Friday, July 31, 2009


After the Hale disaster, I thought we would never go nature walking again.

It was Sunday afternoon and it was nice out so Andrea coaxed me into a walk, but we stuck close to home. We figured that we'd hit Allendale Woods and look for this supposed pond that may or may not exist.

We took a different path and found the stream... a good start. We found this Two-lined salamander...

The stream trickled along and was quite beautiful

We saw a hiker and asked where this mythical "duck pond" was. She said it was up at the top. So we turned around and headed up a path.

Know how I said that every garter snake in Allendale was shoestring sized? It turns out that's not true. This little fella was actually quite large, pushing 3 feet.

So I taunted him.

He didn't care much for that.

I guess he won that argument..

We found a lovely swampy area. Could this be the pond?

No, and this tree called us assholes.

We made our way uphill again and saw this waterfall...

I ran up to see the source. Well whaddaya know? It's duck pond!

Holy shit! This is sitting there all secluded-like in the middle of Boston! So peaceful and nice! These guys were enjoying it:

We made our way out, all excited with our find.

Of course, with a hot day on the horizon, we figured that we'd go back after Andrea got out of work on Friday. We went in the old fashioned way to see if we could find the pond with with a more familiar path.

The welcoming committee let us in and we headed straight up.

We found it pretty easily, though the light was rapidly dwindling.

This bull frog called me a dork.

This tree called me a twat.

I'm not sure what this one called me but I'm sure it was dirty.

At any rate, my faith was restored in nature walks. Finding the time to blog about it, however, sucks it big time!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 11th- Hale Reservation... Bleh

We tried Hale Reservation in Westwood last year one time on a dreary day and saw many frogs and one snake that went by in a flash. So, we decided that it deserved another chance on a good day. This was a good day, weather wise, so to Hale we went.

OK, this place has more human traffic than we like, so we picked a trail to stay away from the main pond. Well, so much "let's make this the family camping place for people who don't really like nature" construction was going on that our trail disappeared somewhere around a group of foul smelling, diaper filled dumpsters and a pile of work trucks. Getting a bit pissed, we turned back and went around the main pond.

Whatever, when there weren't other humans around, there was some beautiful, secluded places to enjoy nature (though the sound of frolicking homo-sapiens was never really out of ear shot).

Besides the new cabins being put up all over, there has been much clearing of growth and brush around the pond. Like we said... nature for people who don't really like the outdoors. 3/4 of the way around the pond, we finally saw some turtles sunning themselves from very far away and (for the first time) took out the camera to snap a few grainy shots.

We continued up a root covered path and saw 2 wood frogs.

For people who nature walk as much as we do, we noted just how grueling a 2+ mile hike through the woods on uneven paths is when there's no animals to keep you excited. We both wished it was over an hour before it was.

Hale- you've really ripped your pants with me. Next time, we'll just go to Ponk. Good day to you SIR!

Snake Bar-B-Q! July 5th

We took a last minute invite to a family barbeque in Middleton Mass and since the weather was good (for the second day in a row!!) we thought we'd check out some of the neighbor's stone walls for squamates.

This shit was like shooting fish in a barrel! There were dozens of garters and a few ribbons littering the place! Andrea said "don't forget to check the grass too" and looking down, there were snakes! This is my kind of house!

Of course, we had no camera with us so we'll have to post a couple of phone-shots and a pic we took at home showing the aftermath of an excellent, grinding bite that one young garter laid on Mike's paw.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

July 4th- Inde-Peepers Day

We went to the other side of the Blue Hills to see something different. There is more human activity there, so we usually avoid it. But what the hell... 2nd day in a row of herping so anything would be gravy.

We went to the main entrance and bought a map, which is something we've needed. We checked out the "Turtles of the Blue Hills" pond that is on display outside to see some cute chelonians.

We decided on a fairly small (2 1/2 mile) trail and set out to see what was around. There were fat, Ellie-like toads.

There were a couple of quick garter snakes that handed us our asses. Redbacks were around as well, as was a wood frog.

The best part of the hike was a pond that was thick with peepers. They were all over, all were tiny and hopping all around. They were under rocks, stuffed inside logs, swimming, and just everywhere. One enterprising young garter snake was hunting but we couldn't catch him. We spent an hour looking around this secluded pond.

A green frog watched us behave like two year olds.

Did I mention that the pond was filthy with tadpoles and newts? It was!

On the way back, we finally caught a young garter snake, who musked me and I wiped his vent on a fern. Nature's toilet paper.

I'd call it successful.

July 3rd

Another day of crappy weather. Another day where we said- who cares? Let's just herp. We went to Ponk. Here's what we saw.

A lovely water snake that continually handed me my ass...

It seems he's also the legendary Ponk-Ness Monster-

Caught this guy, though he was very mean and struck often. Didn't get me though (surprisingly)

It rained, but we didn't care.

Ringnecks were less abundant but still represented.

Then we found the friendliest garter snake of the year... a real sweetie!

Another day of low expectations proved to be A-OK.

Friday, July 3, 2009

IT AIN'T ALL ABOUT THE SNAKES- Boyden Refuge- June 27th

We headed off to Taunton to Boyden Refuge because of the tempting weather report. Althogh sun was sparse, we managed to do a complete run without getting pissed on, thought the clouds threatened all day.

We took our regular route and hit the fragrance garden, a place full of promise, but we'd only seen shed skins and zillions of wasps, so we didn't expect anything again. We found this lovely green tiger beetle.

Then, flipping flat rocks, this mammoth garter snake greeted us.

Under some tarp, this ready-to-shed milk snake was hanging out.

Could it be that this would be a Boynton Snake day of old? No.

Garter bunk beds, toad hollow, racer alley, car graveyard... all yeilded no squamates. So we decided to enjoy the other flora and fauna that the refuge offered.

Like a toad (at the bunk beds...)

A bunny!

A turkey that didn't seem to notice us.

We watched this swan.

We saw an osprey hunting by dive-bombing the water, but couldn't photograph him. So we got these cool still lifes instead.
And a still death or two...

These turtles found that basking space was at a premium.

So, while sometimes we think that 2009 isn't so great at Boyden, we'll still give it a shot because there is so much worthwhile nature to see there.