Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back to Ponkapoag- July 8th 2010

After two days of working on the new house, we NEEDED to get back to nature!! We had to hang around in the morning to wait for our new washing machine to get delivered, but planned to get out after. After all... we're on vacation and this is what we wanted to do!

The washer was delivered fairly late, but we are, as always, ready to find cute animals! So even though it was after 3PM... off we went!

Of course, the heatwave was still flaming on. We doubted we'd have any snake sightings but figured that maybe when the sun was setting we'd get lucky.

We got to Ponk at about 3:30PM and hit the trails. Salamanders were still active, though incredibly hard to photograph for some reason!

Earthworms were dancing around... Crazy Worms we call 'em!

Once we got to the dam area, frogs started being really easy to find! Like this mammoth Bullfrog!
Massive Bullfrog

And his younger brother...

While walking the dam, I saw a strange sight... a Painted Turtle just relaxing in the grass. She looked a little something like this...
Put-upon Painted Turtle

Right next to her was this young Green Frog:
Young Green Frog

We put the turtle back down and she proceeded to charm us!

Snakes might have been in short supply this day but the Avian world was well accounted for! Here's a Redwinged Blackbird gaping in the heat...

In the distance, a Cormorant was enjoying the pond...

The only other hiker on the dam was this Rock Dove (OK... pigeon. Note the tag on his foot)

This family of Canadian Geese was grazing and the two adults hissed when we tried to use the path!

We'd planned to go all the way around the pond, but Andrea has a bone-spur on her foot and it was hurting badly. We doubled back at the halfway mark (to avoid tougher trails) but still saw some amazing animals on the way back!

Andrea spotted a real rarity- a crawfish walking on dry land!
This good-sized gal had eggs all over her belly.

This young Painted Turtle was trying to catch the last rays of sunlight...

Andrea got a nice shot of this Red Squirrel, a species that seems almost as prevalent here as the Grey Squirrels!

Our last animal of the day was a Pickerel Frog, who was just hanging out in the path, fearless. Andrea got this photo with NO ZOOM... just got all up in his grill!

Foot pain, late start and heat aside, this was a great day and a welcome return to Ponkapoag Pond! Plus, we got to wash our dirty clothes in a new washer when we got home!


  1. Thanks for posting such great photos! I'm with the Friends of the Blue Hills and we're asking folks to share what they've seen in the Blue Hills with others on our facebook page. If you want, you could just put a link to your blog - or upload the photos directly. Either way, it'd be great to share them with other lovers of the Blue Hills!

    Judy Jacobs
    Executive Director
    Friends of the Blue Hills

  2. Hi Judy! Thanks for the suggestion! I will join the facebook page! I can't wait to see what other people are finding there!


  3. "Up in his grill" -- HA! Hilarious that I got up in a leopard frog's grill.

    It's too bad my foot was acting up so badly that day. I'm so glad I've recovered for that. I need to stretch more than I have been.

  4. Mike,

    Thanks for posting on our Facebook page!


  5. The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) is asking interested conservationists for reports or sightings of certain specific reptiles and amphibians.

    The species of NHESP interest include: Smooth Greensnake, Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Eastern Ribbonsnake, Eastern Musk Turtle, Spotted Turtle, and the Northern Leopard Frog. NHESP is particularly interested in sightings of the Eastern Hog-nosed Snake.

    These particular species are of interest for a variety of reasons:

    1) The species is thought to be rare, declining or vulnerable, but there is insufficient information on the condition, number and size of populations to make a determination;

    2) The species was removed from the official regulatory list, but the Program believes it still is in need of some conservation attention;

    3) The species distribution and abundance are not well known. Herpetologists want to bring attention to and track reports of these reptiles and amphibian in order to determine whether any of the species listed are appropriate for proposal to the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act list.

    Anyone who has seen the above mentioned wildlife is encouraged to submit a Rare Animal Observation Form found on-line: Information needed includes date of sighting, specific mapped location and a photo of the observed animal. Submit the form, map and photo(s) to: Data Manager, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA 01581.

    For more information about this conservation effort, visit:

  6. Are you sure that leopard frog is not a pickerel frog?

  7. Nope- not sure at all! I'm still having trouble with my pickerel/ leopard differences! Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks, Anon!

  8. Mike,hola,estoy esperando nuevas fotografias ,deseo mucho verlas porque son muy hermosas.Realmente sos un artista.Les mando un beso a vos y a tu esposa.Tu amiga Martha
    + Hi, Mike! I´m looking forward to looking at your new photos because they are very beautiful. You are really an artist. Best wishes to you and your wife. Your friend, Martha