Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Once upon a Plethodon- the Blue Hills 10-13-2012

Let's face it, this season ended abruptly. But does that mean we're done? Down and out? Givin' up? Well, it should but we're hardy souls with never say die attitudes, or at least folks who would be bored on Saturday morning if we didn't try.

We decided to head to the Blue Hills and search for Salamanders. These hills are also reportedly home to Timber Rattlesnakes and Copperheads. These venomous beauties might be up basking in the sun on the rocky outcrops at the tops of the hills. But I doubt it. The temps were going to be in the mid 50s, so we waited until about noon.

Well, as expected, Redback Salamanders were about... and very easy to find!
The funny thing is, there was often a Redback phase and a Leadback phase sharing real estate under a log!
Why can't we all just get along... like the Plethodon do?!

Some more sexy Redbacks... solo!

We ran in to another hiker and she'd said that there was a sunny spot atop a hill with some rocky outcroppings. Sounded good enough to us... we needed to warm up!

The terrain looked pretty good, and it was warm. Snakes, however weren't present. Andrea discovered this, though...
They look like snake eggs to us... stuck in some moss outside of a large rock... from under which they probably came.
Snake eggs?

I flipped an agonizingly large boulder to find... an eft!
Andrea picked him up and he took a walk...
right into her mitten!
Gotta love the warmth!

So, the Dome was pretty cool and it's a place we'll definitely check out when it gets warmer.

More Redbacks followed...
Even some more racially diverse couples!

The Gods of the Hills watched over us!

So, we took a stroll up Wampatauk Hill, a place with a wonderfully sunny summit! We poked around for a while and it was there that I saw the most beautiful Copperhead!
But no snakes.

On the way down, a flip produced a surprised American Toad!

The Blue Hills Reservation actually has a good map (we wish other places could claim that).We were looking at it trying to decide which way to head back. Andrea suggested that it might not be too late to check the ponds for basking herps. I doubted it, but we went that way anyway.

She was right. I saw a shell. We silently approached, nary uttering a breath. I got this shot and only this shot...
A non-native Red Eared Slider. Funny, after last week's diatribe against fools releasing Red-ears to their imminent deaths, this chap was the only turtle up warming himself.

The last animal we saw was this Heron, who Andrea saw landing at the very top of a very tall tree.

He had to hurry home because there was an Oktoberfest Party goin' on at our friend's house... the ever-wonderful Kate and Snag! Readers of this blog (Me, Andrea and Snag) know that there is a wonderfully happy colony of Dekay's Snakes in their yard! We just had to check, even though it was very nippy out!

Yep- two shoestrings were there, shivering in the October chill!

Like the Spotted Newt earlier in the day, they made a B-line to the warmth of Andrea's sleeve!

All in all, a pretty good day. Being able to herp at all in October is reason to rejoice. Let's hope we can squeeze a few more in before we're forced to call it quits for 2012!


  1. Las salamandras me gustan mucho¿Viste las manitos? El tronco,con cara humana está gracioso.Cariños Martha

    1. Gracias Martha! Cuando hace frío aquí, la mayoría de los animales hibernan pero las salamandras estará despierto durante un mes o dos! Me encantan sus pequeñas manos también! XOXO

  2. Love tagging along on your adventures! Thanks for sharing! I saw two road-killed turtles :( on my way home from work this week (Tues maybe) so the warmth is keeping those reptiles active.

    ~Amy from Lakeville, MA

  3. Thank you Amy! Hey- Lakeville- right next to Oliver mills... land of Northern Water Snakes!