In all the years I've visited the Hakone Japanese Garden in Saratoga, CA this is how I've always seen the red eared slider turtles, either sunning themselves on rocks. . .
Or swimming in the koi pond.
Yesterday was different. Instead of going in the morning hubby, my nephew Josh, and I went in the late afternoon. The turtles were pulling themselves out of the pond along the shoreline and didn't run away when people would walk along the path. Not even when we stopped in close proximity to take pictures.
It looks like it's laughing but this turtle was yawning, with its eyes closed.
They were all "Oh, hello."
Some would draw their front feet and legs into their shells but most didn't.
When I got close enough to take these pictures I realized this must be why. . .
We call them "turtleneck" sweaters! Look at that! Who knew? Not me.
Because I could I took a few more turtle bit close ups for you.
Then I saw a wild bunny. I'm assuming it's a cotton tail rabbit because it's not large enough to be a jack rabbit. We could only get so close before he hippity hopped beneath some bushes.
Another surprise like the turtles was this damselfly that wouldn't fly away no matter how close I got to it with my macro lens. Look! Teeth! LOL
Normally I can't get within 4' of a damselfly before it takes off. This one was so cooperative. The only thing that made him move was when an ant would bump into him. Then it would lift off and land again in almost the same spot.
They're so delicate and gorgeous with their vivid turquoise bodies.
The waterlilies were also in bloom. This is the easy shot that most people would probably take. It's pretty and all. . .
But I love this backlit shot even more. So peaceful and serene. I think it's my favorite image from this series. It's a close tie with the damselfly close up. I love them both for different reasons.
The very last wisteria blossoms were on their way out. Maybe next year I'll visit in April when I can see them in full bloom.
And one last bit of news. There's now a new traffic light system on midway at the upper end of the driveway and at the entrance to the parking lot. Because part of the exit loop roadway was damaged cars now need to share the upper single lane. Because we were there on a weekday there wasn't a lot of traffic so using it was uneventful.
If you've never been I always highly recommend a visit to the Hakone Estate and Gardens. It's a lovely place and the oldest Japanese Garden in the United States.