Sunday, May 31, 2009
First find was a young Green Frog.
Then a redback attacked Andrea and tried to get into her purse...
Then we found a Garter Snake and a Milk Snake at the same time... multiple hands were required.
Then we got Milk Snake and Ringneck fever! This little shoestring sized milksnake was biting Andrea AND a ringneck three times his size. What an asshole!
Two more ringnecks were hiding out nearby!
Eventually, we hit the dam, which was cleared after all. It looks way different...
This snapper didn't appreciate the tarp that was still there...
I untangled her and she turned around and buried herself in some mud.
The dam area, formerly known as snake alley, wasn't too snakey, but at the end of it, a huge arsed water snake was hanging about.
We found one more Garter Snake on the way out and this one did me bad... he musked the fuck out of me. We always say that we'd rather get bitten than musked. It's true. Garter snake musk smells like rotting skunk assholes and it is impossible to wash off. Still, he was a cutie-pie.
A big day... Ponkapoag redeemed itself!
Monday, May 25, 2009
Karmellah and David came by to treat us to a delicious lunch (Thanks!) and then a walk in the Arboretum. The Arboretum is an OK place for herping, but we've never seen snakes (alive, anyway) and turtles are scarce. Too many dogs and kids roaming around.
This time was different, though. At a pond, Karm was zooming in to photograph a King Bird that was posing nicely and almost stepped on a garter snake that was trying to not get stepped on. We grabbed him, he musked Mike (not badly) and nipped a bit. After photographing, Andrea held him and recieved her first good snake bite in years of herping. She now looks forward to many more.
Bull frogs and Green frogs were abundant. We even saw a painted turtle basking in a hidden pond.
A surprisingly successful walk, all achieved in about an hour!
We explored new areas of the refuge and, while the snakes remained fairly scarce, it was a phib-tastic day! We did see two snakes... a fleeting glimpse of a ribbon snake disappearing into the grass (I missed it- Mike) and caught a young garter snake.
The frogs were out in force!
We saw pickerel frogs,
and bull frogs.
We saw dozens of redback salamanders
and our first red eft of the year.
We even found a painted turtle on land. She emptied her cloaca all over, then hid inside her shell... like any self respecting chelonian would.
It was the day of the toad, though. We lost count of the American Toads that we saw on this 4 hour trek. Big ones and little ones and they all looked put upon.
We even saw a swan with her goslings!
An exhausting but successful day.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Another sunny Friday, so we went to Forest Hills to Turtle-watch for a spell before dinner.
Geese watched us
The Painted Turtles were enjoying the sun… on rocks and on the shore.
Our snappy pal was on the shore in the shade again. Now we’re a bit concerned. He’s an old guy and maybe he’s getting near the end of his days. I don’t know. He let me sit next to sit and, other than regarding me with his tiny eyes, didn’t have much to say.
He sure is a sexy chelonian, though
We saw a half dozen red-backs, which is nice, but they’re (humans, not the phibs...) working on the dam there, so snake alley (the dam area) and frog alley (just before) are under construction. It kinda pisses us off. We want to do some nature-walkin’ dammit! We may have to plan an alternate route for Ponk now, which sucks because it was an almost sure-thing to see nice sized water snakes before.
After such an exhausting Saturday, you’d think we would have sat tight on Sunday, relaxing and rubbing our sore feet. Fuck that! It was going to be in the Nineties and we needed more herps!
We went to one of our favorite places, the Boyden refuge in Taunton Mass. This is pretty much a surefire snake place. We first found an American Toad, our first of the year. As toads do, he looked very put-upon. We found a few red-backs as well, and even got a decent pic with no snakes lunging at it!
More ‘phibs were found, including our first Bullfrog and Peeper of the year.
The squamates were a bit more elusive than we’d have liked. Much of the debris that serves as artificial cover (AC) has been cleaned up, which is good in one way, but bad for snakin’.
We did, however, find our friend from last year, the gargantuan Black Racer, in his rusty scrap pile. He slid over into his door, which we lifted for a photo op. He sped off and showed why they’re called racers.
The only other snake we saw was an adult Ribbon Snake next to a pond. I tried to get him to photo, but this little shit with a brain the size of a pea led me into some brambles and then cut into the pond and swam away… under water! Cool to see, and totally worth the shredding my legs took.