Sunday, May 29, 2011

Momma Turtle

I just never know what we will find when we go out in the county to do a Breeding Bird Atlas block. This morning was an exceptional morning.  Not because of the birds that we saw, even though we did see some sweet birds.  What was so exceptional is that I found a Snapping Turtle laying its eggs. I have read about this before but had never seen such an amazing sight.
As you can see she had to dig a big hole to lower her large body into.  We stayed and watched for about thirty minutes. I could see her do a shudder or two then she would be quiet.
Her clear yellow eye was focused on her task. She must not have been at it very long because the soil on her head was still damp. The wind was blowing quite steadily this morning. I think the soil would have been dried on her head and even possibly fallen off if she had been there very long.
I will be worried about her nest. As we sat there watching her just down the opposite side of the field was a racoon heading for shade. He would make short work of those tasty little eggs no doubt.
I wouldn't doubt that even a big Black Kingsnake such as this one wouldn't mind a tasty turtle egg or two for a treat.
As my friend Sandy has stated on her blog, you should be careful as you drive this spring. There are all sorts of animals roaming around, place to place over the roads. Do try to make them safe.
I want to thank my Dearly Beloved for being patient with me, sitting there while the bugs tried to carry us away. Taking pictures with his long lens so we didn't have to disturb anyone.

24 comments:

Cheryl said...

Lisa,

DB is a darling....he understands your needs and that is so important to us woman.

Lovely captures....I do so hope the eggs will be safe but nature is so often cruel, sadly.

I have seen many fatalities on our roads.....people drive much too fast on the country lanes. It saddens me to see young and vulnerable creatures have their life put to an end so swiftly......

Rose said...

This was quite a find, Lisa. I've seen a nest before, but never the actual laying of the eggs. I do hope she hid them well from the raccoon and other predators, but as Cheryl says, nature can often be cruel.

Laurrie said...

Fascinating! How amazing that you got to see this and photograph it.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I spent eight summers running the scenic painting department for sn opera company in rural central New York. I'd keep an old tennis racquet in my trunk, to scoot snapping turtles and baby raccoons out of the road. (No way was I risking my fingers!)

Everyone on my staff got an education on local flora and fauna!

Cicero Sings said...

The turtle laying would have been an interesting site to behold! I empathize re the bugs. We've just had a first hatch. Mosquitoes like me but even worse are those flies that take holes out of one ... those bites take WEEKS to heal. Fortunately they only live during the month of June.

SandyCarlson said...

Wow. What a treat to see this happen. Talk about a girls' day out! Let's hope the predators go for lunch someplace else.

Julie said...

Very cool!!!

Gail said...

Lisa, What a wildlife day you've had! Love seeing the turtle in her nest~gail

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Hi Lisa,
How great to have come across the turtle laying its eggs. I hope the snake and racoon don't make off with the eggs after all that effort the turtle put in burying them!

SandyCarlson said...

Your photos are gorgeous.

Turtles invite us into forever.

May we know this.

shirl said...

Wow Lisa... what a sight to see there! Wonderful :-)

Yes, you make a good point about watching the side of the road just now. I hate to see road kill.

Nan said...

FIrst of all, the blog header photo is just amazing. What a great shot.
I can imagine how you must feel - like you've been allowed in to one of nature's secret miracles. So, so wonderful.
The snake, though. Ooh, not so great. 'My' garter snakes are the most I can take, snakewise.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I had a snapping turtle dig a nest in my backyard one year. It took her FOREVER and i'm not sure if she laid eggs or not, after all that work. I never did see any baby turtles coming up. It sure was an honor to be able to watch, though.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

What a fantastic experience, Lisa! I'm glad you got to watch this. I saw a turtle on the side of the road earlier in the week and wanted to take her home with me to my pond, but I resisted. She was on a mission, and so long as she was safe, I was okay with that.

Meems said...

Hi Lisa,
It is so nice to get out among nature and really see what's going on. Love that you got to see the momma turtle make her nest and lay her eggs... I'm sure she'll take really good care of them.
Meems

cyndy said...

Great photos..I hope her eggs make it without being destroyed...the food chain is a scary place...

I wonder how old she was?

Cowgirl Red said...

Oh Lisa, you are really speaking to me with the turtle talk and pics. I love turtles!!! Wonderful pictures and thoughts. We have snapping turtles, but I rarely see them unless I am out on the pond and it is raining, sometimes they will surface. I feed many water turtles with my catfish on the pond everymorning. They fascinate me. It's super hot here too. Terah

Cowgirl Red said...

PS, 2 years ago I saw one of our water turtles laying her eggs, so I put a barricade around the spot. Basically on this place....if anyone messes with my turtles they might just have to die or take a serious whoopin' from me. xoxo Terah

Marvin said...

What a great find, Lisa. We've seen snappers moving through, but never one laying eggs.

Sissy said...

Wow! Snakes and raccoons and turtles! You have so much going on! Love your blog banner.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Wonderful story Lisa. I loved it. Yes, I always worry about the turtles, frogs and snakes, but not the copperheads.

Sorry. I do not like them. They are scary. I do like king snakes. They are beautiful creatures.~~Dee

Barbara said...

Lucky you to have the chance to observe this laying of the eggs. I hope they will be safe until its time for the youngs to come out. It seems that you are very often at the right time in the right place :-) !!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Lisa that was amazing ! i have seen it on TV shows and one time we found a big snapping turtle on our front yard (we have no idea how it got there .. but the boys took it to a safe wetland area .. very carefully!) .. the snake picture was amazing with all the ripples of its body .. maybe you should read Lona's story on how she feels about snakes ? LOL
Joy : ) hehehe

Q said...

Dear Lisa,
I have so enjoyed catching up with you and your posts. So very wonderful to watch the turtle lay her eggs. Wow. I love turtles and this was a gift indeed.
We watch the road for critters all year long.
Often we stop to let deer cross the highways.
Bless your DB.......he takes nice photographs.
Hugs,
Sherry