Monday, July 15, 2013

Curses! Foiled again! 7-13-2013

I have a distinct memory of someone (that would be me) going off last week about wasting time looking for target species, seeking Hognose Snakes and Box Turtles... fuck this, fuck that! Wah, wah, wah!

So, Saturday morning, I set the alarm for 4 AM to drive out to Franklin County, in hopes of seeing some Hognose Snakes and Box Turtles. We didn't make the best time getting out there... my stomach wasn't behaving too well and we had to stop a few times...  but after downing a bottle of Pepto Bismal and saying a few prayers, we got there and dug in to the task at hand. It was wonderfully overcast with temps in the mid-70s... just about perfect!

Hogland was searched thoroughly. We ran into our old friend, the fellow we know as Door Ringneck. He acted all coy for us.

Elsewhere, Andrea found a very beautiful, orangey Garter Snake hanging out. It was very friendly.
Lookit that dorsal stripe, man!

Five pictures of the same Garter on the blog? Shut it! This one was a beauty!

We carried on, searching high and low and coming up herpless. At least target species herpless. I managed a nice shot of a choice Viceroy Butterfly, though!

Now, if this spot is supposed to be so great for Hoggies, where are all of the toads? Gotta have toads to have hoggies! Well, here's one! A plump American Toad, hanging out under a board under an electric tower.

We eventually found our way over to what we think is a good Box Turtle area. Again, we split up and searched high and low. Under one log, I flipped a nice, fair sized Garter, who wasn't too pleased with me capturing him for photos... at least he tried looking like a Hognose for us!
He musked and pooed on me. I even had to help pull a pine needle out that was stuck half way out of his vent. The things we do for love...
camera bite
A real pissed off beauty!

After about 15 minutes, I heard a whoosh and saw a Garter body go into the woods. I gave chase and, luckily, he came to a little incline and I was able to get him for pics. I thought it might be the same one as before... roughly the same size and pattern, but about 50 feet away. He calmed right down in my hands...

I went over to the log where we'd released the previous (bitey) Garter and he was there, and still aggravated that I was in his presence.

So, not bad! 3 Garters! Now, even though we were once again striking out on our target species, at least we were finding some animals! I can live with that.

We'd found some boards that we wanted to put down in the Hognose area, at least to give the resident Ringneck some cover options. While back in that area, the orangey Garter Snake was still enjoying a bask.

We settled down for an hour of important stuff... picking a couple of pounds of Lowbush Blueberries!
We're still, two days later, enjoying them... and there are plenty left!

So, we got a little lunch on the way out and saw that it was still early-afternoon. Plenty of herp time left. Plus, the hours that we'd just spent herping (and berrying) flew by! So, we thought we'd stop at a place in Worcester County that we like... it was on the way home.

We hit some light showers on the highway but as we neared our next destination, the ground was very wet and there were puddles everywhere. Looks like they had gotten it pretty good!

Well, as soon as we parked, we started getting hit by gnats, mosquitoes and those damn yellow flies. Compared to our last trip here, it was like the Sahara, but it was still wet and hot and the bugs were out in force... looking for blood. I knew we wouldn't last long.

We made it to our sure-fire spot and, sure enough, there was a good sized Northern Water Snake coiled up... he uncoiled and slid into the brush, but i got him (by the tail) and got him for pictures. He was not pleased.
Another one-eyed beauty. But man, the mosquitoes were attacking... they were even landing on the snake!
Shit, I'm itching just remembering this! We let him go...
and carried on another few feet before we just said fuck it and ran back to the car. We shivered for a while; those bugs had once again gotten the best of us! But at least we got to see a lovely Water Snake before being driven out!

So, Franklin County was successful, in a way at least. Plus, I don't think we saw one mosquito there. I'm calling it a good day. I guess we're not giving up. We'll find our stupid Hognoses and Boxes and Spadefoots... but tenacity doesn't always pay off in this hobby. Patience is needed. I'll just have to remember that.