Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A Wash-Out in Connecticut 7-1-2013

We were trying to hitch up with our pal Ryan for a quick get together in Connecticut. He'd found his first Hognose over the weekend and we thought that Day 3 of Herp-Vacation was a good time to head South. Well, we never got a hold of him, but decided to try it out none the less.

Weather? Rainy, of course! It's supposed to be all week. But whatever- we had our raincoats and camera-condoms so let's go!

I couldn't drive too quickly because the ol' Corolla just can't handle it anymore, but within 2 hours, we were there, at Northwest Park in East Windsor. As we approached, we noticed that there were kids, buckets and nets. It seems that they had begun herping without us.
It was kinda cool, because they had netted a bunch of metamorph Bullfrogs... ready to emerge, but still with tails!

So we looked at the frogs (some of which were being petted) and felt better when one girl said "We have 4 minutes and a lot of goodbyes"... meaning they were about to release them. One of the froglets had been named Steve.

So we started out, first off finding a couple of American Toads... one small, one not as small.

We started up a trail and looked into a pond... an adult Bullfrog!

Getting near that pond was like that old commercial when a guy sticks an arm not-sprayed with OFF! into a cage of mosquitos... we were swarmed, despite spraying our faces down. Miserable, and the dewpoint must have been at 99.9%! I put on my raincoat not just for the sprinkles, but to protect more skin. I was instantly drenched in perspiration.

We poked around a field, looking at sandy raised areas, hoping for a Box Turtle or Hognose or something. I pleaded with whatever greater force there is out there for a sighting of something, knowing Andrea needs some lifers. We got nothing.

Then the skies opened up. Hugely. We kept up appearances.

We explored some (dry) abandoned barns and still saw nothing. I think that the only thing I saw was a cricket. Outside, it continued pouring!
(I couldn't even wear my glasses... they just fogged up.)

Eventually, we decided on a forest trail, in hopes of the tree canopy shielding us a bit from the torrenbtial downpour. It was just as bad and the hills were running with mud. Every time the rainfall increased, we said "and there I thought it couldn't  rain harder". Eventually, we got near the Nature Center, walking against the tide of a sidewalk river... after 4 hours of being out in a torrential downpour... finding NOTHING!! (I heard a Grey Tree Frog... but couldn't find him).

We dried off in the Nature Center for a while. There was a display that taunted us with a captive Box Turtle.
For some reason, they also had a Corn Snake and a Cali King!

We waited the storm out in a covered picnic area. Andrea was pretty damn happy!

As the rain let up a bit, I headed over to the pond at the beginning, where the kids had found all of the young frogs. I saw a few of my own.

A stub-tail!

A slightly longer one!
(That blue in the background is Andrea)

I walked around the pond (scaring in some adult Bullfrogs and a Painted Turtle) and found that one of the kids had left a net. I grabbed it to return to the headquarters. I have never been a proponent of netting... it's cheating. But shee-hit! It works!

So, yeah. We were soaked through to the skin and extremely uncomfortable, so we headed back to the car, tails between our legs, and started the nearly 2 hour ride home. We'd had a bust.

It's not the wasted time or money that bugs me. It's mostly Andrea's dissappointment and the wear and tear on the car. Whatever. Unlike last time here, we didn't lose any cameras to the downpours. And at least we weren't at work, we were together and we were learning. Of course, today's lesson was: Connecticut sucks. A lesson I learn every time I have to drive through that beastly state!


  1. I live in CT and go to Northwest Park often. I have seen box turtles there plenty of times. It hit or miss really with them. I still have not found my first hognose there. They are incredibly difficult to find in this state but they are present.

    1. We wont give up on the place but I'd love to go just once when we don't get DOWNPOURED on!! Haha!