Well, we'd hoped to have a heatwave by now and have a Rattlesnake trek somewhere this weekend, but ol' Mother Nature has been a bint this year. So, we actually got excited for the predicted 46° for the day. We figured on hitting Borderland to seek out some of the other trails that we always ignore and hopefully see a Salamander or two.
We got there at about 12:30 and when we got out of the car, we were a bit worried that we'd see nothing. Pretty damn brisk, though there was no wind. Still, to be on the safe side, we shifted into birder mode and Andrea got this shot of a Tufted Titmouse at the feeder.
Has it really come to this?!
We went down to the pond where we often see large Water Snakes and Garters, but there was still plenty of snow and ice. The water, which is usually quiet, was raging!
So, we went along the usual trail, intending to branch off on to other trails when they came up. It wasn't long before I heard Andrea yell "Garter"! To my amazement, I turned around and she had a frisky little Garter Snake by the tail! She needed some assistance as he was wrapped around a stick.
Evidently, I'd stirred him up walking by! He was warm to the touch. Why am I not posting pictures? Because while I was getting him under control, Andrea was taking this in situ shot of yet another Garter, two feet away, basking on the edge of a vernal pool!
These snakes are as desperate as we are for warm weather!
Here's the nicely checked first guy!
After making an attempt to get nearer the basking one (who was much bigger) only to have him slide into the icy pool and disappear, we released this guy and watched him slither off.
So, two Garters at 46°... these are not the Garters of my youth!! Maybe they're Robo-Thamnophis!
So, we stayed on the regular trail in hopes of finding more cold resistant snakes. But over the next 3 1/2 hours, we never did!
But Borderland is gorgeous and we saw many spots that we hadn't noticed last year.
This spot had always been dry in our experience. Not this time!
This babbling brook where we'd caught many a Water Snake before actually had white-caps!
It wasn't until we were on our way back to the car when a flip produced what we had come for in the first place... a Redback Salamander!
Unfortunately, we'll be missing next weekend's event...
But, we're happy to have seen two species and to have Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis be both our last herp of the winter and our first herp of the spring! Yay 2013!