I like to walk. Walk along the rivers, streams. through the woods and fields, maybe just around the block. But there was one walk a few years ago I should not have taken. That was the walk around the beaver pond in Fairfield, Ohio,   
     I had visited the pond many times. Sometimes after a heavy rain the dam would be damaged but the beavers would quickly get to work repairing it. They turned a small stream into a large pond by building that dam.
     Well, back to that fateful walk. As I walked along the edge of the pond on that cool spring morning I observed a kingfisher and two or three blue herons, each trying to catch his breakfast of small fish. Dozens of bullfrogs and greenfrogs jumped into the glistening water as I disturbed their peacefull morning. Every so often I heard the sound of a fish breaking the surface of the water.  I saw a few turtles in the beaver pond.  I thought I saw a large snake, but it was just a crooked stick. It's funny how your mind can play tricks on you as you anticipate what you will see next.  It was just a stick. 
     It was then that I frightened the mother duck. She was sitting behind a tuft of long grass just inches from the water. She didn't see me approaching and I didn't see her till she hit the water, with four very small ducklings right behind her. The babies couldn't have been more than a day or two old. She quickly led them across the pond to an area where "the intruder" could not bother them.
     Watching them as they crossed the pond I took a few more steps, then a surprise, a fifth duckling jumped into the pond. Why he was left behind I don't know. Maybe he was sleeping. He hit the water and started calling out to his mother, peep, peep, peep. Then his mother called from the other side of the pond. She would call with a quack and the baby would respond with a peep. It was funny to watch.  
     The young duckling got half way to its mother, then suddenly dissappeared. Something pulled it under water.  It was gone!  I couldn't believe it.  About two seconds later it popped back to the surface. It was calling frantically to its mother now. Calling fast and loud. Peep, peep, peep, peep. The mother duck raced to try to get to her young one. She traveled across that water faster than I thought a duck could swim. But It was too late, the duckling was pulled under again, this time he didn't come back up. 
     I don"t know what got the poor thing. A large catfish?  Maybe.  But now that I think about it I think it was probably a
snapping turtle. I had seen a large one in that pond one time before.
     The mother duck seemed bewildered, she swam in a circle a few times, still calling out. Of course there was no reply, In a few seconds she headed back to the ducklings she had left on the other side of the pond. Did any of them understand what had just happened?  I don't know. A second later it was just as if nothing had happened. Everything back to normal.
     The kingfisher and herons were still trying to catch breakfast, the frogs still jumped in ahead of my footsteps. The stick was still a stick. But I kept wishing that I would have walked somewhere else. Then the baby duck would not have met his fate on that spring morning. 
      Be careful.  There are a lot of snapping turtles out there.   And they don't all live in a beaver pond.   Take care.