Monday, May 27, 2013

Back on home turf... 5-26-2013

Well, after that amazing Pennsylvania adventure, it might have been tough to get going back to our usual spots. It really wasn't, but the weather wasn't going to make it easy! Saturday, the 25th, was very cold and very rainy! We took advantage of the weather and bought new raincoats. We then took a walk through Cutler, laying down sheets of tin given to us by our good friend Snag. So, we hiked along Racer Alley, laying down future flippables. But we saw no animals.

Sunday wasn't too much better. It started out cold and rainy, but by noon most of the rain had cleared. Still, it was windy and cool. BUT, herpers gotta herp, so we headed to Ponk!

Balmy yes, but we figured we'd find some amphibians at least! Sure enough, this Pickerel Frog was lazing in a pond and we gathered him for some close-ups.
I even managed a decent shot after we released him...

Then things got weird.

I went to peek at a usual spot, while Andrea stayed up near the path. I returned to see a weird look on her face. She held this in her hand...
She had been distracted by a wiggling in the grass... it was the tail of this 4-Toed Salamander. Had we interrupted something trying to eat it? Had our mere presence startled it into dropping it's tail? And just what was it doing out in the open (and far from any place we'd ever seen one before)? Weird!
At any rate, this lil fella will live to see another day, just half of his normal size.

Things continued in the weird vein when Andrea yelled "Nerodia"! She managed this quick shot before it slid under the rocks...

I got down and peeked in and it was sitting right there, so I brought it out for some close-ups. But it had a strange body thing going on...
Was she preggo? Deformed? Once my stupid pills wore off, I realized it was probably a recently eaten frog in there. DUH!
We let her go to digest.

Andrea later found this skin... the belly scales were huge! Waterlogged, perhaps, but this was still from a big snake!

Weirdness continued. We saw a garter next to the water. I positioned myself to pull him up for close-ups, but when I saw his face, I decided to leave him be...
This poor fella was not only just waking up (slow, pokey movements) but was in the blue and suffering from a serious face injury. His body showed other healed scars as well.
This old warhorse was completely oblivious to us as he crawled right up to me. One of us shifted, alerting him that we were there and he slid down gracefully. What a homely, but wonderful animal.

This was turning out weird! It was cool (but sunny off and on) and we'd expected way more 'phibs! Finally, the Redbacks started turning up! These are all from my camera...
Ponk Pleth 1

We went about our usual streamside flipping for Two-Lined Salamanders, but came up empty. But I figure gratuitous butt-shots are needed anyway.
herpin' butts

More Redbacks, though... these from Andrea's camera...
ponk pleth2

I found this behemoth...

While Andrea had this guy roll up on her!

We had hoped to find a Ringneck or Milk among the rocks, but no luck. However, further along, we flipped this gorgeous and clean Ringneck. Good sized, too!
Cantankerous at first, he calmed down nicely.

I had been flipping and in front of me, a Garter Snake slid in between two rocks. I moved the rocks, but couldn't see any snake. Confused, I poked around for a few minutes, then returned to those two rocks. Nothing... no, wait! Stuffed up in a corner were some coils! This tubby guy was there!

Could this be a female, ready to pop? Seems early, but that's a fat snake! Feisty, too!

A bit further along, this similar sized, similar girthed Garter was catching some rays...

That night, we went to Kate and Snag's annual Tiki Opener party. It has become our duty to not only enjoy the shindig, but to flip some herps to show the kids (and adults). We got this Redback:
 And this wee Dekay's Snake, which charmed everyone to no end!

So, all in all, what a weird day! We found things we figured we wouldn't and, despite a 'phibby start, didn't see things we had expected to! 4 hours of fun, even though this morning, my back is saying that I lifted far too many rocks!

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