But this was a female wood turtle in the process of backfilling her nest after deposing eggs.
The backfilling was done at turtle speed in turtle time. As can be seen, the turtle operated just as a conscientious person would do when placing fill – putting some backfill in the hole (we call that a “lift”) and compacting that before adding more fill –
Although the turtle had already partially filled the hole before we found her, we watched for 43 minutes before she finished and, apparently satisfied, slowly walked back toward the stream.
H. and I rode on and in less than a half mile found another female wood turtle excavating a hole in which to lay her eggs –
This lady turtle had apparently begun a number of nearby nest holes that had subsequently been abandoned when she got through a shallow layer of screenings and encountered the large ballast stones. Given how long it had taken to backfill the other nest, and lunch beckoned, we decided to ride on.