I took a call at the office today from Mrs PP. She had a ‘problem’.
The Little Fellas had got home from school and discovered a turtle in our backyard area. I posted about the turtles nesting this time of the year recently – here.
It is possible that the turtle had wandered up from the swampy area of Lake Seppings, but it is more likely that she simply lumbered her way up the hill from the pond at the park opposite us.
Somehow she navigated the park and whatever was going on over there, managed to cross the road and wandered up our drive. This is where it gets interesting. She is suspected of laying eggs in our sandy, unfinished back area by the retaining wall. How she got there is a mystery but Mrs PP is adamant that she must have got up a step or two of our staircase, made it into the garden bed under our staircase and from there gone under our house to the back yard and hit SAND!
I’m thinking that, she was probably figuring as long as she was heading UPWARDS, she would be getting closer to a nesting spot and eventually hit SAND. And she did. Lots of it. Along with a 2 metre high retaining wall.
At this point she was probably content to either:
- Dig a sandy hole and lay her eggs, or
- Call it quits and try and make it back to the pond.
Either possibility is likely, though given the time of day and the conditions it is more likely that we probably have a bunch of turtle eggs in our brickies sand somewhere. It’s dark now and we’ve not managed to get out there to check, besides, their not going anywhere. Safe for now.
Though an absolutely amazing feat of sheer determination, other possibilities that we ran through didn’t seem to stack up. Had she gone around the other side of the house she would have left tracks in the sand – yet there were none.
She could have gone up the side street and around the corner to the top of our block, or the side through the neighbours and fallen over the retaining wall. This has occurred whilst the house was getting renovated with a Black Duck and her ducklings. But our ambitious turtle would have passed many places she could have happily and safely laid her eggs had she gone that way.
For now I am proud that Mrs PP was able to safely get our swampy princess into a cardboard box amongst a throng of little fellas (the usual after-school tribe that hangs around) and safely over to the park to allow her to make it safely home.
At the same time another turtle was spotted in the kids sandpit at the park, and was returned to the water by some park goers. Hopefully that turtle had the energy and patience to make it to another location to lay her eggs. Being suburbia there are limited options I would think, to get to a patch of sand that isn’t going to be interfered with for 6-8 months.
So, there we have it. Such a wonderful experience for the Little Fellas and their mates to witness. What particularly strikes me is the determination of these wonderful creatures and how this special event marks the season. Along with the frogs calling in our yard I am starting to really notice more of the subtleties of how nature marks the changing seasons. These little occurrences are much more prevalent here at Tillellan than at our previous house. Mostly because of our proximity to many amazing habitats.
I feel for the turtles. There are usually casualties on the local roads, despite sign posting put out by the local council each year. Then there is the time it takes for the eggs to develop and the hatchlings having to make the journey back to the water when they hatch. I am grateful we have been able to take care of this one and hope that if there are eggs in the backyard, that we can at least identify the area so we can keep them safe.
Turtle Watch Fact Sheet – If you are a local, this is worth looking at.