Sunday, April 21, 2013

Borderland Challenge- Day One Friday April 19th.

OK, well I was supposed to be working the Boston Comic Con this weekend. I was supposed to herp on Friday alone, so I could get a day in before working all weekend. Andrea was going to herp without me on the weekend. So, we decided to both herp Borderland... me on Friday, she on Saturday... and Saturday night, we would compare to see who found what. An unofficial challenge!

Well, we're not super-competitive people, so we decided to let our friends in on it, so they could bet on who would find more! Then it escalated to a charity event! Closest guess on the right person wins $50 toward their favorite animal charity!! Fun fun fun!

Then the Marathon bombings happened. OK... the Con was still on. Then the lunatic put Boston into lockdown on Friday... my herp day. OK... Andrea was home. Challenge cancelled, just like the Comic Con.

BUT, we decided to make the best of a bad situation. Deciding to change it to TWO winners... one for Friday and one for Saturday, we exercised our civil disobedience at about 1 PM on Friday and snuck out to Borderland. Better very late than never.

We got there at about 1:30 and it was warmish, but very cloudy and the rain would be coming soon. Our expected mass of Water Snakes didn't appear right away and we discovered that we'd have to actually work for our count!

First up was a lovely American Toad.

Followed by a Redback

Though we have never encountered Spotted Salamanders here, these egg masses say they are indeed here!

Another 4 Redbacks!
collage 1

Then the Painted Turtles started to kick in. Cloudy or not, the Pictas were posing! An 8-pack!
And two 5-packs!

We had put a cap of 20 on both Redbacks and Painteds, and we were darn close here already!

Not to be outdone, here's another 6 Redbacks!

I finally found a squamate... a feisty little Garter Snake that enjoyed showing us his rear-fangs!
He enjoyed showing Andrea how those anti-coagulants work!

Upon releasing him, he posed for some nice nature shots nearby.

I would have totally missed this guy, but Andrea saw this Toad snuggling up in a hole...
He seemed to be hiding. But from what?

Perhaps he had just seen his family devoured!!!
This is perhaps the most comically full snake I have ever seen!
Needless to say, we didn't handle him. I've had Garter Snakes disgorge onto me before... it's not too much fun.

Another lone Redback!

We finally found our first Water Snake of the year.
I'm so happy it didn't happen without Andrea! In fact, she saw him first! He slid into the water and I patiently waited for him to swim within reach and grabbed him. He bit me pretty good and musked the shit out of me! Note musk dripping from my shirt pocket...
A real beauty, and much bigger than we'd initially thought!

I snapped these two Painted Turtle pics (reaching and shattering the count-cap) while bleeding all over the camera.

So, it started raining, so we bagged the camera and cut the trip in half. For about a mile, we didn't see anything. Then, as it cleared slightly, there were some more Painteds basking in the clouds.

Eagle eye Andrea, always with an eye for the smut, spied these two Bufos doin' it!
That gal on the bottom is quite the beauty!

We could hear Wood Frogs calling, though they would stop whenever we got close enough to look or record them. We could hear Toad calls as well. Plus, Peepers, who never shut up, so we got some proof! (Counted as one herp).

Then Andrea found this raggedy lookin' fella...
What a dangerous existence it is for a Garter Snake! This guy looks like he's survived more than his share of close calls! Sadly, it looks as though he's got the fungus that is going around...
He didn't musk... I wonder if he still can. Still feisty and beautiful, in his own way.

One more Redback for the road.

So, that was my Borderland Count... with the Painted Cap, we counted 43, making Kim Karma the winner (she picked Mike @ 42)! Her charity is the Animal Rescue League of Boston (where she adopted her awesome cat Dom) and we're donating $50 to them in her name!

Well, it didn't go down exactly as expected, but this way we get to have two winners and two charities! Who will win tomorrow's adventure????

Our twin snake blossoms... the family that herps together, bleeds together.

On the way home, we had to pick up some junk at BJ's Wholesale, so we swung into the parking lot behind the adjacent Best Buy and visible through a chain link fence, basking on a log in the raindrops, was this Painted Turtle!
Behind the parking lot behind Best Buy!! Dedham, MA


  1. That is a nice looking water snake - love the underside of that one!

  2. Those scars are certainly weird, and made me immediately get out hand sanitizer (which I usually do anyway, but this one got twice the sanitizing) in case it was a fungus.