In five minutes it had successfully pulled another three eggs out from the soft-shelled turtle's nest beneath the sand, and temporarily hiding them away in the area.
It was about to continue and go for a fourth egg when crow #1 arrived back and this time the dispute over the spoils was much more physical.
However, the violence was short lived and one of them immediately dived for the turtle’s nest and flew off with yet another one of the soft-shelled turtles eggs.
From this point on I could not tell who each crow was, because now they both seemed completely unwary of my presence as they went about their poaching. (No pun intended)
During the next nine minutes another 6 eggs were removed and carried away by one or both of the crows.
At 5:30 pm as I started to leave crow #2 appeared. I know it was crow #2 because it went quickly and directly to the very first egg it had hidden next to the boardwalk under some leaves and flew away with it.
In nature this event was simply one more struggle for survival, where the victor(s) got the spoils, I got a few nature journal photos and slight sunburn.
Sadly the loser is the soft-shelled turtle who lays from 4 to 22 eggs. By my count 17 eggs had been pilfered during the 2 plus hours siege observed before I left at 5:45 PM., with over an hour of very good daylight still remaining for the crows to continue.
On returning the next day the nest site was found more heavily disturbed with multiple holes, where there had been but one hole the day before.
There’s probably every chance that the turtle nest was completely emptied, if not by the crows then by another marauder of the woods.