There’s not much competition between a long-necked turtle shell and a heavy duty truck on a gravel road. Sadly the turtles (chelodina longicollis) don’t know that, and set off as soon as the rains came looking for romance in alternate ponds and dams.
This one I saw after dodging dozens of excited frogs flaunting themselves in the middle of the sealed road. I saw no frogs on the gravel road (either the frogs don’t like the gravel as much, or they’re indistinguishable from small rocks), just this turtle. The turtle’s shell was still green and muddy, presumably from whatever damp place it found to hide during the drought.
At least, unlike the fish and water bugs, turtles can breath the air and not the sludge that has been coming downstream from the Orroral fire ground south of Canberra. The ash has turned the river black, and hasn’t settled even after a couple of weeks.
The weird curdling effect was very striking where the cleaner water from Mullion Creek blended into the ashy water in the river. Elsewhere it was a smoother chocolate milkshake, but not one I’d like to drink. My water testing showed very high levels of phosphates in both the river and the creek. I suspect this was because of the bare ground allowing it to leach out.
Anyway, the turtle kept to its own side of the road, heading for Suzanne’s small dam. Perhaps it will lay some eggs and make some new turtles. Meanwhile the hills around us are finally getting a better colour – green instead of dry brown. It’s nice to see some flesh on the bare bones, but still a long way to go to a healthy landscape.
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