I'm way behind on this, so here's a quickie!
We bought a house on May 14th. But we couldn't actually enter it yet. So... we went nature walkin' instead! We had to be in Malden at 11AM on Saturday so we planned a walk in that neck o' the woods. Breakheart Reservation in Saugus looked promising, so we gave it a try.
The parking situation blew because it was crowded. Not a good sign. We finally wrangled a space and grabbed a map. We decided to go in the opposite direction from everyone with children. That's just how we roll.
For some bizarre reason, we chose a path that seemed to go straight up. It was breakheart hill itself! It was a grind, but we pressed on and were rewarded with a vista so big that we could see the ocean.
For some strange reason, there was a rusted out hot-rod on the top of the hill...
As we descended the hill on the other side, Andrea pointed out some flippin' wood off the path, so we went to investigate. A colorful young garter snake was on the prowl! He was pretty wriggly at first and musked me pretty good, but eventually calmed down and just lay calmly in my hand.
Ever the top model, he just went back about his business when we released him, stopping for a close-up or two.
The highlight of the reservation is probably the twin lakes. Both are medium sized and rimmed with lovely forest. Chelonians made their presence known, though very quietly...
This big ol' Green Frog was sitting in a stream that ran between the two lakes...
This chipmunk watched me catch him...
Andrea got another one of her patented spider-web shots! (I can't figure out how she gets these... excellent work!)
In the second lake, a big, fat Bullfrog guarded the edge.
But when are seeing froggies there are snake nearby! (To be sung like in the "Lady and the Tramp song "We are Siamese if you Please")
This lovely Northern Water Snake had lots of red on him and stayed far enough away where I couldn't catch him.
So, what about salamanders you ask? They were there! Andrea found these two, a Redback and a Leadback, who were so crazy that I couldn't get a good shot, even on "sport" setting!
This Leadback was sure cute!
He was also pretty energetic... check it out- he's completely airborne in this shot!
Andrea found this gal who was bursting with chubbiness... we're pretty sure she was preggers.
Add in another basking Painted Turtle, and you've got yourself a successful herpin' day!
The walk was over 5 hours and was a pretty grueling trail at times. We loved it. Despite the parking lot, it wasn't too crowded anywhere. We will be returning at some point.