Monday, July 8, 2013

Even we have our limits... 7-6-2013

We got up at 4 AM in hopes of getting to Boyden at 6... before it got too hot. It was supposed to be about 95° again and we know the snakes do not like being out and about in such weather. The shaky ol' Corolla barely got us there, but we made it... more or less on time.

We were hoping for a much less buggy day than the previous one but as soon as I stepped out of the car, I started getting buzz-bombed by flies, gnats and mosquitoes. Funny... the first time we ever came here, I ran out screaming because of irritating bugs. So, we sprayed down big-time... taking deet blasts right to the face.

It didn't help. We were being bombarded relentlessly. We went about our usual route, albeit very quickly. We saw nothing. Some movement finally revealed a tiny, young Spring Peeper! (Fear not... the bug spray isn't on my fingers... or anywhere, really... sweat off long ago!)
We saw an equally tiny toad, but he jumped away and taking the time to regather him and photograph him meant dozens more fly bites and ear-buzzing, so I said to hell with it.

We had hoped to see some late bloomer turtles laying and, sure enough... a couple of Painted ladies were doing just that!
This gal was only about 20 feet from the water...

While this one was another 20 feet further out.

The only other herp we saw this morning was a basking Painted Turtle... I'll bet he didn't stay up long!

Andrea and I both love the heat. The super high heat makes it tough to find herps, though, as it gets too hot even for them! Diurnal snakes, for the most part, stay hidden until sunset, becoming nocturnal during heatwaves. No, it wasn't the heat that was getting to us. It was the bugs!!!

We were walking briskly, having said fuck-it-all, and were calling it quits after only about 2 hours. I was waving my hands about my head and I was hitting dozens of little insect bodies that were swarming my head. It was constant!!! They were flying into my ears, my eyes... I had to remove my glasses to I could smack my own face to try to shoo these fuckers off! It was making us insane!!! We got so many fly and mosquito bites that we lost count. It was infuriating!!!!

Once we got into the sanity of the car (and got rid of the ones that came in on us), we took a deep breath and noticed it was only 8:30 AM. Might as well go to Oliver Mills, which is a few miles down the road. It would be hot hot hot there, but bugs have never been a problem.

We were the second car in the parking lot, which is rare. The water was rushing but we were not. No bugs circled our heads. We saw one Water Snake poke his head out of the rocky foundation, testing the temps.
But that is as far as he came out.

Walking along, Andrea stopped me with her hand... and pointed down...
A raggedy ol' Musk Turtle was laying, finishing up, or digging a test hole.
She had cobwebs on her head! We left her alone to do what needed to be done. This is where she was... cool set-up for a nest!

Andrea soon saw her walking along towards the water... finished with her duty.
She was a compact little gal. Andrea asked if I had ever smelled a Musk Turtle... come to think of it, I hadn't! We don't get to handle many. So I took a big sniff! WOW!! The name Stinkpot is apt!! The odor hits the nostrils like burned rubber! Stays on the hands, too!

I have decided that Musks are among my favorite of our local turtles. They're tough to see, and when you do, they are drab, kinda homely and they stink! Based on that criteria, Andrea consented to marry me, so if it's good enough for her, it's good enough for me!

We got home by 11 AM! I had a nap! We later went out for about an hour (about 7:15 PM) to flip rocks at Millennium Park, but no dice. I got nothing except another sweat soaked shirt. The snakes really are far smarter than we are. That and, except for in Andrea's case, they're cuter too!


  1. ¡Los mosquitos te invitan a bailar al darte manotazos para espantarlos ja- ja!!!..pero,igual, las fotos son muy lindas.Yo puse animalitos en el blog. Cariños Martha

    1. Jajaja!! Demasiados mosquitos son difíciles de bailar! Ouch! Muerden!