Monday, April 19, 2010

April 12th 2010- last minute decision

It was the day after the Boston Comicon which was the day after a late night rock show and we were TOAST! I was sitting at the computer and was wondering what that bright stuff coming from in between the curtains was all about. Damn... it was sunny! Who knew?

I went outside to test the weather. Warm. Possibly herp warm. So we went to Allendale... close by and easy to make into a short walk if need be. We knew that the following weekend we would be out of town, so it was Nature Walk or (at least) a two week nature drought!

Our legs were weary as we walked those trails but we were greeted by some redbacks.

This guy was about an inch long...

We saw Paul Stanley's grave.
Paul Stanley's grave?

Digging through some gunk, I startled Andrea by saying out loud... "Oh my goodness..." Here's why!
What a nice Spotted!

Now THAT'S a fine hunk o' mander! Even this woodpecker was impressed!

Later, Andrea flipped a log and found another spotted and two small, nearly black sallies. We think they might have been leadback phase redbacks, but they were really cantankerous and ran all over. They were impossible to photograph and one dropped his tail really easily.
Cantankerous 'phibs

Our day was completed not with snakes, but with more redbacks,
Translucent critter on my arm

and some Deer and Raccoon (or the baby from IT'S ALIVE) tracks:
Either the baby from IT'S ALIVE or a raccoon print

A tattered Question Mark Butterfly capped the 3+ hour walk! (He can be seen in the far left of the deer track shot as well...)

I guess we had a little steam in us after all!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

April 3rd, 2010- something new

The news of temperatures "nearing the Eighties on Saturday" had us all atwitter with thoughts of herping all week long! And a hectic week it was. The only real cure for weekly work stress? Nature walks!

We decided to try something new... a definite one-off; Houghton's Pond in the Blue Hills. Later in the year, this turns into a family-congested miasma of screaming kids and hairy bloated parents infringing on the wonderment of nature. But for the first weekend in April, it might prove to be A-OK for us. Besides, its trails connect to Ponkapoag, so there just might be some herps.

Fresh out of the car, we saw some painted turtles enjoying the hot April sun from a basking log. Legs back, these guys were into their turtle yoga but good.

This red-ear was in full yoga pose...
Red ear yoga

We flipped a log and found this guy... I thought it might be a variation of a redback, but he was nutty... running along my hand and leaping! A lively little golden fellow with a light blue tummy!
A beautiful Leadback!

Of course, there were some lovely Redbacks as well...
Dangerous Redback Curves

We found another of those golden maniac Leadbacks...

Now, Houghton's Pond, being a big family place, wasn't exactly screaming SNAKES to us, but we continued to see turtles, including this pair of juvenile painteds who made me crawl on my belly in the mud to get this shot...
Young 'uns basking

While down by the water to try to get another stack o' turtles shot (that was impossible), Andrea said... "look- right in front of you..." I saw nothing until she said "Garter!" Oh yeah... right in front of me in the water was a beautiful, skinny high-yellow garter snake!

It was worth the double soaker to bring this guy in for some close-ups, such a beauty!
And the required on-my-glasses shot...

So we were psyched... lots of turtles and sallys and even a nice garter snake!

We made our way towards the car, but were corralled away by construction fencing. So, we cut through the wooded area. Andrea, who definitely had the snake eyes going that day, found this full fella making his way through the same area...

Because of the large meal in him, we didn't want to pick him up (and get barfed on) so Andrea just kept getting closer, snapping shots to get the ones best possible. Eventually, she got incredibly close, just 3 inches away.
Houghton's Pond 4-3-2010
In this shot, if you look closely, you can see Andrea reflected in his eye!
Garter close-up

So we didn't even have to bother him for his close-ups! What a friendly snake!

So Houghtons Pond turned out to be A-OK, but we wont be going back this year, unless we do it on an overcast, non-beachy kind of day.

On the drive home, we were passing the Forest Hills Cemetery and figured... why not? Houghton's is small and we still had a little bit of wind in us. Then we farted and it was gone. But we walked around the Cemetery pond anyway.

A painted turtle greeted us.

Then we found a spot that was full of bullfrogs! Here's our first anuran friend of the year...
1st frog of 2010- a Bullfrog!
There were many others, but they were very wary and impossible to get a shot of.

This humorous stack of turtles were enjoying the sun... from top to bottom- redear, painted, redear, redear, painted!

Funnier still was this basking spot... turtles joined by a goose!!
Turtles and a goose 2

Such a lovely, sunny day... even a bullfrog was basking on a log!
Basking bullfrog

So yeah, April 3rd. Dig it. Good herpin' day! Too bad we both got a tick on us... mine was crawling up my leg. Andrea wasn't ass lucky. (That's not a misspelling...)