Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fast Saturday: No Fuss, No Musk 5-31-2014

Since my old bones have been getting worn out  the past few weekends, we were hoping to keep it local today. That is to say, herp for a few hours and still have enough time left after to get groceries and, with a little luck, nap. Well, I just woke up and thought I'd better get this logged while it's still May!

So, we went to Cutler. Best of all, some of our friends went with us! So there were 5 of us when we hit the trails at 10 AM! The weather exceeded our expectations. Cloudy was, in fact, sunny! One of our group, Teá, made a very good point. Even on days when you don't see much, hiking with friends  is fun, rewarding and you almost always learn something. How true!

We all have our strong suits and birds ain't mine, so I was happy to hear "do you have a Yellowthroat?" I didn't, so I was thrilled to have one pointed out to me! So, I present you with Big Year #68, the Common Yellowthroat!
#68 Common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)

Our first herp was a welcome one... a Leopard Frog!
Not the easiest frog to see here! It also turned out to be the only one of the day.

This wee Redback was flipped not long after...

We got to a sandy spot where we had hoped to see some nesting turtles, but all was bare. Well, not completely bare... this small American Toad kept us interested!

Soon, as we walked along the path, I heard the familiar call of the Massachusetts Herper from behind me...


It seemed I had walked right past one! It had slid down the hill so I headed down to cut it off... and got in front of it.
Whoa! Had this one just eaten? Or is it pissed? Maybe both, but there's no question about the pissed part!
A bright and beautiful specimen!

When we got to Racer Alley, the group split... Teá and I went up next to the train tracks while the others stuck to the low path. Our ascension paid off when we saw this gorgeous Garter sunning itself!
Mellower than mellow, we got right up in his grille for photos. He barely even noticed us!

We had a touch of tough luck soon after, though. Walking along, we both noticed a Racer slipping over the ledge. Oh shit!! We followed it over the edge to search the rocky side but realized that our efforts were in vain. Looking for it was akin to looking for the water that you just poured down the drain. It just disappeared. Like all Racers do... Oh well, at least we saw it.

We all met back up and took a breather at the river. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some movement far away in the middle of the Charles River. What was it? Muskrat? Cormorant? My handy-dandy binoculars gave us the answer... a Water Snake!
He zoomed in towards an outcropping of land, hopefully finding a snack worth traveling for!

Shortly after that, part of our crew had to move on so Andrea, Teá and I went forth in search of Ringnecks and Milks... neither of which we found. But we had a good time hiking and looking for them.

Our next herp find was another American Toad!

And our last of the day, despite much more searching, was a plethora of Plethodons... various colored Redbacks!

So we ended up back at the parking lot a bit before 3 PM, our snake itch satisfied! Plus, there was still some time for important stuff... like a short nap! Driving home, I had an inchworm boogieing across my leg so I pulled into a parking lot to release him. This Wild Turkey was walking around like she owned the place!

And that seems like as good a place as any to end this tale.

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