Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NEVER SAY DIE!! Nov. 20, 2011

Still mild as November went on. Mid-60s. Why the hell not hit Allendale?

It was a lovely day for a hike, even though I had a cold and we were a bit tired. But still, a balmy November day held the promise of herps. Well, maybe not... it had been DAMN COLD Friday night. Frost and ice. Still, there might have been someone out and about.

It became clear fairly quickly, however, that despite the lovely weather, most herps had retired for the winter. We enjoyed the fresh air, exercise and the walk, but admittedly, we wanted to see some animals.

We got so desperate, we took a shot of this big Earthworm!

He was pretty impressive.

We were almost done, having walked for over an hour, flipping everything possible and the car was in sight. I flipped a log.

Ooh! Redback! I grabbed him. No, just a worm after all.

No wait! It IS a Redback!!! (I told you I had a cold!)

This one lil fella had forgotten to hibernate, so we happily photographed him and sent him packin' for the winter!

See you in the Spring, SeƱor Redback!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Try to remember a Redback November. 2011

November 8, 2011

We'd been having a bit of an Indian Summer. Though there had been "killing frost" and even some snow already, the promise of 65 degree temps had me asking my good friends Kate and Snag if I could rummage around in their yard... home of Redback Salamanders and Dekay's Snakes.

No DeKay's were about (I got there just before dusk... about 5 PM in these Daylight Savings Time days) but I saw a dozen Redbacks in about 20 minutes!! Some big, some small... all cute!

I does my heart so much good to lift rocks in November and see nature still hangin' out!

Man, I will miss Redbacks when we move to the South some day...

November 13, 2011

With warmer weather still upon us (low 60s in November? Hell yeah!), we once again asked our friends if we could rummage in their yard. Thankfully they're incredibly kind to their two loony neighbors! Not as many Redbacks as 5 days prior, but not too shabby overall!

This guy wanted to play some football!

A rare mammal sighting! A small Maybelle!

And some more robust Redbacks!


Is this it for 2011? Who knows?! Though the weather has turned cool again, I refuse to say die! Though, if this it... at least we ended on a cute picture!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

This could be the last time, it may be the last time... I don't know. 10-23-2011

With the herping season pretty much over, we took our chances on this cool Sunday and went straight to Ponk. We went in the opposite direction, foregoing the dam and golf course and made the campground our destination. Being the day after a whirlwind, overnight trip to Hollywood the day before, this hike proved our tenacity, if not our stupidity.

There were no reptiles present, but our good friends the Redbacks (and Leadbacks) were present and we were very happy to see them. Here then is a gallery of late October Redbacks.


Less than a week later came the killing frost and snow. This might well be our last post for 2011. See you in the Spring!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grasping at straws... mid-October 2011

October 9, 2011

Both of us were feeling sick, but with potential herping days winding down, we set out to Myles Standish National Forest, in hopes of a day of hiking without the usual family riff-raff that pollutes this spot. Plus, we wanted to find some redbells and a hognose or two. The temps were supposed to be in the 70s.

So, feeling crappy, we drove our 50 miles to get there and did a good exploration of Electric Toadland. We talked to a ranger who said it was OK to look around there (nice to know... we weren't sure before). Although we gave the area a good lookin' through, we only saw this one Redback there.

We tried to go to College Pond, where we'd seen many turtles, redbells and a hognose before. It was closed. You couldn't park there ever to poke around. Fuckers. This was shaping up to be a yawnfest.

We settled on our usual walk, where we'd never actually seen anything before. We saw a chipmunk.

We talked to some equestrians who were nice and said they had seen a Green Snake the day before. That makes 3 people this year who have seen Greens without trying, while we (who work our asses off for snakes!) haven't seen any.

Anyway, this day was getting us exercise, but little else. We got a bit grumpy, what with feeling sick and all. Finally, we found two Peepers on the way out.

It helped but upon reflection, Myles Standish has pretty much sucked this year, except for the first visit. Not sure just how much we'll be visiting next year, glimpse of Hognose or not.

October 10, 2011

Andrea had work on Columbus Day. I did not. It was beautiful out. But I waited until she got out and we hit Allendale for a quick stroll. We got there at 5, knowing the sun would be going down soon.

We saw a few Redbacks, but they were difficult to photograph in the waning light. This is the best we could muster.

Down by the pond, this Redtailed Hawk was looking for some dinner.

This large Bullfrog stayed out of sight...

It was very beautiful at the pond...

The sun was setting and we still had a way to go. We started thinking about what lives in these woods. Coyotes and Deer, for sure. Oh... and Toads!
We found this guy while flipping a stone! Third toad this month that we found flipping stones! What a beauty!

No snakes, but a well spent couple of hours. Not bad for a Monday.

October 11, 2011
Bless our friends Kate and Snag. They put up with such shit from me! I dropped off a few things, or picked something up... I don't recall, and they were kind enough to let me flip again. On a Tuesday at 6:30 PM. Chalk up a young Dekays!

Could this lil guy be our last snake of the year? Perhaps...

October 20, 2011
Temps were in the high 60s and, though it had rained for 2 days, I figured a stroll through Allendale was worth a shot. It was pretty windy, too. Here's the spoils...
A big Redback between 2 pieces of wood.

A very cute, little Spotted Salamander.

And a nice speckled Redback.

I saw a Painted Turtle basking on a log in the pond but I scared him in as I tried to get close enough for my crappy camera to work. BLARGH!

I cut the trip short as it was very wet and I was prexing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

10-8-2011 Indian Summer at Boyden

Following a week of cold and rain, we were delighted to hear that the weekend was going to be warm... like in the 70s and 80s warm! Sadly, the previous Wednesday night had had a frost in some places. What herp in their right mind would come out after a frost had happened? We wanted to see.

We chose Boyden because it has been a good late season spot before. Well, the abandoned house gave us a very nice surprise... one of the most beautiful Milk Snakes of the year! Andrea grabbed him for photos. Please indulge us as this guy was so beautiful... and he turned out to be our only snake.

I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeVille...

We put him down and he happily slithered back to his place between two boards.

And that is about as beautiful as you can get in nature!

I had my eyes really in tune in hopes of seeing more wildlife. Somehow, I saw this katydid in the grass-
After we photographed it, he pooed on my hand.

Redbacks were in abundance... some were small-

but many were humongous- among the largest I have ever seen! Here is a gallery of Reds and Leads for your amazement.

This one is with eggs... hers or slug eggs? I don't fucking know!

This one was buried up to his neck in soil...

There was a Spring Peeper out and about too... also quite large! (For a peeper...)

How 'bout a Green Frog?

That same puddle had this guy in it... egg tooth intact!
We'd peeked into this puddle but had initially seen nothing. Then we saw some hikers who said that 5 minutes before we got there, they'd seen a Snapping Turtle hatchling. So, we went back and scooped up mud and this guy was in it!

We put him down and he went back into the mud with surprising speed...

Toads? You bet! Here's a Fowler's!

And an American-
and another...

Can I get an "ooh ooh" for this Field Mouse?

While flipping stones in the fragrance garden on the way out, we were surprised by this very vocal American Toad!

Its chirping sounded a little something like this:

On the way out, we decided to check on our milky pal, to see if he was still there. He was.

It was a fine trip, despite the lack of multiple snakes. We'd have stayed longer, but we had to get to a party/ BBQ at out friends house. Our friends who have Dekays in their yard. Dekays that look like these ones...

These two mini-twins capped off a lovely herp day.