Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hoar gives us pleasure for FREE! Sept. 18th 2010

When you stop to think about it, going on nature walks is a great way to save money! Most places are free! We get to look for herps, exercise and enjoy each others company while saving money! That's as good as it gets!

There's this place called Hoar Sanctuary nearby. They have a small pamphlet with a Spotted Salamander pictured above the information. That's good enough for us! (Plus, we like the name...)

So we found the place with a bit of trouble, but started our walk. There is a tennis court nearby and we could hear the folks playing as we descended into the woods. The habitat looked great, but it took a while before we found anything. (Except for this funnel web)

Animal wise, this long, tall sally was first. While not a spotty, it's a fine example of a Redback!

True to the pamphlet, this Spotted Salamander was found next!

What could be cuter than a spotty? How about this mini-redback?!
He even makes the modest diamond that I gave Andrea look impressive!

Was there anything there except for Sallies? Yeah! Howza 'bout Green Frogs?

But the sallies started to come hot and heavy, like this darker (shedding?), high walkin' Spotty!

Under-log space was at a premium...

Spotties kept getting biggah and biggah!

(That one guy was particularly photogenic...)

And... oh my... bigger still!

This last guy was the brute of the day!

So yeah... the pamphlet wasn't kidding. Hoar Sanctuary is sick with Spotties! It's a short trail... even with all of the flipping we did, we only spent about 2 hours there.

We'll definitely be paying a visit to this cheap Hoar again in the near future!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9/5/2010- Boyden- now with 33% more ass!

Apologies to those folks who do not want to see my ass (mostly... everyone). Two of my friends (oddly enough, heterosexual men)asked to see my butt again, so I will warn you... it'll be here.

Anyhoo- we got a really early start and got to Boyden at about 8:30 AM. The grass was still covered with dew and it was cool. That didn't help us find any snakes though! Pickerel frogs, however, were out and about!

Redbacks were around as well...

This poor guy was the first to go on my ass (area... admittedly rather high...)
Redback on my ass
Hey proceeded to crawl up and under my shirt, tickling the hell out of me!
Redback walking up under my shirt

We did eventually get lucky and find a lil' shoestring garter snake!

Stay tuned to the end to see the torture we put this guy through...

As they often are in Taunton, toads were well represented!

A pond that is usually there was all but dried up... so we walked through the muck and found lots of frogs, both pickerel and green...

And tons of snail eggs...
Snail eggs

And even a leadback phase of the Redback!

In one beach area, there are always holes dug with turtle shells scattered around, leading me to believe that skunks or raccoons dig them up and eat them before the young chelonians have a chance to hatch. I was happy to reach into a moist hole (easy, now) and dig out empty shells... these guys hatched and were already gone- out in the world doing important turtle things!
Empty turtle nest

It was also an avian-heavy day. There was a group of 4 hawks right overhead- 1 large and 3 medium ones circling above.

Geese and swans had taken over all of the good turtle basking spots!

That didn't seem to bother the two guys in the background here...

I barely got a shot of this beautiful Pearl Crescent Butterfly.

One spot in Boyden had become a girly magazine bonfire area. A few months ago, there just appeared in the middle of a trail, a huge pile of half burned magazines. Someone had disposed of their collection (or had it disposed of by a furious partner). At any rate, having sat there for a while in the rain and sun... the charred magazines had become pretty decent habitat! These ashy pickerels and redbacks are a testament to that!

So, all in all it was a pretty good day, though arriving so early didn't really give us any breaks.

OK- With apologies to Martha, my Mom and anyone else (i.e. everyone in the world...) here is Andrea bravely holding a garter snake where one just shouldn't hold one...

Garter snake and my ass

(Next time, I'll photoshop-shave my rear end better...)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

9/4/2010 Allendale woods on short notice

We hadn't planned on a hike. But we had to go to Home Depot. We pass by Allendale. It was only natural to stop by, even if only for a quickie! *hmmmmm*

Well, we had a pleasant enough walk, but it was late afternoon so we didn't have much time and the possibility of snakes was minimal. We made it to the pond and saw a heron hunting, probably having better luck finding herps than we were!

It took off and amazingly, Andrea got this shot... barely! (The camera was off and NOT at the ready!)

Once SeƱor Heron was gone, some frogs started coming back into sight. least this one Bullfrog did!

We also found a redback on the short (only an hour and a half) walk.
The wee fellow dropped his tail on me!

After shopping (and buying a dryer) we went over to the Dedham Animal Rescue League to play with cats. That's always fun. Every time I'm there, I like to walk the grounds to see the outdoor animals... horses, bunnies, pigs... and to flip stuff. It just LOOKS snakey!

Well... it was! I flipped some wood over near a bush and this young garter snake was coiled up underneath, resting on some gravel!

Quite a beauty he was and it was a great note to end on as we headed home for some dinner!

Friday, September 10, 2010

August 28th... where else?! Ponkapoag!

When you really want to go on a nature walk, just go to Ponk. We did! Here's what we saw!

The Pickerel Frogs were again out in force. There should have been a ton of snakes around feasting on these but we didn't see any here!

This little Painted Turtle thought he was being sly, but we found him!

We were joined on the dam by a couple of ducks...

Check out this shot that Andrea took... what a great pic!! Check out her eye!

Redbacks were abundant and since it was warm, they were crazy fast! We only caught a few!


Andrea made the find of the day with this young Spotted Salamander!

Oh... did I mention toads?

Then we ganged up on a Spring Peeper!

These cormorants watched as we limped our way back to the car... we've been so out of practice and injured. We needed rest after this 5 hour hike!

I have to be honest... we saw two garter snakes and they both handed me my ass. One was cunning enough to lead me into vines covered with prickers and I still have scars to show for it... damn dirty squamates!