The wood turtles are laying eggs! Last week, I stumbled up the bank near the creek and spotted a freshly dug nest. I shifted my gaze a few inches higher, and found the excavator herself - a large female with a carapace length of perhaps eight inches. I left her, and thought her gone for good. Until yesterday.
A stroll down the road to the sight of last week's excavation was productive. As a peered over the guard rail to scan the gravel bank, a female wood turtle - perhaps the same one as last week - had her lower body immersed in a hole in the gravel. I left to tell a neighbor who I thought might be interested in seeing this. Upon our return, he spotted a second turtle five yards away from the first. Both had holes started.
That was around eight in the evening on June 2nd. Today, June 3rd, I found the turtles still digging, but at different locations at nine in the morning. The orange legs and torso, the slatey green-brown backs, and the pyramidal concentric rings were clearly evident. I took some pictures and left the ladies to do their thing undisturbed.
Researching these turtles has reminded me of some of the amazing attributes of their physical construction, their behaviors, and their life histories. More on those things later.