Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September Hurps do so much. 9-23-2012 at Ponk

After the previous day's marathon hike, we were uncertain if we'd have the strength to get out on this sunny Sunday. But, of course, the lure of September Hurps was too much... how can I deny what's inside?

A minor technical dilemma started the day... the good camera which had charged all night wasn't turning on. While I pitched a fit, swearing and kicking the cats, Andrea suggested we try the other battery. *whew* It worked. I love that camera, well never mind. I'd have been crying all the time.

Ponk was next in line, so that's where we went! I wore shorts and a light shirt. I froze my ass off. It was damn cold! It looked like it might be shaping up for a Green Frog only kind of day!

We saw this mini-Snapper (only a shade bigger than a snapling) basking on a rock. We tried not to laugh as he lost his footing and slipped into the water. I helped him out and we got some close-ups.
Thong plastron!

At least the sun was warm, but the wind off of the water was chilling! These Painted Turtles enjoyed baking their dark shells!

A Pickerel Frog was even basking! I'll bet that water was icy!

Eagle-eye Andrea spotted a Water Snake laying down in the sun, trying to stay warm...
I picked him up to help warm him. He's very much ready to shed!

Redbacks are becoming plentiful again. Remember last month when we couldn't find them? Seems like forever ago. We still can't photograph them for shit, though...

Hey, look! It's a chubby American Toad! He was under a rock. I thought about joining him!

This Redback has a red back. Funny how that works.

The Big Star of the day came next... a Snapling!

Andrea couldn't resist humiliating him; she made him model the latest acorn fashions.

He really gave her the stink-eye on his way to the water...

So that was it. Not too much to speak of. I got really sullen after flipping tons of rocks and finding no snakes. It was the second day in a row that hammered home the fact that it's getting cooler. We walked the last mile to the car, a flurry of emotions... the winter is coming...

December herpers got it bad...
December herpers got it bad...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Seasons They Change 9-22-2012

I wish I could have a more exciting post to follow such a great title... one I borrowed from my friend Jeanette Leech's wonderful book Seasons They Change: The Story of Acid and Psychedelic Folk (which can be purchased here) but despite our best efforts, we had only a moderate herp day.

We were as excited as can be to get back to Massasoit, one of our very favorite places. After last week's success, we might have been a little over confident... I don't know. We decided to take a quick run through Allendale on Friday evening at 6PM... just to warm up.

Well, warming up wasn't a good word. It was pretty cool! But we saw a few herps in the short amount of time we had before it got too dark to see... like this large Bullfrog!

And two Redbacks! (There were others, but they outsmarted us!)

So, Saturday morning, we got to Massasoit by 9:30 and it was coooold when we hit the trails! I was bingin' like bullets! These frogs (a young Bull and some Greens) laughed at my discomfort!
^ This little Bullfrog guy still has some tail!

Summer was to officially end at 10:48 AM, so were were hurrying to try to get our last summer herps in! We were a bit surprised to find this little Garter Snake under some debris while it was still so overcast and cool! He had some great Gartertude!
Check out his little crooked spine- kind of a hunchbacked snake! Serpiente jorobada!
The hunchback of Massasoit
We released him and he slowly worked his way home...
Baby, I'm goin' home

Redbacks are back with a vengeance!

We found this fairly large (if thin) Garter skin near the water...

This Green Frog, hiding neatly in a bush, was glad the owner of that skin wasn't around!

A Leadback was next! He was also our final herp of the Summer of 2012!

We were combing through the large sandy area that we usually don't have the energy for... the sun was still hidden, so we didn't overheat like we usually do. There were many many remnants of turtle nests, some looked successful, most did not.
We determined that some of the small, shallow holes were toad holes. Toads, like this Fowler's that was under a log, our first herp of the Fall of 2012.

It looks like we had just missed some deer as well...

A beautiful and interesting dragonfly-  my book calls it the Brown-spotted Yellow-wing! Shit, I could have come up with something better than that!

A Pickerel Frog that was in the path...

This guy (a plant bug? roach?) is all kinds of badazz!

A big-arsed Chinese Mantid!

Finally, the sun started to come out, so we started to hope for some actual herps. As much as we like insects, they're not what we came for!

A Pickerel had led me into mucky water, so I had double-soakers to walk the still-flooded path with. This young Bullfrog kept swimming in front of my steps!

FINALLY some damn Painted Turtles got up to bask! Lots of them, in fact!

Well, that did my heart good!

We took numerous new trails and revisited old favorites... we walked until we couldn't walk no more! But we just didn't see any more snakes! Two more Chinese Mantids, though.
These guys are cool because they're big... about 4 or 5 inches, and they're heavy enough to make noise when they walk through the leaves!

This Green Frog said goodbye to us, as we left after 7 hours on the trails...

You'd think that's all we had! Well, it really was, but after some Mandarin Buffet, we remembered we still had to check on our friend's cats! So, we went up to check them and clean some boxes. One of them, Maybelle, looked very much like this!

The backyard Dekay's had to be checked on as well! Two babies were still hanging out!
Not to mention a nice Redback...

I've said it before and I'll say it again... any day that you get out on the trails and HERP is a good day! Still, I felt some disappointment from the effort-to-finds ratio. Really, I just started feeling blue because the season is surely coming to an end. It's been some a wonderful year for us; we've been so passionate about it and learned so much... I'm just not ready for it to end. The nights are getting cold and animals are starting to get ready to skidaddle.

But we ain't throwing in the towel just yet!