Here are my photographic highlights from last Summer:

From walks through Ipswich:



The water level was low in the fish ladder as early as June last year.  The cormorants figured out they could sit in the fish ladder and gorge on fish stuck between the baffles:


We also had a mink show up last year!  He was seen many times.  Thankfully I was out on the fish ladder with my good camera [Nikon DSLR] and was able to get some decent shots:



An issue with the fish ladder soon became apparent – not only were fish getting stuck between the baffles, but turtles were too.  They could climb up the incline of the slanted baffle, but then they’d drop between baffles and find very little water and not be able to climb back out.  My first rescue “customer” was this enormous snapping turtle with a barbed tail.  He was NOT HAPPY to be poked and prodded and scooped up in my net, but he was probably very happy when I let him out above the dam into the fresh water:


It was at that point, thanks to my friend Vicki who I met on the fish ladder, that I learned to use BUCKETS to rescue turtles, not nets.  With buckets, they can’t bite or claw you.  Thence began my summer of turtle rescues!  I rescued over 100, mostly small musk turtles, painted turtles, and baby snappers.  Here’s 2 musk turtles.  They were the most friendly and often made hilarious faces:


Rescuing the turtles from the fish ladder meant hauling my poor little aluminum ladder and a bucket down into the ladder.  I also ordered some cheap rubber boots from Amazon – a life saver!:


Some views of the fresh water above the dam – it’s much better for all the river turtles.  The salt water below the dam damages their shells:


Some happy ducks:


This snapper looked so sad to be stuck at the top of the fish ladder.  I climbed down and lifted him over the boards into the fresh water.  They had blocked off the top to keep turtles from getting in… but they didn’t block off the bottom, so a LOT of turtles made the trek up the ladder only to get stuck within the baffles, or stuck at the top.  It was almost a full time job – I checked the fish ladder 6x a day.  Here’s a good size comparison between some of my rescues:


A view of the river during full drought mode.  It was so sad not to have any water.  And a snake I saw near the top of the fish ladder:


A baby something, and a bee on a thistle:


Wee!!! [snapper on left, musk on right]:


HOOGE & WEE – both snappers:


A painted turtle [they were the hardest to catch – very fast!] and a musk:


Painted and musk:


Musk and painted:



One thing I NEVER GOT USED TO was the amount of spiders that live in a fish ladder.  OMFG.  It was horrific:


And not small ones either – this one that almost jumped on me was about the size of a half dollar:

Great Blue Heron with a fresh catch:


At one point I rescued a frog with a turtle LOL.  And 2 nights later I was out on the fish water at dusk and saw this frog smiling at me from the fresh water above the dam.  I’m almost sure it’s the same one that was saying thank you.  Salt water must be very painful for a frog:


And finally, Birdie completely appalled by Pinky:

Thanks for reading!

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