Sunday, May 4, 2014

Friday Fun! 5-2-2014

The weather during the week was shitty, not to put too fine a' point on it. Cold. April ended with a chill. So while I am still on a four-day work week and the weather for Friday, my day off, was going to be decent, I wanted to herp. But I didn't want to go too far without Andrea. So I decided to scout a place near my friend Dave's house. I was going to visit him anyway, so I hit High Rock Woods on the way back.

The place is gorgeous, if a bit dry. A big pond greets you when you walk in, but other than that and a stream deep into the walk, it's fairly arid. But still, the place holds great potential. I managed a couple of Redbacks.

I also startled a couple of frogs into the stream. So in an hour and a half, I didn't score many herps, but the place looks like it should be great. I mean, there's an unused train track. I walked along, avoiding the Ghost Train, and it looks wonderful! There's gotta be snakes there!

I still had some energy so I went to look at a place where someone said they'd seen a Bald Eagle earlier in the year. There was wetlands, all right... the river... but there wasn't anyplace to park and I'm not big on just pulling over next to a place of business, so I canned it and drove to Millenium. I was hoping to see a Nerodia basking or something.

Since we usually hit this place coming from Brook Farm, this other entrance was more or less new. (We'd done it once last year). I saw some Painted Turtles basking; all but one slid into the drink while I fumbled with the camera.

Along the walk, I flipped five Garter Snakes and photographed four of them, the second of which... the bookmark... is almost certainly the same guy as last week's grumpy guy!
That third guy would not calm down and I was covered with ants that I had disturbed, so I had to go for the hand-held shot.

On the way out, I got our Big Year #54, the Savannah Sparrow.
#54 Savannah Sparrow ( Passerculus sandwichensis)

So, Andrea and I made plans to herp a bit after her work, if the temps would cooperate. They did and we headed over to Cutler to see if any last minute snakes were out, or better yet... some brave Milks that would be cruising around at dusk. It was still over 60°.

The snake that we encountered was the last species that we expected to see.
Our first ever documented Northern Water Snake for this place! I had seen one in the water last year, but couldn't get a shot. This guy was 20 feet from the water, asleep in the brush. I picked him up and he was cold.
Andrea released him and he crawled into the rocks, proving to us that, along with Racers, Milks and Garters, these rocks provide homes for Nerodia!

We didn't find any other snakes along that path and the light was going, so we headed back after a while.

We flipped this dandy Redback guy.

Peepers were getting deafening as the sun faded. I took many trips off-path to the edges of the wetlands, but couldn't see any frogs. Andrea made a very good point. We had yet to cross a boardwalk to get back to the car... it could be filthy with peepers! And it was!

There's a lot of Peepers all up in there!

Of course, finding one to photograph is another story entirely! We had our headlamps on and we crawled along the boardwalk slowly, on our hands and knees at times. Finally, one little guy called nearby and we eventually found him. I sought revenge for the Peeper that deflated his throat sack just as I snapped a picture earlier in the year.

This little guy didn't let me down!

Andrea expressed her approval.

The only one we could get a lens on after that was hidden by some reeds. Oh well, it's good enough for ID purposes.

But that was a fun capper to a long day! Our first Water Snake at Cutler, bringing the snake species count there to seven, the best in our area. (That's half of the snake species in this state.) We went home and ordered a kick-ass pizza. The end.


  1. My first peeper visual! All that sound the pouch--wow!

    1. I know!! Those tiny guys are deafening!!!!!

  2. Ooooh- that Northern Water Snake is absolutely gorgeous!

    1. I've gotta say, the Northern Water Snakes up here are gorgeous! They keep a lot of red as they grow and they can get pretty sizable!