Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Waters of Chelonian Surprise 5-6-2012

After two weeks of no real herping, we were so eager to get out that we didn't even care that it was only about 55°F and cloudy. Well, we might have cared but we were going ANYWAY! We'd decided on Massasoit State Park in Taunton... one of our favorite new discoveries from last year.

It was really raw out when we arrived at about 10:30 AM. I was checking to see if my breath showed (it didn't) and I put the hood of my sweatshirt up. We saw a cool Redback, but the picture sucked. We made it to our favorite part of the park (lots of AC- artificial cover) and saw a very chubby Fowler's Toad!
Check out those lovely colors!

Then, much to our surprise, there was also a very cool-to-the-touch Black Racer!
He was in a shed and very very blue all over, much like the OverBite Racer of last year. We wondered if this area produced high-blue Racer morphs. Doubtful, but it's food for thought...

This is Andrea's first time holding a Black Racer!
Andrea's first Racer!

We released him and he slithered home.

Not bad, considering it was so cool! Now, anything else would be gravy!

We saw some Red Velvet Mites, which are pretty. Mmmm... better than the cake!

And, in keeping with the color scheme, we got some decent photos of some Redback Salamanders finally!

More Fowlers Toads started showing up!

I flipped a large flat stone  that was on some sandy soil and there were 4 Fowler's under it!
Check the far left of the above picture... this guy's noggin is sticking out...

Wrangling all 4 for a photo was no easy feat, but we eventually managed to shoot what we call the Toad Summit!
Fowler's 4-pack

We looked for turtles, as it had warmed up a bit and the sun kept trying to peek out. But no. There were some Plovers poking around, though.

We weren't sure how much we had in us, being so cool and all (plus were were 2 weeks out of practice...) But Andrea wanted to see if we could find a turtle, so we headed around the pond for different vantage points.

At one bush next to the trail, I thought I heard a "swoosh". I investigated and saw a thin blackish tail disappear into a pile of vegetation. I poked through it for 5 minutes and found nothing. I was foiled by a slim snake.

We scanned the water from a sandy path between two ponds. No turtles.

On the way back up (to continue around the pond) I decided to look at the place where the snake had handed me my ass. This fella was there, all checkered and cute! A Garter Snake!

He was nuts and very hard to photograph but eventually calmed down. Looks like he might have had a fairly recent meal in him.

By the way, when we released him, he went back to the same vegetation as earlier. We were able to recreate what I had seen before...

So, on the far side of the pond, we got our wish... there was a Painted Turtle basking!

Then, not far from there, we saw a bunch! In fact, before we snapped the pic, 3 or 4 plopped into the water!

We took this shot, then noticed something when looking at the picture... the big Snapper head behind the stump!

I got closer and got some noggin shots...
(That's a Painted head on the left, not far from the hoisted turtle and the Snapper head on the right)

Caught this guy mid-hoist!

So yeah! Chelonian surprises! But none so surprising as our photo of the Blue Heron. We hadn't seen all of the Painted turtles in this shot until we got home and uploaded it!!

So, we were extremely happy! 2 snake species, 2 turtle species, a toad species and a salamander species!

On the way out, Andrea found the first Leadback of the day!

Then, things went all Rana on us! We heard these two Bullfrogs before we saw them!

And what better way to end the story of this trip than to blog about two frogs in a bog?! (Green Frogs, to be exact!)

That's all I got. Good day, indeed! (Oh, and the sun came out for good on the drive home....)


  1. ¡Andrea, el sapo gordo es un príncipe!!!!!Mike,cuidado!!!!!!Cariños Martha

  2. Sigue la historieta "Chali" un beso Martha

  3. Gracias, Martha! "Chali" is beautiful!!!

  4. Did you go to the Buffet for Lunch?

  5. I'n sorry, Anon... I didn't see this! We haven't been to the buffet YET!!! 4 trips to Taunton, too! I'm sure we'll remedy that next time!