Friday, December 6, 2013

Tis the Season- December herping.

Last Sunday was December 1st. The temps were supposed to be in the low to mid 40s. We decided that it might be one of the last above-freezing days so we went over to Hoar Sanctuary to try to flip a December Redback or something. We didn't. In fact, the ground was pretty frozen... icy under many of the rocks. It was colder than I expected. Raw, it was. The wetlands looked like this:
Hoar 12-1-2013

Oh well, at least we had a nice hour and a half hike, complete with much flipping.

The end of that week had warmed up a tad. Rainy and high 40s Thursday and Friday. I headed over to Allendale after work on Friday  (Dec. 6th) in hopes of a salamander or two. It wasn't exactly warm when I got there (a bit before 4 PM... dusk) but it wasn't too bad. The morning was in the low 50s. I flipped and flipped but came up empty. Even the dry creek bed that has been heaven for Two-Lined finds failed me!

On the way back, I got down into the dried up stream bed on the other side of the forest and walked in it, hoping to find some puddled spots. I did, but the bottom is too sandy for sals. Eventually, I got up where I wanted to be... one of the few places that always has running water here... and it's good for Two-Lined Salamanders. I managed to flip one, but it scooted away. OK... so there's at least one out tonight! (It was completely dark by now)

I crossed the path and settled into a spot in the stream and flipped by headlamp. I saw a couple of black tails disappear into the leaves. Argh! I was flipping stones and scooping leaves and NOT getting any shots of the salamanders! I actually had one on my hand, but he slid off before I could secure him for a pic!

It was now a battle of wits between me and the Salamanders... a battle that I frequently lose.

Patiently, I stayed kneeling in the icy water, moving leaves and flipping small stones. My patience and insanity finally paid off when I got a Two-Lined in hand and got him to settle down enough for a pic!

December herp #1!!

So I figured that, since I was already soaked, I would seek out another. I was able to get a shot of just one more...

Yay!! Satisfied, I sloshed my way back to the car, taking one last look back at my place of supreme triumph.

Hey, I was there for over an hour and a half and was only able to document two animals but you know what? It's friggin' December and I live in Massachusetts. I'm overjoyed!


  1. Me da ternura el "bichito" indefenso que tenés en tu mano!!!...Y el paisaje de la primera foto es hermoso,digno de un cuadro! Un beso x2 Martha

    1. El paisaje de invierno aquí es hermoso, pero tan fría! Yo prefiero los meses más calientes! XX

  2. Mike - I love your posts. Thank you for helping me through these "dry" months out here in Colorado. Your posts remind me of all the years I spent in Indiana chasing whatever creepy crawlie I could find!

    1. Thank you, my good sir! The winter here in the Northeast usually destroys my herping needs but we manage to get out and look for some icy salamanders every now and then. It is so tough waiting for the snakes to reemerge!