Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vacation in Dookieland! 12-28-2013

We are both on vacation now! Too bad it is winter and we can't herp every day! But the temps were supposed to get into the mid-40s on Saturday, so that was good enough for us to plan some salamander seeking. With WEBS: America's Yarn Store (in Northampton) having a year-end sale, we thought we'd kill two or three birds with one stone and visit the nearby Mt. Tom for some herping. Driving over 100 miles there was fine, as long as we actually found something!

By the way, who the hell made up the phrase "kill two birds with one stone"? Barbaric!

So, we left early in hopes of getting to our target babbling brook in Hampden County by 11:30 or so. We made it more or less on time. Sadly, it still looked like a Winter Wonderland!

But it was flowing, so we settled down for some ice water digging. Pretty quickly, I found a Two-Lined Salamander larvae!

There was a lot more of this, too...

The stream split and we followed it up, choosing the slower channel with more flippables.

After a bit, I got to a nice spot and flipped a salamander that I wasn't sure of right away...

Colorful, for a Dusky, but that's what it was! We checked out the belly to make sure... no yellow!

I can't wait to get back here in the Spring... look at this!

I got to another good spot and flipped... there was some serpentine movement swimming away that looked pinkish... could this be an elusive Spring?? I couldn't locate the swimmer, but startled a hibernating Pickerel Frog...

I actually released him and accidentally flipped him again! Sorry!

Kneeling into the ice water, I reached a rock on the far side and saw a salamander shape under it... could this be our Spring? I snatched it for the observation tank...

Nope, a large, beautiful Two-Lined! Could be some eggs in there, too...

At one point, I had a good sized Dookie elude me and I spent way too long looking for it as my toes went full-on numb.

A couple of hours of ice, soakers and snow was taking its toll on our extremities. Andrea was shivering. The front halves of my feet were numb. But we couldn't stop just yet. I needed one more Dookie!

And we got him!

How fitting that our (probable) last herp of 2013, a very very rewarding year for us, was one of our many lifers of the year!

We made our way to the car and the heater within. As feeling came back to my toes, I shrieked in pain, but they eventually thawed. They still are tender the next morning but I didn't get frostbite, so that's good!

With warmed up feet, we decided to check out the vernal area where we had seen plenty of salamanders in the Fall. Sun had melted much of the snow around there, but the pond was frozen solid and nobody was under logs or stones. Andrea got a nice shot of a deserted wasp nest, though.

We left, wet and cold, and headed to Webs to warm up and fondle yarn. Being proactive, I bought three skeins of hat yarn, planning on looking good for Springtime herping. Oh, and having found the first Dookie, I called Fitzwilly's for lunch and Andrea paid!!

So, it looks like that will be the last herp adventure of 2013. Only 3 days left and temps are going to be below freezing. It has been an amazing year. I'm glad we got this last, icy trip in!


  1. ¡Matar dos pájaros de un tiro, aunque sea solamente un dicho,es triste!!!...pero quiere decir hacer dos cosas a la vez...y creo que nadie piensa en matarlos de verdad. Veo que ustedes están bien fresquitos con la nieve, nosotros tenemos un calor sofocante,y cortes de luz a repetición, No te descuides con el resfrío que tuviste, ,para no tener una recaída,Que tengan buenas vacaciones. un beso x2 Martha

  2. Lamento escuchar que es tan caliente! Manténgase fresco y mantenerlo feliz!

    Abrazos X 2

  3. You guys are nuts and I love you!

    1. That makes us happy!! It has been a great year for all of us out there in nature!! May 2014 be even batter!