Here on our mini-mountain in upstate New York, the latter part of May brings the March of the Mama Turtles. They leave their familiar pond, and start their journey: they climb a slight incline, cross a narrow strip of woodland, and navigate our wide side yard to reach the shallow south-facing bank to the right of our driveway - a journey of about four hundred yards.
Our visitors are Eastern/Midland Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta picta/Chrysemys picta marginata). The two sub-species interbreed easily and frequently here. The environment in and surrounding our pond supports the needs of both.
Each female digs a nest with her hind feet and lays four to eight eggs; the larger the turtle, the larger the clutch. The eggs will incubate over the next 72 to 80 days. We'll keep an eye on the thermometer to see whether we get girl turtles or boy turtles. If the temperature during the middle third of incubation is between 73–81 °F, the hatchlings will be male; temperatures above or below that range will produce females.
We also have Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), and we have snappers (Chelydra serpentina) as well. The box turtles would be welcome to use our yard, but they stick to the woodlands. The snappers cross the road fronting our house when they feel the call; I've acted as crossing guard a time or three, maintaining a VERY cautious distance from the creature I'm trying to protect.