A week or so ago, I was walking Riley down at the lake when I heard a great commotion. Two ducks rushed out of the weeds, um, hooked together. The drake was behind, and the female was marching in circles, the drake waddling back and forth, trying to stay, um, attached. The female was quacking loudly.
I stared until it occurred to me that this was a private moment, and then I hustled Riley on down the path.
A few nights later, we saw a couple of somethings ... woodchucks? Water rats? Some brown and furry creatures, anyway, cavorting on a mudbar. This time I didn't stop to gawk, but averted my eyes and kept going. Riley, who has disapproved of such nonsense ever since his Great Operation, averted his eyes, too.
You know what they say in journalism; three makes a trend. All I needed was one more sighting and I could officially report to you that mating is all the vogue.
Sadly, I have not seen a third instance, but tonight I saw evidence that mating had occurred, and that's almost as good. A giant turtle had dug a hole in the sandy soil between the walking path and the lake. Riley and Boscoe and I happened upon her on the evening walk in a lovely soft rain. The turtle had her back end in the hole and her head pulled mostly into her shell.
I have watched these giant turtles lay their eggs in springs past, and the egg drops out shaped like a teardrop, but firms up roundly once it has dropped and turns white.
Then they spend some time making swimming motions with their legs, to push the loose dirt back over the eggs. This can take quite a while, because turtles, as you know, are seldom in a hurry.
This turtle, though, was not moving. Riley wanted to sniff her, but I pulled him on down the trail. Either she was dead, in which case sex had done her in, or she was alive, and if he got too close she would do him in.
Either way, I figured we should keep moving. But I'll be looking for her tomorrow morning, to see if she's still there and still not moving, or if she's gone, which means there will be baby turtles some time fairly soon.
Drink With Me
5 hours ago