind the eye (which can fade in older adults), striped yellow markings, and a serrated edge at the rear of the upper shell (carapace).
Here is one of the guides that I used for identification. The Red-eared slider is not native to California, so these turtles were released into the pond by pet owners. They are the most popular pet turtle. due to their small size as juveniles. However, when they grow to adult size and their owners realise how long they live (up to 50 years), they often are released into ponds near populated areas. The turtles are widespread. I will still be searching for native Pacific Pond Turtles.