Treks 23 June 2001
The site Terrapin 363 chooses to nest is at the top of a slope in the east track of a heavily traveled dirt road, the center strip of which has been asphalted to prevent rutting. She must claw through hard-packed dirt and pebbles of the consistency of concrete to reach a moist layer of sand a few inches below the surface, into which she deposits her hatchlings in waiting. We located the nest as we saw #363 scrambling on her way back to the marsh and marked it for follow-on observation.
For three months, these eggs will be run over daily by SUVs and pickups, and once weekly by a tank-like garbage truck. Yet, the fates willing, come mid-September after a late summer shower softens the ground marginally, a parade of quarter-ounce hatchlings will tunnel to the surface and scramble into the nearby nursery marsh of south Lieutenant Island.