Monday, June 25, 2012

A change of plans... to Ponk 6-23-2012

The week had been a scorcher, a veritable heatwave! Mid-week had seen 3 straight days at 90+ and Friday was still hot and rainy! But Saturday was supposed to be cooler. We had planned on a new place but when we awoke Saturday morning, it was pissing down rain! It eventually stopped and we decided to go out, but figured it wouldn't be fair to a new place, considering our late start, the post-heatwave and the mucky conditions. So we went to Ponk.

Ponk was very buggy. I had something buzz-bombing me pretty much the whole walk. Flipping was fruitless; salamanders had retreated from the heat and had not yet come up for air. I saw a few Pickerel Frogs, but we weren't able to photograph them. (Our nemesis species this year, for sure!) Andrea finally found a Water Snake peeking about!

He decided to slip over to a lily pad, thus providing us with a spectacular shot!

Some Painted Turtles were frolicking. These guys were all small, 4" carapace or less.

This guy had delusions of grandeur as he pretended to have a massive shell...

This Spotted Turtle was somewhere in Norfolk County, I dare not say where. I also saw another, but was unable to get a shot.

A Chipmunk stopped us in the path and said, "Hey, Cracker- why no pictures of mammals here?" He had a point. So here he is!

With no Redbacks or frogs (we could hear Greens and Bulls, but saw none), it felt like I was going at it half-hearted. Andrea didn't agree. I have been known to get crabby on off days, but it just seemed like we were blowing through it. Admittedly, it was pretty grown in and harder to see potential herps.

Then, all of a sudden, I saw a Garter Snake! I missed him and Andrea chased him while I got on my feet. We had him in our sights... then he disappeared. We looked around and saw nothing. We thought, well at least some snakes are out. Befuddled, I went back to the spot after a few minutes, approaching it from a different angle... and there he was! Right on top of a mound!
Tenacity paid off!
This shot, though unfocused, came right after some kind of sneer from him!

We walked along and got to the camps, where I was flipping to no avail. Andrea found a tree hanging over the pond that was bearing some strange fruit...

Pretty damn cool sight!!

I found another Garter crawling along the path... as soon as I picked him up, he was perfectly calm (except for a musking...).

We figured this mellow and gentle guy would be good to take over to show to the families that were swimming there. What kid doesn't love snakes? Even hammer-toed kids do!

So, this little guy was a good teacher! We talked for a while with everyone. We had been seen before and they called me the snake guy. Of course, everyone wanted to know where the rattlesnakes are. I wouldn't tell ya if I knew!

So, half hearted or not, it was still a 4 hour hike, about 1/2 hour quicker than usual. It still seems weird to have not seen any salamanders, but I'll just have to get used to the warmer months, when it even gets too hot for some of the herps!


  1. I'd tell you where that spotted turtle is, but then I'd have to kill you.

  2. Las serpientes bailarinas!!!las fotos son espectaculares,sólo les falta la música!!!!B.x dos Martha

  3. What type of snake was up in the tree?