It must be softshell turtle egg laying season. I saw several large females at the Dan Click ponds. Unlinke other times when I see them laying there weren’t a whole lot of birds mobbing them for the eggs. I really wanted to get pictures of them flinging the sand around but it was hot, and I didn’t feel like getting dirty in lieu of the errands I was about to go run.
Softshell Turtles(Trionyx ferox) are found statewide in Florida, but also in other southeastern state like Georgia and North Carolina less frequently. They have a unique shell that doesn’t exactly cover the carapace giving them the appearance of being soft. Like many turtle species the females are humongous compared to the males and can become very large; sometimes up to two feet long. They have a unique way of obtaining food. Being mostly carnivorous, they bury themselves in the sand and use their pointed nose as a snorkel waiting for crustaceans, fish, and other small things to float by. (I have a picture of this somewhere… I’ll try to post it later.)
Beware trying to pick one up. They have extremely long necks and very powerful jaws they won’t hesitate to bite you with. The females are also very heavy.