Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful for Salamanders! 11-23-2012

Ah, and what a lovely Thanksgiving it was this year! We had much to give thanks for! And instead of joining the stupid section of America by participation in a Black Friday fistfight-spendathon, we went herping!

Calling for temps in the mid-50s, we decided on Ponkapoag. Nothing like our old mainstay; a place that we know well and know what to look for! Being post-frost and still cool, we figured we'd have a shot at some Redbacks (the most tenacious of herps!) in the 4+ mile hike!

Sure enough, our first sighting (which also breaks last years lateness record of Nov. 20th) was this fine Redback!
Check out the gorgeous patterning on this fella!

Admittedly, we walked for quite a while after we saw him and didn't see anything else. We got to a spot which is heavily Redbacked on a normal day (and Ringnecked, too... but I wasn't expecting miracles... or frozen snakes!) and I was flipping stones and thinking "that one Redback might well be it for today" when I heard Andrea call... "which are the yellow-bellied ones again? Two-Lines?"

It turns out she'd hit the Two-Lined motherload and had a handful of three crazy ones!
These were her first of the year, too! As you'll recall, I saw some here earlier in the year on my trip with my friend Ryan, but she wasn't there.

Subsequent flipping produced more, but they were too fast to photograph. This guy, however, slipped into the mud and poked his wee head out for this shot!

The best thing about this Two-Lined extravanganza is that is was in a spot that we had never seen this species before!

The other great thing about it is... it seemed to turn the tide; we started finding tons of Redbacks after that!
And Leadbacks!
That's a dime!!


One large rock was hoisted by yours truly and there were 4 Redbacks under it. They scooted away quickly, going into little salamander sized holes. Here's an action shot showing their quick retreat!

All told, we saw well over a dozen Redbacks, with still a mile to go!

The last leg of the journey produced no more herps, but we did find a couple of iridescent earthworms...
Iridescent worm!

So, November 23rd and we can still have productive herp trips. Color me happy! And make that color Red... for Redbacks!


  1. This is awesome!! Redbacks baby!! Let's keep our fingers crossed that we keep finding them through December!!

    1. You know it! A 2 species day at the end of November is like an 8 species day in June!