Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The October Blues 10-5-2013

Think this is going to be a post lamenting the changing of the seasons... the loss of warm weather and the declining herps of the year? No flippin' way! Read on! Or just look at the pictures. That's what y'all do anyway! Even my Mom doesn't read this rot!

It was overcast on Saturday morning, but the nights haven't gone colder than the mid-50s so we were optimistic. The temps were supposed to get into the mid-60s. We haven't completely given up hope on snakes yet this year. We headed over to a nearby place in Suffolk County because we'd have to pick up Lilah, my granddaughter, by 4PM. We got there before 10. That should give us plenty of time.

Right away, we saw some blue. A Blue Spotted Salamander.

Within minutes, another.

While Andrea was photographing the second one, I found a third. Couples time!

Here's a solo shot of that third one... stunning!

There were some Redbacks about as well.

Here's a first for this location (which admittedly, we only discovered this year)... a Spotted Salamander!
And once again, we found another Blue...
so we got to do a few Mixed Doubles shots!

We had now quadrupled our lifetime Blue-Spotted count. Things went ridiculous!

Lucky seven!

By this time, we had called our friend Steve New England Herps, who we knew hadn't seen a Blue in many a moon. Since it seemed like shooting fish in a barrel, we wanted him to come and see some of these magnificent animals! Well, he was at work. Which he promptly ditched for a few hours! He was on his way!

In the interim, we herped on. Here's a plump Spotted...

And another Blue Spotted!

I took a new non-trail down to a dried up vernal while Andrea headed out down the regular path. Right in the vernal spot, I found another Blue and a Redback!

while Andrea found a Redback...
and a Blue!

Here's a Redback we found together!

We got to the area where we found our first ever Blue Spotted Salamander back in August. We flipped our eleventh Blue of the day and a bonus Spotted!

Being not pressed for time, like we usually were here, we decided to explore a new section of trails. Very Cutler-like. Not bad. Even a puddle with some Green Frogs!

We took the trail for roughly a mile, and it twisted along between areas that looked like they were usually wet. The dry beds didn't produce any Two-Lineds like we'd hoped but we found a few more Salamanders... a Spotted

and a Redback.

We turned around after a bit and headed back. The Green Frog puddle was hoppin'! There are four in this shot!

Finally, almost back at our usual route, a Garter slithered across the path. We caught him and he behaved nicely for some photos!
Beautiful specimen!

As we walked along our usual path, we started to see more frogs... some more Greens:
suffolk greens

and some Bullfrogs...

We got out to the rocky part and started flipping for Garters, way better than bowling for dollars! We scored right away with this feisty fella!

He turned out to be our only snake along this part, but we saw many more frogs... like these Bulls!
suffolk bulls

and this lovely Green!

We were hoping to catch a Nerodia for some shots with the beautiful Autumn leaves in the background, but we didn't encounter one. So just imagine a snake in the foreground of this picture:

Steve had called us. Andrea answered her phone. For some reason, I answered a Bullfrog.
He was there and was already finding Blues!

We headed back to meet up with him. The only animal we saw along the way was this Wood Frog!

So, he had found about 9 Blues already and from where he said he had found them, it sounds like few if any were repeats of our own finds! It was Blue-Spotted Mania! Andrea added this chubba-bubba before we left for the day!

Twelve Blue Spotteds! Plus another 10 or so from Steve! Not bad.

So, we picked up Lilah to watch for a few hours. Our friend Snag was nice enough to invite us over and, while we had very little time, we were very happy to drop by to say hey! As he usually does, he let us herp his yard! So, this was Lilah's first herping adventure! First up for her? Some Redbacks!
Not super impressed.

How about this teeny Dekay's Snake?
Ehh, it's OK.

So we went up a size:
Nah, she was playing with a piece of grass.

Last call: a larger Dekay's with a healed face wound (complete with missing eye, for that pirate look the kids all love).

Snag made a very good point. The animals are just too small for her to really notice yet. Tis true. Makes me want to find a 6 foot Racer for her! Oh well, at 14 months, she has time to discover things with us.

So that was our Saturday! We slept in on Sunday, planning to take a hike in Worcester County on Sunday but it was rainy and raw... not even 60° F all day. We could go out for salamanders again, but we'd never beat Saturday and there would be no snakes. So we went to the Reptile Expo in Manchester NH, getting there sometime after noon.

We saw Steve and Matt and Matt, but couldn't find Ryan. We saw many beautiful animals, like Bearded Dragons.

Andrea came close to pulling the trigger on a Western Hognose with whom she had a "thing"...

The real star of the show, for us, was a gorgeous two year old Eastern Indigo Snake... just an absolutely beautiful animal!
These are such rare and enigmatic snakes that I figure that this is the only way I'll ever get one onto this blog!

The Indigo wasn't for sale, but was there as an attention-getter... and he did his job admirably. His caretaker was Steve Fuller, a man lucky enough to work with these beauties. He was there to bring some attention to his book Jello Boy Sheds His Skin. We also talked of field herping and animals in general. We learned a lot about Indigos from him and enjoyed our conversation.

His book is available on Amazon as an e-book here. He says it is written for "12 year old boys and anyone who still remembers". We will be checking it out ourselves!

I leave you with... this.

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