Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 1st- Boy oh Boyden!

Psyched to get our collective buttocks back into the wilds of Boyden Refuge in Taunton, we started with a large brekkie at 50's Diner and pulled in to the refuge's parking lot at roughly 11 AM.

It didn't take long to spot or first herp tauntin' us in Taunton... this behemoth redback!

Further down the path, the Fragrance Garden gave us a thrill to remember. First up was a pair of snakelets with 'tude. The garter was trying his Jimmy Durante impression out while the milk snake (1st of 2010) sided him.
Milk Snake Ignores Garter's Durante impression

Both of these guys were very bitey... biting us, each other and just being assholes in general. My kinda young, tenacious squamates!
Andrea gets tagged!
Andrea's 1st bite of 2010
Happy snakes!

Something caught my eye while Andrea was playing with the vicious snakes... our first toad of 2010!

The real surprise came within minutes...

We were looking through some rocks and the plants below us were rustling. I cleared some of the ground cover and found this...
Ummm... too cute!
And then Andrea found another... even smaller- with it's egg tooth still attached!!
Happy turtles!
They were within a small area bordered by brick... easy enough for the mother turtle to lay eggs and get out, but far too high of a barrier for these lil' fellas to get out of. What to do? Do we play God and move them closer to the pond? To we let them die here? Will they eventually find their way out? Will they just get eaten by something anyway?
Visible egg tooth
Nice plastron, bitch!

They're too cute... we took them towards the pond.
On the way we saw another toad:

and Long Tall Sally:
Long Tall Sally

And then we released the lil' fellas on the hillside near the pond.

This was all in the first 45 minutes of being there, so we could have left... but we'd had a large breakfast and there were many more sights to see. In the following hours we saw...


More toads (You gotta lose your mind in Taunton: Toad City!)


Young green frogs (1st of 2010)
Young green frog

A Mom mouse with her babies suckling (obviously, a tough shot to get... sorry for the quality)
Baby mice suckling on momma

And this keen spider, who shall be ID'd in the future.

Not a bad way to start the year for Taunton! I'd have preferred another snake or two, but those hatchling turtles probably wont be topped all year!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The snakes don't know but the salamanders understand

One bad thing about starting the herping season so early in the year is that when the weather gets back to "normal", i. e. shitty, it's hard to readjust. Early spring weekends are supposed to be cool and rainy and that's just how they had become. Those handfuls of early April snakes were becoming distant memories.

We did some herpless walking here and there and got a few shots, like this chipmunk at the Arboretum-

And we were peered at (in secret) by a mallard (also the Arboretum)-

The last day of April, the weather reports were promising warm weather for the weekend. True herpers that we are, we tried a trek to Allendale after work. Arriving at the woods at 6PM doesn't sound to promising... doubtful on the squamates, but the salamanders shouldn't mind.

First up was a small Spotted Salamander, a species that never fails to impress me... especially when you consider that Allendale is within Boston City limits!
This little guy was way more animated than spotteds usually are... he was roaming around, dancing all over Andrea's hands and arms!

I found a gigantic earthworm... one of the biggest that I've ever seen. Of course, I had to handle it.
Big hinkin' worm

Humongous redbacks...

Daredevil leadbacks...

And more redbacks before the sun went down.

We managed an hour and a half on a Friday night, after work... hungry and tired. We are quite the intrepid herpers! But the real trek would be the next day...