Sunday, February 23, 2014

February herping in New England. 2-22-2014

In the weeks since our return from Florida, there has been a large snowstorm every three or four days. Seriously. You just can't make this shit up. That and temperatures well below freezing. We have done what we can to deal with such torture, including getting Andrea a Western Hognose to take care of...
but field herping is pretty much out of the question in these climes.

Well, a thaw out for the weekend had us chirping! It was going to be in the high 40s! Would we be stupid enough to head into nature? Well, since we had Saturday plans to meet some friends in Northampton, a swing by Mount Tom to look for Dookies and Two-lines seemed like a decent idea!

We headed out knowing full well that, even though we got huge amounts of snow in Boston recently, the Western part of the state got even more. And they did. We could barely find the rippling stream that we sought, in fact we drove right past it at first. We found a place to pull over and explore a stream further up. But getting to it required some fancy foot work. The snow was up to (and over) my knees.

But we found some trickling streams and seeps.

Before too long, we found some Two-Lined Salamander larvae.

The edges of the stream would trick you and fall into the water... thin ice covered with snow. Soakers and wet legs soon followed.

I was able to capture two adult Two-Lines at the same spot.
That one certainly looks to be in a family way!

I flipped a few more adults, but was unable to secure them for photos, including one whose tail I might have injured. I felt horrible, so I was very careful from there out.

Andrea managed a good water shot when she returned the two adults to the stream.

We got back into the car and headed back to the spot we had sought in the first place. We found it but there was no place to park, so we put on the hazard lights and I went in alone. I threw all caution and sanity to the wind and waded right into the ice water to make flipping easier. Unfortunately, the current was too quick and the two or three adult Two-Lines I flipped drifted away, vent over teakettle!
Why do all new jeans come only in low-rider, making a plumber's crack inevitable?? Fuck that!

Well, I got pretty damn frozen pretty quickly, so we dried off, changed and went to meet our friends. I kept my camera at the ready in hopes of adding to my Big Year, but didn't see any birds at all.

Finally, at a rest stop on the Mass. Pike on the way home, I got Big Year #22... a male and a female House Sparrow!
House Sparrows ♂ and ♀

So, while this might not seem like a very big deal in the grand scheme of things, these photos of Two-lined Salamanders represent our first ever February Herps in New England. And that makes all the frozen toes in the world worth it!


  1. Hello,

    I am a student at Northeastern University, as well as a Herpetologist/Entomologist. I recently gave a presentation at Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center and was referred to your blog from an attendee. I have been doing a multitude of Entomological/Herpetological research projects (mostly monitoring projects), and am always interested in learning new stuff. You're blog is really excellent and I was wondering if you would be interested in comparing data?

    Feel free to email me:

    Looking forward to talking with you (and great photos, again, really cool blog)

    1. Thank you, Tea! I will refer you to Andrea as she is the brains of this outfit! I'm just the stupid one that jumps into ice water!

  2. you and I had the right idea hahaha...this snow has been terrible. I didn't get a chance to go out yet, but I did write a "throwback" blog to help satiate my herp hunger! ...That sounds nasty.