Monday, April 15, 2013

Plymouth County Hates Us! 4-14-13

Crappy, cool and overcast... with a chance of afternoon sun. Whatever. But the "windy" part in the forecast made us look away from a planned Blue Hills trip and we looked towards Middleboro and Rocky Gutter... to see how things were shaping up there.

We arrived at about 11:30 and it was still cool. We'd dodged the raindrops the whole way there, but the sun was peeking out when I parked. I immediately went running into a field, before even putting on my backpack and found many Redback Salamanders!
Damn! By my count, that's 17 Redbacks before I even closed the trunk of the car!!!

While we were doing this, a family on off-road vehicles asked if we'd seen some dirt-bikes riding around. We said no. The odd thing is, it was a 10 year old child asking the question while the Mom stupidly waved to me (twice) like a brainless moron and the father just waited for us to answer, looking away like the nervous idiot he was! Whatever.

So, we got to the trail and were happy to see the furniture still there. (To fully understand this part of the post, please refer to our first exploratory hike in Rocky Gutter in March here) Andrea found a nice Spotted Salamander under the couch!

And another Redback...
(That is the last Rocky Gutter Redback we photographed... we saw dozens more!)

The vernal pools that we observed on March 3rd (see link above) that we said would be sooooo good for breeding, in fact, WERE! Andrea first noticed a glob of Spotted Salamander eggs!
And more!

On the other side of the puddle, was this mass... more flattened and spread out...
Close inspection showed movement... this mass was hatching!

Andrea, playing God, was birthing wee Wood Frog tadpoles in her hands!

Neato! So after running into the aforementioned dirt-bikers and mentioning that running through the puddles would be amphibian-genocide (to a dazed expression), we hit the other end of this powerline-cut roadway... and saw that those vernal pools were full of action as well!

I took my first double-soaker of the year for our first American Toad of the year!
Now, why was this slow moving fella in the water on a cool overcast day?

Ooooh! I see!
It seems there is some breeding goin' on over here! These two were in amplexus the whole time we were on this side of the cut and never even noticed us! Br-wakka-wakka!

So the first hour and a half was ruling Earth!! Let's go check out the main road...

Well, shit. We walked and walked and walked and saw nothing, save a few Redbacks. When the sun would stay out from behind a cloud for more than 3 minutes, it got warm, but that was a rarity. We realized that good ol' Rocky Gutter... our place of so much promise, had no good standing bodies of water in the main section. The final two hours of our hike just ground on and on.

We turned around and said fukkit.

We'd spent about 3 1/2 hours here and the final two were dead. So, on the way home, we "accidentally" turned off of Rt. 495 and headed to Massasoit, in hopes of flipping a snake at the Picnic Tables.

Well, surprise surprise... the bike brats had set all of the wonderful snake boards up for a bike ramp over a table. Again. Well, even though it meant no snakes for us, we dismantled their ramp (again) and spread it out for future herping fun. I don't know how long the snakes will put up with this on again off again cover. It's an ongoing battle between us and the bike brats.

We had a few redbacks to help us lick our wounds...
Massasoit 4-14-2013
Massasoit 4-14-2013

So, things we learned today.
1.) Fuck Rocky Gutter Road. It's not worth it. Everything we need to see can be found in the powerline-cut section.
2.) All people on dirk-bikes, off-road vehicles and bikes on trails or in the woods are my enemies.
3.) Pretty much as a rule, Plymouth County hates us.


  1. Middleboro, not Middleton. :)

    The first egg mass I am holding was on the ground outside the water. I put it back in the water, but the damage may already be done.

    1. Just checking to see if anyone was actually reading. I have changed it to the right name now that I caught you!