Thursday, June 14, 2012

Toads and Snake Blossoms at Massasoit 6-10-2012

OK... I'll cut to the chase because this one will be photo heavy. We got to the Massasoit State Park parking lot at 9:15 AM and headed straight in. It was nice out. We saw lots of toads.

In fact, this Fowler's Toad that looks a bit like Alfred Hitchcock was first! Andrea hummed the TV theme while making him dance.
Good eeeevening.

Next up an Eastern Milk Snake! I flipped and didn't see him but Andrea pointed him out and I got the tail while she got the business end!

Nearby, a toad. This shot suggests an American, but I don't remember any of the toads of the day having spots on their bellies. At any rate, it's a beauty!

Andrea captured another good spider shot! There were loads of these Venusta Orchard Spiders keeping house here!
Venusta Orchard Spider

This was one of the feistiest Redback Salamanders of all time!

Here is a lovely view! Also, you can see how pretty the park is, in the background!

We came upon this gorgeous Garter Snake all stretched out and lookin' for trouble! A beautiful olive green with checkerboards! (It seems most Garters lose their checks when they get bigger, but not this guy, who is decent sized!)

We corralled him for close-ups and he proceeded to bite the shit out of me! This was the feistiest Garter in ages!
So feisty in fact that I decided to NOT try to get the biting-my-nose shot with this specimen! That finger bite smarted! He definitely won this bout!

Elated and with snake blossoms flowering on my hands (they are the residual bite marks left by non-venomous snakes) we carried on to a spot where I could wash up. Some Painted Turtles were enjoying the day, too!

This next little fellow slid into the water, then decided to hoist back up, providing us the cutest thing we saw all day! FULL HOIST!]
Painted turtle hoist
This lil bruiser was about 3" long and looked like he owned the pond when he got himself up there!

(Good thing this chap was far away... he might have munched down King Yertil!)

A sandy area brought us more toads, predominately Fowler's. Most of them were cooling under logs. Don't worry- we always replace everything.

Some were buried more than others.

Next up was another snake... Andrea grabbed the loveliest Ringneck that I might have ever seen! Shiny and deep black back!

We still felt like we were being watched...

The pond was teeming with life! Tadpoles! (more than likely toads)

And stacks of Painted Turtles!
Hey, wait- is that a Musk Turtle on the top?!

We headed around the pond and Andrea saw this (also checkery) Garter Snake in the path...
Nemesis II
Luckily she got these pics because this dude was like lightning!!! She got a finger on him before he slid over a hill and was gone! I slipped on the way up the hill, but it wouldn't have mattered... he was a speed demon!

Say- there were TWO Musk Turtles up basking today!
Interestingly, Musks (who aren't known for basking much) seem to ascend higher on basking logs than Painteds.

The path was filled with mud-puddles... that were being used by frogs! (Probably Pickerel frogs, who we couldn't get a picture of because they kept handing me my ass when I tried to catch one!)

We flipped a discarded pair of pants (!) and this guy was lounging about under them!
Nearby, this spotty beauty was hopping around.
More on these two in a bit...

We saw a raided turtle nest but some of the eggs looked to be intact...
So we covered it back up.

We decided to explore a bit and continued around the pond for the first time. We thought we knew how the paths would go! (Well, we were right in the end!) Basking Painted Turtles kept us interested.

If you were ever on the trail with us in this park, you would have more than once heard us say "there's gotta be Water Snakes here!" Well, Andrea flipped a rock near the pond and out scooted a small Water Snake! She got a hand on him, but he escaped into the drink...
I waded in but couldn't secure him for close-ups. Andrea got this nice Bullfrog shot instead.

With two soakers, I decided I didn't have much to lose, so I went back in and guess who turned up again!

His reddish-brown color was very interesting to me; not your typical Water Snake color, so I pursued him and eventually got him in hand for a closer look... and he got a taste of my finger!
He was ready to shed... eyes still mildly cloudy, but post-blue I think.
A real loose-skinned beauty... and our FIRST Massasoit Water Snake ever!

So, we were both sloshin' around now, as Andrea had to get soakers while crossing the stream. It was hot, so we didn't mind! Andrea displayed her dangerous bottom, which the DCR was kind enough to put up a warning sign about...

Turtles were still out and about...
(This is the other side of a log pictured earlier... that's a Musk Turtle at the top on the other side...)

This beautifully colored Fowler's hopped into the pond in front of us, making his colors even more brilliant!

Lastly, we re-flipped the pair of pants on the trail and the two Toads seen above were snuggling under them!

On the way out, we took the trail over by where Lightning Garter handed us our collective asses. He wouldn't actually be in the same spot, would he? He was and in a straight line (seriously- like a lightning-bolt, barely any s-shape at all!) he shot off again and disappeared! We now have a Nemesis II!

Great day! 5 1/2 hours, a new species for us here and our first Musk Turtles of 2012! Yay, I say! And I had many snake blossoms to enjoy all week!


  1. "Escuerzo" se llama acá el sapo gigante y gordo. Es muy hermoso, todos lo son. Mike, las víboras te hacen tatoo.jaja.besos x dos Martha

  2. Escuersos son mascotas populares en los EE.UU. y son a veces llamados "Pac Man Frog" porque se ven como ese personaje de videojuegos y comer mucho como él!

    Gracias ... que la serpiente es un artista del tatuaje con talento!