Monday, June 24, 2013

Wormtown 'Phibs! 6-23-2013

The heat was hot... 95°, though it felt like only 94°. Still, that was plenty hot for an afternoon of herping. We were in Worcester, MA for a good friend's daughter's first birthday party, so after the shindig, we'd made plans to explore some of the great city's natural wonders. I'd picked out Cook Pond from a list of possibilities. Because it's a pond. And there were trails.

Well, parking for Cook's Pond was at Cascading Waters, another place that I'd considered. Upon pulling into the parking area, we knew we'd be herping this place first! A stream cutting through the landscape, littered with rocks. It looked like Salamander Heaven! (It looked like the first place Kyle took us to in Pennsylvania!)

As we approached the water, an excited Pickerel Frog dove in and stayed put for this shot!

We set about to flip some rocks. The very first flip got us a small Dusky Salamander, which was still a lifer for us this time last month! But they're still new to us making this a very exciting first flip!

Next, almost immediately, we flipped a nice, big Dusky, at least 2 inches bigger than the last guy!

Then Andrea yelled "2-Line and a Dusky"!

I started to get horny for the possibility of Spring Salamanders. If they are in this county, they'll be here! We didn't turn one up, but this place needs way more time spent in it! I did flip a third Sally species, though... a wee Redback!

Howza 'bout a couple more Two-Lined?

Another behemoth Redback!

We'd both flipped a few more Duskies and 2-Lined, but they both move pretty fast and pics weren't very good.

I found this guy, which filled me with wonder!
Looks like a Two-Line, but it still has gills and, it's fairly bulky- even for an adult! And no yellow belly!
My thought is a ready-to-go larvae, though he's certainly a brute! My friend Mike says not to count out the possibility of  neoteny (which has been described in this genus). That is when adults retain some of the traits of   juveniles. Hmmmm....

All of these possibilities made me dizzy and my head hot, so I dunked it in the nice, cold stream water!

We decided to head upwards and see more of the cascading that was cascading on the cascades.

I saw this beautiful East Coast Herper (not a lame one)!

Right up near the top of the trail, we saw this nice American Toad!

We decided to head back down (I was getting a bit light-headed again and had no desire to repeat yesterday's wobbliness...) and go check out Cook Pond across the street. That was, after all, why we had come this way.

Well, it was a lovely pond and we did see this Painted Turtle pop his head up a few times...
but the promised trails ended shortly at a Private Beach. The map never said you can't go that way on the trail, but the signs and the better-than-thou people there made me think that we shouldn't. So we turned back.

Cook Pond is indeed lovely but when we come back this way, we're going to be all over Cascading Waters, or as we now know it... Salamander Heaven!


  1. I think I suffer from neoteny. I think sometimes we ALL suffer from my neoteny.