Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Andrea burns up Massasoit! 7-6-2012

We tried to get to Taunton early again, to beat the heat, but getting there at sunrise just wasn't going to happen. As it is, we got to Massasoit State Forest at about 8:30 and hit the trails. I was Jonesin' for a Racer after the previous day's miss and this place was one of our best bets.

Racer Alley seemed empty. My favorite flippin' boards had nothing. I flipped a picnic table and again saw nothing. But eagle-eye Andrea (heretofore known as EEA) said "wait" and reached down and showed me that a small Ribbon Snake had been there!
Quite a beauty!

This toad had been keeping tabs on us the whole time...

Nearby, an American Toad was hopping by. I love the various textures in this shot! Let's hear it for the new crappy camera coming through!

Moving further in, the toads all became Fowler's!
We even taught an elderly hiker the difference between our two common native toad species! He gave us some valuable info too; Sweet Fern helps ward off black flies!! We kept a sprig or two in our pockets for the rest of the day!

Of course, the new camera wasn't going to get us any award winning shots of basking turtles, but we got a good enough shot to ID this Painted Turtle...

On the other hand, it got a pretty decent close-up of this Redback Salamander!

There was a small Pike watching our activities...

The heat had started to... heat up... and I was a glistening hunk of sweat as I lifted some stones... but I got this gorgeous eastern Milk Snake out of the effort!
It's a real treat to watch these guys crawl back into their resting spot...

Tiny Fowler's Toads started popping up everywhere!! A sea of tiny toads!
A winner under every cap!
Jazz hands!
Look! Jazz hands!

I took a walk over to a tunnel to see who was smart enough to be in the shade. A couple of young Bull Frogs were the only ones enjoying the coolness there...

Next up, a very special thing happened... Andrea saw some movement and she caught her first ever Northern Water Snake- a beautiful young chap!
Nice work, EEA! Here he is after we released him... pretty tough to see!

Massasoit, which in the native tongue means "land of the basking Musk Turtle"*, lived up to it's name... with a basking Musk Turtle! Camera be damned, we got a good enough shot to ID him!

We were out and about for about 6 hours and discovered some new areas that we plan to explore deeper in the future. One new place produced this very red Water Snake!
I committed to the double-soakers and persued him through the reeds for about 20 feet until I lost him. Looking at the blurry pic on the camera, I started to think Milk, since he's so drastically red and white! But, upon uploading the pic, my first assessment was correct. Just a very red Water. Wish I had caught him for close-ups. Maybe I should have had Andrea jump in after him.

So this would up being a pretty great trip!! Massasoit is rapidly becoming a favorite place of ours! Ending up at the Mandarin Buffet was a pretty good post-hike idea too!

*this is a total fabrication.


  1. Awesome! Although a wider shot of Andrea diving after the water snake would be good. When can we herp with you?

    1. We should definitely plan a trek together, Jef! We can't make the next Dedham one but we'll have to work something out!