Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Milks 5-13-2012 Cutler

After that little 45 minute tease from the night before, we were very ready to do a full on herp hike! We'd planned ahead to do either Ponk or Cutler, and Cutler won. (We're trying to see Racers while they're still "in season"!)

Two humongous crows greeted us when we parked. We thought one might have been a raven, it was so large, but I don't think so. This smaller guy is all crow!

Well, the bad news first. Once we hit Racer Alley, I almost immediately had a small/ medium Black Racer poke his head up out of some grass at me, then take off like a jet. OK... there was at least one snake about today. Andrea asked if I could recall ever seeing any snake that was NOT a Racer along this part of the path. I couldn't.

Within minutes, a bright yellow-striped Garter slithered out of sight. That answered the question, but didn't help our photo-safari!

Then Andrea saw a Milk Snake! Nope, that one got away too... no photos. We started commenting about how much we suck. Within the past 24 hours, we were unable to photograph a Water Snake, a Racer, a Garter and a Milk. Yep- we sucked.

Then, I saw some rusty saddles among the grass... I lunged...

First Eastern Milk Snake of the year! A large one, too!

He was calm enough while holding him (some tail buzzing at first...), but got all jumpy when we released him. Still, a real beauty!

Not far away, our second Milk was spotted by Andrea!

This guy had a funny lower jaw... looked like it was healing from something as well as retaining some shed. It made him rather odd looking. He also buzzed his tail a bit... and musked. (Milk Snake musk isn't so bad, though...)
Medium/ large... not a bad size!

About to escape the heat of racer Alley (the part of Cutler that always kicks our ass) and hit the tunnel, an American Toad caught my attention! I got a thorn in my finger picking him up.

At the mouth of the tunnel, there was a dirty old T-shirt. Andrea suggested flipping it. I stole her thunder and did just that. Nuthin' under it.

No... wait! What's that quarter sized spiral??? It's a hatchling Ringneck!!!

He was a rambunctious little fella, too! He musked and writhed like he was a big guy!

Well, now! That was the first Ringneck we'd ever seen at Cutler!

Not everything there was a squamate... we heard Green Frogs calling from the marsh... all de-tuned banjo stringey! We saw a couple of colorful Redback Salamanders, too!

Next up, we found another Cutler first... in fact the first non-Snag and Kate's backyard specimen of a  Dekays Snake!!
He musked me too.

Those missed snakes were looming large! With no photographic proof, we can't count the Racer or Garter!

Andrea saved the day by spotting a Garter on the run (crawl?) and I gave chase. I ran about 15 feet after him, lost him, then found him again and did a full-body lunge!

He musked me, too.

But we got the shots!
He saved some musk for Andrea, too...

So, we left happy... a well spent 4 1/2 hours! I had a heady brew of 4 snake species' musk on my hands, we had sunburns, and were toast! Cutler kicked our asses again. But we loved it!


  1. I've still never encountered a wild milk snake! Lovely walk photos, guys. 4.5 hours though? That's a long time to be at Cutler Park; you must have brought a picnic.

  2. I reckon 4 1/2 to 5 hours is our average full-on nature walk! We've cut Cutler way down... we used to go out and around the pond, but have never found much that far out. But yeah... lots of water and usually a snack is in order. Plus, we always leave right after a big breakfast!

  3. Pienso que tienen mucho coraje con las vívoras, mi me gusta mucho los sapitos.Besos x dos Martha