Birding on a bike was my weekend exercise and escape, with camera gear in my paniers. Along the way I spied a large turtle sunbathing in a side slough along the American River Parkway. I got off my bike, prepared my 600mm lens, and stalked my way back, staying out of his view and away from the rim of the slough until I could remain behind a tall bunch of grass. Slowly I emerge around the screen of grass with my lens in position to start shooting. My experience with these turtles is that they are very shy and dive into the river as soon as they see you. With luck, I got off a few shots (with out of focus grass blades still blocking my view) and slowly I improve my position, expecting him to bolt. A bird flies in and he dives. The bird is cool, it's a Green Heron, and a species that I haven't seen one for a while. He spook my subject but now I am bird watching. (This is a Red-eared Slider.)
While the Heron spooked one of the turtles, there are three more nearby, and I see this play out like an episode of Wild Kingdom, with Marlin Perkins. Remember that? Mutual of Omaha and all. Well, the Heron wants to walk past the three turtles, and they aren't budging. He tries to look tall and scary, to no avail.
These must be ninja turtles because they are not shy and do not intimidate easily. They hold their position on the log and the Heron trying to frighten them does not work. (Two on the left are Red-eared Sliders, on the right is a Pacific Pond turtle.)
The Heron has a long neck folded up under all those feathers, look at him stretch and puff up his feathers to try and scare the ninja turtles.
Our Heron decides it'd be better if he just walked around, and not try to start anything.
The turtles don't blink, our heron will have to go to plan B.
Once the heron gets past the turtle she starts hunting for lunch, and she is quickly successful, catching two crawdads.