Saturday, December 21, 2013

It's *sob* a Christmas Miracle! 12-21-2013

Everybody knows I dislike the snow and cold immensely. If I could herp year-round, I surely would, but we haven't been smart enough to move to Florida yet, so we have to deal with missing out on herping for a quarter of the year. Of course, if it's not too  bad, we can look for salamanders in the winter months.

But in the past week, we had two snow storms. This is what it looked like outside my car window while driving home from work on Tuesday:

But did I let it bother me? Well, the fact that it took me an hour and a half to drive the 11 miles home was bothersome, but the forecast was calling for warmer temps by the end of the week so I knew this horrid crap wouldn't be around for long.

And we got to enjoy a beautiful blanket of snow.

So, after the Tuesday into Wednesday storm, by Thursday it had warmed to the 40s... scraping the 50s by Friday. We decided to head over to our Norfolk County pond to see if we could find any herps. Our target species list is pretty small in December. We were hoping for a Two-Lined Salamander. That's all.

It was warm... it got over 50° when we were there. Snow and ice was melting like mad. But it was slippery as hell. Footprints and tire tracks that had gathered through the week were now solid ice. The melting that was taking place made this shit very slick.

This is what we were looking for... streams cutting through the snow.

Boy, it sure seemed like there was a helluva lot more snow here than in town!

We got to a good spot and I dug in... soakers be damned!

Upon flipping some underwater rocks, I saw some Two-Lined larvae and managed to scoop a few up in our observation tank... one was teeny!

I had seen an adult too, but he slipped away without a picture, as did a snoozing Pickerel Frog that I had disturbed.

Across the path, it looked like this:

After some sloshing around and missing a golden adult Two-Lined, I finally nabbed one who was wacky, but we got some pictures!

OK, now we were soaked and muddy. But we had found what we came for, so we were stoked! Too bad about not getting a shot of the Pickerel. We'd decided to move on and maybe hit that spot on the way back.

We searched in more watery spots:

We finally reached our destination, an area that is often good for Two-Lines. Flipping rocks out of the water hadn't turned up any Redbacks, but then the ground had frozen earlier in the week, so we weren't surprised.

This spot was not turning up any Two-Lines either! Oh well. We were about to give up when I flipped a Pickerel, who hopped up to pose for one of my best shots of the year!

Right after this shot, he hopped back to his spot and I'll bet he's still there... and will be there for quite a while. Good night, Mr. Pickerel!

Upon standing back up, I knocked my camera into the water. Oops. So far, it seems to still work. I took these pictures since the accident.

So besides finding some herps 4 days before Christmas, the camera didn't die (yet) after a plunge into the icy water and we both managed to not fall the whole time! It is indeed a Christmas miracle!

Or, we just managed to have some luck on our own... with no divine intervention.

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