Monday, September 16, 2013

The Climes they are A-Changin' 9-14-2013

It is with great sadness that one has to admit to himself that the herping season is winding down. Oh, we'll keep trying all winter... there's even a special trip brewin' in our skulls... but the weekly and daily snake-searches are rapidly coming to a close. This week, we kept an ear on the forecast, trying to decide which places fit which days the best. Saturday was supposed to be in the mid to high Sixties, which is far cooler than I like it in September. This follows a night in the 40s. Oh well, we chose Borderland.

We got there a little after 9AM. Things got off to a good start when, right outside the information center/ bathrooms, I flipped a pair of Redbacks!
borderpleth 1

Then, a first for this place... a Two-Lined Salamander!
Well, that was a surprise! There is no stream very close to the building that I know of!

An American Toad was next!

I got near the water and saw a fairly large Water Snake swim away. This is the best I could photograph it.

Andrea pointed out what he might have been after...
Oops... my approach might have Bullfrog-blocked him!

I caught this speedy little Wood Frog next!

This young Painted Turtle was desperately trying to catch some rays!
I had worn shorts and a light shirt. I was freezing! I hope this guy, with his shiny black shell, was faring better!

Yes, the 'phibs were out in force! Another Redback and another American Toad!

Andrea made an impressive 'Mander flip... a Redback and our first non-larvae Spotted Salamander in this Park!

I countered with a fine-looking, pale Redback.

Our favorite water spot, which is usually thick with Nerodia, was a tough spot this day! I went in (barefoot) and it was cold! This young Nerodia popped his head out long enough for Andrea to snap his portrait, but pulled back into an impenetrable hole like a shot!

While I was splashing around in the water, Andrea saw this far-off Painted Turtle!

Next up was our new favorite place. We were desperately hoping for a Ringneck or a Milk, but never found any snake at all. BUT, we flipped two Four Toed Salamanders, and that is something we're extremely happy about!

This spot was also Redback-eriffic!
borderpleth 2

Andrea found a successful Snapper hole. The exit hole looked good and non-predated! She dug out a handful of empty eggshells... yep! There are a couple of dozen new Snappers somewhere out there!

A particularly beautiful brown Spring Peeper hopped by us!

Then, a Wood Frog with pink dorsolateral ridges!

We saw some nice variable Toads here too. These are all at least partly Americans, though some had Fowler-ish characteristics... the first one with multiple warts per spot and the last one with a pretty white belly.
 Hybrids are known to exist, so I give up... but we have never seen a full-on Fowler's in this Park.

Soon, I flipped an American and a Redback.

Then, together, we flipped a good sized, chubba-bubba of a Spotted Salamander!
Not humongous, but the largest we have seen since March!
Quite the cutie-pie!

The species count was on and I was psyched that on such a cool day, we were in double-digits! In a dry pond-bed, I flipped a nutty Pickerel who hopped away and hid under my shoe!
He was species #11!

STOP! Mammal time! This small Vole was munching in the path and was completely oblivious to our presence.

Did we really just hit 12 species with this Green Frog?!

On the way back by the waterfall, guess whose noggin was popping out again?!
Definitely the same youngster!

We did some rock climbing in a spot that we hadn't really looked at before. There are a bunch of caves there. Also, a bunch of Redbacks!
borderpleth 3
That last guy isn't posing with his missing tail... he's a broken-tailed specimen and next to him is a wee one!

Andrea surveyed her kingdom from atop her mountain throne...

This, my dear, is a Bullfrog.

This is Andrea photographing a Green Frog...

Back near the beginning, I saw another large Water Snake... wait-a-minute... I think it's the same one as the first one of the morning!
I didn't realize it until Andrea pointed it out to me... there was a small Bullfrog within a foot of his face!
Not wanting to Bullfrog-block him again, we sat still and watched them for about 5 minutes. Neither moved. I suspect the snake was asleep.

We were getting tired but the need of more snakes drove us on. Where were the Garters at, yo?

We went on the trails past where we would have turned to the parking lot. We saw three stoned kids laughing and photographing this large American Toad! (Note the spider dangling from my index finger!)
This was the largest toad we had seen in a while. He also had an endless supply of toad-pee which he was more than happy to share with me.

So, we went another mile out and didn't see anything. Just two turtles all day?? I'd never have believed it but when the sun was behind clouds, it was durn cold! On the way back, we saw a fresh, large Water Snake skin on the path. It appears we had just missed a striptease!

So, knackered, we headed out. a couple of last minute flips got us another Redback
and another American Toad!

Six and a half hours of herping and twelve species! Not bad! But it is telling that we saw only two snakes and two turtles total. The chill in the air doesn't bother the amphibians as much, but the reptiles (and the herpers) feel it... that's for sure!


  1. ¡Andrea,se ve mucho mas delgada y está muy linda!De los bichitos siempre digo lo mismo,que son hermosos. Escribime lo de la encomienda.Hoy fuí al correo y no tenían sistema...y hay algo nuevo en el blog...un "pescadito" que vos no tenés.Unbeso x2Martha

    1. Gracias, Martha! Voy a mirar a tu blog esta noche! Amor y besos!