Monday, June 11, 2012

Rattlesnake Hill: Lotsa Hill, No Snake 6-9-2012

We have been planning an educational trip to the "rattlesnake" part of the Blue Hills for some time. Knowing there is estimated to be less than 100 total Timber Rattlesnakes living in here, and some that do are stricken with a debilitating fungus, we understood that we wouldn't actually encounter any rattlers, but we wanted to check out the habitat and learn something about the area... in hopes of one day seeing a rejuvenated population.

We'd planned for an early trip Saturday morning. Friday night, however, we were visiting our friends and some folks wanted to see some of their tenants... the Dekays! So, we found a few. The hands here belong to our only reader Kirsten! (The foot in the back is her husband Henry's!)
This snake is obviously in a family way.

This one is not.

So, Saturday morning, we got to the the St. Moritz entrance of the Blue Hills in Quincy by 10 AM... not as early as hoped, but who cares?!

We found a Redback Rattlemander!
(Obviously, I wouldn't use this pic if I had a better one... but I don't!)

Andrea soon snapped her soon-to-be-award-winning shot of an Orchard Spider!

We were off trail, poking around rocky outcroppings for an hour and a half or so, getting the lay of the terrain, but seeing nothing. It is a whole different kind of herping when you have to make sure there isn't a venomous animal on the other side of a log or under a rock you're reaching at with your bare hands.

We checked the map and decided to cross over to check out Rattlesnake Hill.

When we got there, we were faced with a very steep path that went up quite a long way. No problem there. The problem was the dog barking in the distance... which sounded it was at or near the top of the precipice. Y'see, we don't like sharing our trails.

Anyhoo- at the base if the trail, we saw this large Millipede!

And up we went...

We reached the top and there was a group of condescending yuppies up there. I asked if we had reached the apex and one better-than-me arsehole sneered "of rattlesnake hill, it is". These were dickweeds with $700 hiking shoes and Armani backpacks. Fuck 'em. I couldn't wait to get away from them. The poor dog was with them... a black pup who must have been baking in the sun. Beautiful view, though.

Descending the other side of the hill gave us a lovely, unexpected pond... full of the biggest bruiser Bullfrogs I've seen in a while! I could see these guys from well up on the trail, they were such behemoths.

We headed down and eventually got to the St. Moritz ponds, which we had veered away from at the start in favor of the rocky rattlesnake terrain. We were rewarded with Painted Turtles!

Turtles in widescreen!
Widescreen painted turtles

(There are 9 in this shot!)

And, what looks to be a displaced Red-Ear Slider (who looks like he's singing opera).

Oh, and another massive Bullfrog.

So, as I always say, species-specific herping can get you down. I'd have been fine if we didn't hit so much traffic on Rattlesnake Hill. Besides the Yuppie-Trash, there were two (count 'em TWO) scouting troops climbing it! Let me guess... there hasn't been a rattlesnake on Rattlesnake Hill since Colonial Times, right?! Sheesh! I'm surprised the millipede had enough real estate to stretch his legs out!

We'll go again and explore further, but we'll stick to the off-trail places.


  1. Sorry about the Yuppis Domesticus, but great post as always! We thought of you on Sunday; we went to Herter Park along the Charles River and in the oxbow/puddle behind the Publick Theatre there was one log with 17 painted turtles on it!! Talk about crowded real estate!

  2. I love the sunny summer turtle stacks!

  3. ¡Pareces Tarzán,en la foto!!!!!¡uuuuu!.. Y todo es muy lindo.La".telaraña" es una obra de arte.Besos x dos Martha

  4. Que se parece a Tarzán? Me o la rana? ;)

    Andrea tiene una bella imagen de la araña!

    Amor de los dos- Mike

  5. Yuppis Domesticus cracked me up. Thank you, Kirsten!

    At least you didn't mention the yell-talking townie woman that I gave wrong directions to (not on purpose).

  6. The poor dear. We really should hook her up with John Waters. He'd adore her.