Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Welcome to October at Ponkapoag. 10-1-2011

Cloudy and in the mid-60s. Ponk it is. Something's gotta be out!

The weather had been very rainy during the week, so Ponkapoag was quite moist (and cool) when we arrived at about 10AM. It seemed like a good day for amphibians, if not reptiles. Sure enough, first up was a Two Lined Salamander! (Our first official sighting here, though I probably mis-ID'd a few over the years... now I'm smaht!)
Two Lined Salamander
This little guy was squiggling like mad... we're lucky to get any shot at all!

Andrea soon countered with a nice Spotted Salamander!
Spotted Salamander

Both of these guys were early on the path, long before we usually see ANYTHING! So... we wondered, would it be a real Redbacky day? It was indeed! But not yet...

A little pond (that is sometimes dry but it was full this day) was teeming with Bull and Green Frogs (and a Pickerel who we couldn't get a good shot of...)

It was pretty cloudy- no sun in sight. Snakes were very doubtful, but the 'Phibs had us happy!

Hey! Look who showed up! A Redback!
She nestled into a log next to some eggs that we thought might have been hers, but I've decided that they're slug eggs instead...

Near the dam, we found an evacuated turtle nest...
It is Snapper hatching season and we wondered if these shells were from hatching or predation. We hoped for the former.

Along the dam, I found nothing, except for this good sized skin...
Oh, how I hoped to find the owner!

Andrea quietly told me from the other side of the dam "Get over here... slowly and quietly" Snake?

She'd seen that these pebbles...

Weren't all pebbles!
This hatchling Snapping Turtle couldn't have been more than a day or two old! Egg-tooth still intact-
Yolk spot still on plastron, too!

What a cute fucking animal!!!!!

We put him back exactly where we found him, despite the want to take him home for the winter. Nearby was a Bull Frog big enough to eat him!

A heron flew by too. Poor lil' guy! It's a tough world out there!

After resuming our walk, Andrea again called to me to her side. It seems a Water Snake had been basking (on this grey, cloudy, sunless day) but had slipped into the rocks. She could still see his tail. I went over and figured if I could grab his tail, I'd at least get another "I'm losing the tug-of-war shot"! Well, I grabbed his tail and he came right out!
No bites, either!

A real gentleman. Poor devil had some spine problems down by the vent... looks like a healed wound, like maybe a snapper bite. God bless musk!

So, we were very happy! Barely started and we'd seen a handful of herps!

After the golf course, Redbacks started being very abundant!
This guy was huge! Many were large but this guy takes the prize!
Massive Redback!

This guy thought he was hiding!

We wondered aloud... where are the leadbacks? Oh! Here's one!

Here's a Leadback and a Redback forming a trident! Devilishly clever!

Earthworms, as one might expect, were CRAZY this day!!! There were some massive ones too... like this 9 incher, who was sharing log space with a medium sized Redback!
Worm vs. Redback!

One thing about Ponk this year that has disappointed us... we had seen no Ringneck Snakes. In years past, they had been so prevalent that we'd even lost count of them a few times! They used to come in second, behind Garters, for most often seen snakes. Not this year.

Therefore, you can imagine our joy at finally finding one at good ol' Ponk!
Just hangin' out under a rock, like Ringnecks do!
We let a little 3-year old girl hold him for a while, then we let him slide back under his rock.

Off the dock, I was looking for Snappers, which are sometimes there. Well, surprisingly, there was one... but it was another hatchling, just floating there 6 feet out, where the water was 6 feet deep! I call that fish food!

I maneuvered him towards the dock and hoisted him up, much to the delight of a gaggle of kids who were there, behaving for the most part.
Some even listened to me as I explained his egg tooth and yolk-hole.

Well, this day had turned out to be pretty exciting!

Here's something we can't ID... is this a turtle sharing the rock with the seagull? Multiple pictures proved nothing. Maybe it's some new, mysterious species of chelonian! Or maybe it's a pile of shit. The world may never know.

On the way out, we found this Red Squirrel ransacking some bags that some hikers had left on a picnic table. He didn't mind us... just wanted to enjoy his treasure!

So, Happy Autumn! The year ain't over yet!


  1. Nice walk! I wish I had you with me on my walk in the Dedham Town Forest--we had 6 or 7 spring peepers and one wood frog, and those were just hopping through the woods, I didn't turn over any logs for them.

  2. Nice!! Two species we missed!! I wanted to go to that but we'd already planned on a massive Ponk walk!

  3. Escribí antes y no salió.Te pregunto como sobreviven estos animalitos en invierno? besos martha