Wednesday, April 25, 2012

All hail phony holidays! 4-16-2012 Boyden Refuge

It's taken me some time to compose this little entry and for that, I apologize deeply.

Anyhoo- Monday was Patriot's Day, a phony holiday made up for the city of Boston! It's the day that the Boston Marathon is run as well so, if you're not running in it, it's a very good idea to stay away from town!

We decided to hit Boyden for that reason and because it was going to be in the 80s and seemed like a good temperature to check it out! So yeah... our fourth herping day straight, and we got there nice and early, after a 50's Diner breakfast. In my quest to not eat tortured-chicken omelettes, I opted for a stack of pancakes. Note to self... good idea! I wasn't hungry for hours!

Our first herp was a lovely Garter Snake that Andrea named Jesus (hey-soos), though we can't remember why.

Like many of the Garters we've been seeing this year, it was docile to the point of playing dead!
Playing dead? No-just lazy! DSCN4209 DSCN4215 DSCN4216
Very photogenic was he!

Andrea was holding him in two hands and decided to try something... if she moved one hand away, would he stay in position?

OK, funtime with placid snakes was over and we had to get serious and find other animals! Like a Painted Turtle!

and a Redback!

I heard a whoosh and saw a skinny lil Garter go by. He was a bit out of reach, so I steadied myself on a branch that promptly gave way under my titanic weight! BUT... I caught the snake! (And kept my eye stick-free!)
Check out this guys belly! Dark and mottled! Now THAT'S different! (As you can see, this guy too mellowed out enough that we didn't have to restrain him...) DSCN4230

A little further down the trail, I moved towards a rapidly drying puddle when, from behind me, I heard Andrea say "hey"! It seems I'd walked right past a Garter Snake! She swooped it up! A beauty!
DSCN4236 DSCN4239
She didn't even get musked! Again... the Garter calmed way down.

Andrea took some nice close-ups after releasing him...
DSCF1909 DSCN4249

As the day went on, the heat rose quite a bit.

Our usual turtle stacks weren't as full (despite some boaters who had claimed there were "thousands"!) One Painted was holding his own against the Canadian Goose invasion!

A few more Redbacks were about...

The last thing we saw at Boyden was impossible to photograph.
Andrea flipped a heavy trashed car door and up popped a decent sized Black Racer right into her face. The door was too heavy to hold up for long and she couldn't get the camera ready one handed, so she called "Racer" in time for me to see him bolting off, into some thorny SATANIC RIGHTS OF DRACULA type trees. I got another look at him as he passed into another thorny cluster.

We did our best but could not locate him.

A bit further down the trail, I saw a Racer cobra-ing up from the other side of a rock. I gave hopeless chase. It was probably the same one, which can be determined to be about 3 1/2 feet... bigger than earlier thought.

Oh well. Ice cream cures everything, so we got some cones after we left, then went down the road to Oliver Mills Park, in hopes of spotting a Northern Water Snake.

We didn't see any snakes (it was pretty human-heavy at 3 PM) but the River Herring were there in huge numbers, doing what they do best... spawning!
River Herring DSCN4270
It's hard as hell to photograph these guys, but it was fun to watch them.

 To end our day, a Green Frog said hey and bid us a fond farewell.

 4 days straight. We did it because we knew we wouldn't get to herp the following weekend (Boston Comic Con). And we couldn't be happier with our finds!


  1. Woohoo, I can comment on this one! I just am not logged into Google so I'm doing it anonymously.

    I love the eye on the upside-down snake.

    1. Thank you Anon! If you ever want to hitch up for a wild night of lovin'... let me know!!

  2. Andrea, Mike,¡Que buenas fotos!!!!!¡Los ofidios son hermosos y me gustó la pancita de la que se hacía la muerta! Besos x dos Martha

  3. Gracias de nuevo, Martha! La serpiente en la espalda por la que se está vivo, pero muy muy relajado! Creo que lo hipnotizó!

    With love... Mike