Tuesday, September 24, 2013

There's got to be a morning after... 9-22-2013

After the mega-extreme-adventure in Western Mass on Saturday, we went to bed, passed out and slept in. I slept until nearly 7 AM!!!! It was a rainy Sunday morning and we were achy and tired and my head was misshapen and sore. We both felt every bump and bruise and sting from Saturday's trip.

But the sun came out and by noon, we were in the car and headed to Cutler. Just a quick hike, to keep our hands dirty. We got there just before 12:30 PM and the sky was blue and sunny!

We walked slowly. It's all we could muster. We took to the train tracks, as the trains don't run on Sunday. I took the occasional trek down the rocky slope. At one point, a speedy Garter slid over the edge. OK... there's at least one snake up! Within 15 feet, Andrea said "here's another!"
I had walked right by this pile of cute!

We didn't stay long on the top and opted for the ground level. This Chinese Mantid greeted us.

I picked a few choice spots to climb the rocky hill side and at one point, right there- three feet in front of me- was 6 inches of Racer tail sticking out from between the rocks. I doubted that there was any way to extricate him, but I grabbed the tail... which just slid out of my hand like it was buttered and that was that!

I redeemed myself once we got into the woods. I saw a Garter and made a super dramatic, feet-leaving-the-ground leap and caught a slithering gal. There were plenty of branches to break my fall. The snake really didn't move too quickly. I way overdid it.
In fact she was pretty mellow.
Eventually, she took a leisurely crawl across the trail and into the leaves.

Andrea spotted the next Garter.
Again, a very mellow serpent!
Posed nature shot alert!

To be completely honest, this was an absolutely perfect  herp trip for me at that time. Slow, mellow, plenty of garters and no injuries! (I scraped my arm a bit on the Racer rocks, but no too badly.) I envisioned myself as an asylum inmate, let loose into a big green field with a butterfly net, happily skipping along in the sun while dandelion seeds swirl about my empty head. Heaven!

Mud puddles, temporary homes to those aforementioned dandelion seeds and Green Frogs!

We flipped some boards that had been hijacked from our pile earlier in the year and placed into the path for bike riders. We encountered our first ever (for Cutler) Spotted Salamander!
Obviously, we relocated him nearby, off of the beaten track.

Our former board pile, which we started rebuilding our last time here, was still empty, but another spot right there had a baby Garter hangin' out!
This brute was Andrea's flip!

We also flipped a very nice Leadback!

I flipped a branch and saw nothing and as it dropped, I saw some yellow spots in a nook... I almost had missed another Spotted Salamander!

I saw another friendly Garter, who had no trouble posing for some nature shots...

The two Greens were still in the puddle on our way back, as well as a few more! I was only able to get a shot of this new one...

Andrea saw a very modest American Toad...
who she convinced to strip with "You wanna be a star in this town, don't you? Now Take It Off!!!"

Our last herp of this quiet but very rewarding four hour walk was a large Green Frog, sitting between two reeds and almost undetectable from the boardwalk.

Admittedly, the last hour was tough on our tired legs but we got to the car, sat down and high-fived each other. We got up, got out and had a perfectly wonderful hike! 5 snakes in late Spetember in Massachusetts is a good day indeed! (Not to mention the 2 that we didn't get photos of.)

We went to bed very early that night.


  1. ¡Son sapitos o príncipes encantados? ¡Muy bellos, los amo!!! Besos x2 Martha

    1. Yo soy el único príncipe en el blog! hehehe! XX

  2. You got a few chuckles out of me with this one!