Sunday, November 17, 2013

A new look at an old haunt 11-16-2013

Temps in the mid-50s. Yep, gonna herp.

We have always been curious about the "other" end of our favorite place, Ponkapoag Pond. We have such a successful route that in the past 7 years or so, it hasn't been necessary to  mix it up. But having had an epiphany earlier this year (finding an animal of great interest to us), we decided to enter the back end of the place, to see where those trails would lead us. Shame on anyone who sees a double entendre there.

First off, there is some interesting standing water there, fed by water through a tunnel... perhaps from Houghton's Pond?
It looks very promising for the warmer climes!

We flipped a bunch and got separated by the hunt for wood frogs. While apart, we both found Redbacks. Here's Andrea's, ol' Stubby...

I was taking a rest already (still not feeling well) and flipped a small stone in front of where I was sitting. This Redback was there!
Herping while prone!

Back together, we found a few more Redbacks.
ponk pleths

We searched diligently for Ambystoma. Perhaps we're too late this year. None turned up. We got to a small creek area where Two-Lined Salamanders can be found. It was dry. For us, that was perfect. 2-Lines can be tough to photograph sometimes but with less water, we liked our chances. And boy oh boy, did we strike gold! Striped gold!

A break in the Two-Lined action... a small, bright Green Frog was under one of the rocks!

Back to the Two-Line mania... Andrea flipped a large log that was full of 'em!

I flipped a rock that had some puddled water under it. This lovely spotty guy was under it and there was a flurry of activity in the pooled water. Tons of larvae was splashing around in there! Some are visible in the lower left part of the photo...

Andrea broke the string again with a robust Redback!

We then finished off with more Two-Lines.
ponk 2-lines

I was cooked, but Andrea carried on with the search for mole salamanders.

A couple of hikers came by and said they had seen some Spotted Salamanders last week. Evidently, we had all talked before and they knew exactly what we were doing. More interesting was their mention of a snake over on the dam that some kids had pointed out to them. "A big one". It seems that perhaps a Water Snake had emerged to enjoy the warm sun of the day over on the dam... the first time we didn't go that way!!!!

Oh well, we searched the cabin area for Charlie or any snake, but none were out on this side.

But we left happy, if weary. Only 3 1/2 hours, but we found some herps and had some fun. We went from there to meet my kid for dinner and drove by the light of a full moon.

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