Saturday, October 23, 2010

Can Cutler cut it? Sept. 25th 2010

With the herping year rumbling towards its end, we wanted to give Cutler Reservation another chance. (Remember earlier this year? Suckage...) It was a much cooler day (though still nearing 80) so we thought we might score a glimpse of those alleged black racers that live around there...

We headed in, enjoying the boardwalk and the repairs that it underwent this year.

There were giant green BEGINNING OF THE END-type grasshoppers all over, which was very nice... I haven't seen them since I was a kid! Sadly, every time I had a really good sized one, the camera pooped out on us.

We walked alongside the rocky hill that holds up the train tracks, which is where these racers supposedly hang out. No snakes, but evidence exists! A racer skin!

So, we went through the tunnel, which leads to the trails that lace through the rest of Cutler. Midway through this cool, dark place we saw our first herp... a fine (fat) figure of an American Toad!
I like the juxtaposition between the lovely natural toadiness of the animal and the eye-soreiness of the graffiti and litter. Hey, if it doesn't bother him, it shouldn't bother me, I guess...

On the other side of the tunnel, we did some flipping and started to find some Redbacks!
This one's a lead-back. Notice the Grasshopper Tar on my hands from an earlier catch.

At this point, Andrea's achilles tendonitis was flaring up badly so, despite our newly acquired luck, we had to turn back. Of course, we had to check out our toad-pal on the way back through the tunnel...

On the way back across the boardwalk, I grabbed a few smaller grass-hoppers to try to photograph, if the fucking camera would cooperate. It did.
(I even caught one on my snake stick!)

At the end of the boardwalk, a miracle happened. I saw a fine garter snake coiled off to the right. This is what he looked like!
He didn't bite (though he threatened) but he musked the bejesus out of me! Still, a good sized and beautiful Garter Snake.

Sad to think, as I write this on October 23rd, that he might be our last snake of 2010. A busy October and cool days have made it very hard to get back out. Hopefully today.

At any rate, Cutler is back in our good graces and will be a hike we take often in 2011.

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