Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Back in the Saddle again... 6-21-2014

After a long illness and actually missing a herp trip with Andrea last weekend, it was time to start getting myself in shape for herping. We decided to take a Friday night jaunt through some of Cutler since it was almost the solstice and it would be light longer. Well, we walked for two hours and didn't see any animals, but it was a darn good idea. With Myles Standish, my nemesis planned for Saturday, I needed it.

We stopped off to visit our friend Snag after a quick meal. There were a few folks there including our friend Craig, who is another snake fan. We decided that we'd all have to herp together some day. Upon leaving at almost midnight, Andrea and I checked Snag's garden stones... usually a haven for Dekay's Snakes. Sure enough, we spotted one right away.
We went in to show Craig, who came out and helped us find the next bruiser!
So, with Herpin' After Midnight (and rockin' to the dawn), the weekend was off to a good start!

We got a later start than planned Saturday morning, but still managed to get to Standish around 11 AM. We headed to our lucky spot first, intent on beginning our next three years of fruitless Hognose searching in the right spot. On the way there, we saw a Painted Turtle practicing yoga in a small pond, all by himself.

At the bogs, I decided to keep an eye out for birds, too. I hadn't added any in quite a while. I snapped this shot of what I thought was a Flycatcher. Then I thought it was a Phoebe. Then my friend Bob confirmed that it's my Big Year #69, a Great crested Flycatcher!
#69 Great crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus)

The bogs stood before us, rife with Green Frog calls. But we couldn't see any!

Our first frog encounter was this interesting Bullfrog. Half melanistic?

This Green looks almost airbrushed!

Poking around some dunes got us our first Fowler's Toad of the day.

Some more bright and colorful frogs... Bull, super-fat Green, Bull.

We wound up Hogless here, but look at the habitat! Yow!!

Sadly, on the way out of this spot, we saw a DOR Milk Snake. Our first proof of them here, but its not how we wanted to see them.

We drove to another spot and walked along the water's edge. The water level was low and turtles just weren't out. We started seeing lots of Fowler's though.

This guy was particularly beautiful and grumpy looking.

Further up the trail, I saw a Garter whoosh by. This was our first ever Garter encounter at Standish so getting pics was mandatory! He calmed down nicely and posed like a pro!

Much rock flipping ensued but only one animal... this Fowler's was underneath one of them.

It should be noted that there were tons of small Fowler's hopping about. There must have been a few full snake bellies that day.

We picked up and went over to another spot. We were talking to a DCR guy who would be doing a turtle walk the next day. He said he'd never seen a Water Snake in the park... we hadn't either. Perhaps they're just not here.

It wasn't long before Andrea spotted something that proved that notion wrong.
Yep- that's a big ol' Nerodia, all right!
Our first one here and it is massive!
So beautiful! And if you count DORs (I don't), this is the 8th snake species accounted for here.

We moved on, hoping for some turtles, but were denied. We did see this mammal, though I'm not sure what it is. Gray Squirrel?

We hit one more spot on our way out, the infamous "that can't be a Hognose... oh fuck it was" spot. This bright Green Frog bid us adieu.

And across the street, one more turtle... a Painted, basking alone, the whole pond to himself.

It felt damn good to get some air and some exercise and see some animals! You know, we had hoped for a Hog, a Redbelly or a Green Snake, but we're happy as punch with the animals we did see. While Myles Standish can sometimes be unforgiving, we have forgiven Myles Standish... for now. Talk to me again in 3 years when we haven't yet seen another Hognose!

No comments:

Post a Comment