Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesGosling

The other day we watching a family of Canada Geese coming slowly up the river. Three adults, three young ones and another somewhere in between. We had seen them a couple of hours before going slowly down the river. The adults front an back, keeping a wary eye on things. The kids exploring every nook and cranny along the bank.....eating just about anything they could find, including leaves from bushes and fronds of marsh grass.

They worked there way up to the beaver dam and exploring a little bay when there wasd a great commotion. Lots of flapping of wings and honking. It was hard to tell what had alarm,ed them. Thought maybe a dog on the bank. Then saw one of the little ones was thrashing more than the others and having a hard time staying above the surface. It was caught on something, or something had caught it. A large snapping turtle had it by one leg and was dragging it down. The water was about three or four feet deep. Heart wrenching to watch. The little thing would struggle to the surface only to be dragged down again. Weaker and more bedraggled every time. The parents stopping their commotion and hustled the kids away. Nobody wanted to watch the inevitable.

I should have acted sooner but you can understand my misgivings. With considerable reluctance, and armed only with a bamboo rake, I waded into the water and got as close as I dared go. The water was too deep and murky to see the turtle but I put the rake under the gosling and brought it to the surface and it took a gasp of air before the turtle pulled it down again. Did this several times, occasionally prodding the turtle with the pointed end of the rack. Seemed like a loss cause. That turtle had a good grip and had no intention of letting go. Some lucky plunge must have hit it in the head though and to every ones surprise the gosling came loose. I put the rake between it and the turtle,raised it up and It swam out of reach. There wasn't much life in it but it dragged itself out of the water and on too the beaver dam. The rest of the family was long gone at this point but we hope that it rejoined them and wasn't so badly hurt that it couldn't recover.

I have an agreement with the snapping turtle in the river. I have to wade around out there several times over the coarse of the summer. Setting up my rocks and weeding the river, that would get chocked up with water weeds if I didn't. Our agreement was I wouldn't bother them if they didn't bother me. I have obvious broken that agreement now and who knows what the future holds. Hope if I wear a different pair of river shoes the snapping turtles will think it was some body else that took their super away.



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