A prof friend and I were checking out an old lake bed, now tiled and farmed, located up northwest of Ames. It was on the way to our destination - the confluence of the Boone and the Des Moines River. She wanted to show me the lake bed and the remnant oaks that once encircled the bowl that held this ancient body of water.
Heading back to the highway, she spotted this snapper from the gravel road; it was sliding across the top of an embankment of a channelized stream. We had to have a closer look and get some fotos, so we pulled on our muck boots and crossed the ditch.
We finally decided that she was probably laying her eggs. The muddy smear and disturbed soil across the ridge was a strong clue. When I got home, I googled the turtle, and sure enough, it was a snapper...and the females lay their eggs in June. Good to know she is right on schedule.