Friday, October 19, 2012

It's never too late... 10-14-2012 in Boyden

October is usually a time of real change for us. Of course, it gets colder so herps are not as common. Also, we usually have big plans, like the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Fest and Chiller; our weekends (hike time) get pretty filled up. So this Sunday, with a forecast of temps in the mid-60s, we took a trip to Boyden.

Again, we didn't hurry getting there. Things have to warm up a bit! Plus, it was raining. We pulled in at roughly noon. It was still cloudy and cool. I didn't spray down, even. Dumb, because I got a tick that I didn't find until Wednesday!

We went up to the house and it was covered with No Trespassing signs! Oh crap! Well, just a peek won't hurt! I was heading towards some boards when Andrea found this fella!

She even got dog poop on her hand grabbing this beautiful Garter Snake!

I hadn't seen him, but the board I was heading to had a couple of Redbacks, one of whom looked like this:

Could this beauty be our last snake of the year?

Flipping in the garden produced no snakes, but here's a pair of high altitude Redbacks-

There were also dozens of Short Winged Blister Beetles (aka Oil Bugs) that were very beautiful. Not sure if these two are doin' some foreplay or not...
Short Winged Blister Beetles

I tried to pose a few on my hat and stuff but they lay limply... upon researching, I discovered that they were playing dead!! Cool!

I was chasing a Spring Peeper who was about to escape our camera until he landed in a spider web. Thank you, Mr. Arachnid!
Spring Peepers... now in Autumn, too.

Shall we now enjoy a plethora of Plethodons?

Walking along some sandy soil, I saw a toad sail into an excavated turtle nest... it looked like somebody sank a nice putt! I pulled him out for his close-up.

This could be Andrea's finest shot of the year...
Might as well jump...

Howza bout some more Redbacks? Hey, that one on the far right is an imposter!
One of these things is not like the other.

Large Leadback!

Three Pack Shakur!

A wee American Toad!

The carpets had many things in it again. Besides the toad, there were some salamanders...

And a Grass Spider carrying a huge, blue egg sac!
Grass spider with blue egg sac

Hey, for mid-October, we'll take it!


  1. ¡No respetaste la intimidad de los escarabajos ja ja!!!Cariños x2 Martha

  2. Good stuff as always, M + A !

    1. Thank you, Jef!! Things are winding down for the year, which is sad, but we never say die!

  3. Just a question..why do you guys pick up/touch everything you find?

    Not trying to be a jerk, but it obviously stresses the animals out (hence the snake bites), and possibly spreads disease between similar species within a large habitat (where animals wouldn't interact across the park, or in different towns, etc.), and interspecies (think Chytrid fungus and its devastating results to all herps regardless of species, and handling of exotic pets).

    You mentioned not "spraying down" I imagine with Off! or DEET, or even sunscreen. Seeing as you're such active herp enthusiasts (which is great! I encourage everyone to appreciate them as much as possible, we need more people advocating for them, and you guys are doing a great job, I love the blog), I imagine you already know how sensitive the skin on amphibians are to absorbing chemicals, and hence why they're great indicator species on how well an ecosystem is functioning. By touching them they quickly absorb anything on your hands, and considering their small size, ends up giving them a large dose of unnatural chemicals. I would encourage you to take as many pictures as possible, but please be wary of the possible consequences of your actions by touching them.

    I saw your post about invasive red eared sliders. Besides out competing other native painted turtles, they're also a problem because household pets spread weird diseases into natural habitats. I can't help but think that its possible you're harming while attempting to do good. Please, clean your snake hooks, and hands between handlings if you must.

    There's a saying "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints." I know you guys aren't taking any of the animals, which I commend you on, most enthusiasts aren't that strong. Hopefully you're not leaving more behind than footprints!

  4. Just a question: why are you hiding your lecture in anonymity?

  5. I'm not trying to be a jerk myself, but in my experience, anonymous comments = trolling.

    I also don't understand your paragraph about invasive RES including the sentence "I can't help but think that its possible you're harming while attempting to do good.", especially considering that we haven't released any RES, taken any RES, or even handled one. Maybe it was just an oddly structured paragraph, but there seems to be some sort of implication of wrongdoing there.

    Again, I'm not trying to be a jerk, and you say you're not, but I really don't like anonymous lectures. It does nothing to open up a conversation, and instead seems to be saying your piece and then leaving without any sort of retort.

    1. Thank you for addressing the Red-Ear bit. I too am confused. Not sure how someone releasing their unwanted pet into the wild relates to my possible mishandling and contaminating of wild herps.

  6. Hi Anon-

    To answer your question, we enjoy handling the herps; we enjoy interacting with nature, seeing the animals up close and learning more about these beautiful animals. With a lot of experience on our sides, we feel that we're also pretty good at it. With the amount of snakes "falling asleep" in our hands this year, I think that, overall, we're not putting a lot of stress on them. The biters are handled long enough to get the shot. It is important for us to photograph the animals.

    We do NOT handle 'phibs with bug-sprayed hands. It's something that we learned long long ago. My "spraying down" consists of legs, pants and shoes (ticks), arms and head. I do not spray my hands; I am not an idiot. (That is why I have bug bites on my hands in so many pics!) Most salamanders and frogs are only handled enough to get the photo, if at all.

    I appreciate your concern and agree to some extent. We do indeed usually sanitize our hands in between snake captures. We are as careful about contamination as possible.

    So, while I'm glad that you have enjoyed our blog, I ask that, if it will bother you to see me handling snakes, which I have been doing for over 45 years and am well aware of its problems, concerns and ecological ramifications, to just not look.