Friday, May 25, 2012

Early mornin' Ponk- 5-19-2012

We were planning to visit friends on Saturday night, so we figured we had better get out herpin' early in the morning, as it might be our only chance for the weekend! We pulled in to the Ponk parking lot at around 9AM... that should be good... right?

Well, it didn't take too long to get started! First up, as it often is, was a Redback! (Only this time, it was a leadback!)

The vernal pond and the pond itself was buzzing with cute things... like a Green Frog

A bullfrog

And a goose family with a white swan (who was shooed off by the protected parents...)

We had hoped to find a Northern Water Snake, as we hadn't been able to photograph one yet this year. Sure enough, basking on the water's edge, was a nice one!

As we were photographing it, a smaller one came up to look around...

I was unable to catch either one for close ups... until I rooted around under the water, into the slime where the larger one had disappeared. I felt around and felt snake!
Seems I caught a water nymph as well... But what a beauty the snake was!

He was good natured too... nary a nibble! Andrea gently handled him before releasing him...

A little further up, we saw a dot on a rock. No way... it couldn't be...
This little guy was the smallest turtle I think I've ever seen. He was right out there in the open, waiting to be predated! We didn't see an egg tooth on this guy (Eastern Painted Turtle) but there's no way he was more than a few days old...

We put him back on the same rock, but a little more hidden, towards the back. I hope he fared well!

With a chelonian under our belts (small though he may be), we started seeing turtles all over!

Another Painted!

A couple of Spotteds!

Then a bit further along, we saw this Painted...
Who was swimming towards this (possibly getting ready to mate?) pair of Spotted Turtles!
Spotted love
I suspect that because they kept facing each other and would slide off into the water, then climb back up to face each other again. I've never seen that before, so... given the season... I thought it might be "interest" being shown...

On that same log, at the other (more hidden) end, there was this pair of Water Snakes basking! We only saw one until we checked the picture later!

Also nearby was a very large Bullfrog, which was calm enough for me to catch and photograph up close!
Some folks waling by were impressed and asked if we wanted a shot of us together! Why not? A HMWYNS first!

So, that was a dam good walk! In the woods, we saw another (well dozens more...) Redback!
(Since most Redback shots look the same, we'll just concentrate on different looking ones...)

I heard a whoosh and saw a small streak... it was a small Garter Snake!
Just to be different, this guy was easier to photograph after we released him. He posed beautifully in the crook of a tree.

At a dock area, we saw a fatherly type pointing out a snake to his kid. We inspected and we had our first up-close look at "3 O'clock Charlie", the resident Water Snake in the area. I picked him up and gave a short lesson on snakes to anyone who would listen.
3 o'clock Charlie
Charlie, a Bobby Rhodes fan from way back, liked my T-shirt!

He too posed nicely for some nature shots!

Andrea caught the next snake... a Ringneck!

Another source gave us the dynamic duo... two unruly Ringnecks who were very tough to calm down for their close-up, Mr. DeVille!
The smaller one was in the blue, which might explain his twistiness...

We wound up without many good shots of those two...

We headed out, with about a mile left, along a stretch that doesn't produce much herp activity. BUT... I heard and saw another whoosh! This one was moving fast, too!

I chased into the woods for about 10 feet and lunged. I had a skinny little Ribbon Snake... who was missing much of his tail!
He had scarring just above the vent too, which makes me think that he was saved by musking at some point!
He calmed right down and sat there for his photos...

The funniest thing of all is... when I jumped to catch him, I landed on a stick or rock or something and bruised my leg!
Ribbon Snake injury!

It's funny that this little guy...
is responsible for giving me an angry purple bruise!!

Well, what a great walk!! Thank you Norfolk County!!!