Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Who Put the Ponk? 6-22-2014

We had to stay close to home on this Sunday, even turning down an invitation to explore in Western MA with a friend! But I needed to not go nuts and get myself fully well again. So we decided on a walk around Ponkapoag, our favorite go-to spot in the Blue Hills. I made the stupid decision that we could get ice cream only if we saw 10 different herp species. I mean, summer at Ponk... how hard could it be?

We got there a little later than planned... again. The lot was full and we sweat a little, but made some room. The place was going to be filthy with humanity, this we knew. But herps usually don't care. But we do.

Our first sighting was a nice Painted Turtle. He was almost hidden behind some water bushes but we spotted him.

Andrea spotted this little guy in the water.

Unbelievably, we didn't encounter any Water Snakes along this area, which we always do. Maybe this ice cream was going to be tough. But Andrea did the impossible and saw this little wisp of a Ribbon Snake. How she saw this Skinny Minny, I'll never know.
I thought it was just a piece of saw grass!

No frogs along the pond's edge either. It was looking like an ice creamless day for us.

We took a walk out into the bog for the first time in a few years.

It's very beautiful in there but it's usually flooded or crowded or we just don't care. But we wanted to look around this time. We wanted to look for the carnivorous plants, if nothing else. We managed a Pitcher Plant easily enough.

We had never seen the Drosera (sundews) before and when we saw then, we knew why. They are tiny!! We were looking for much bigger plants! But we got some cool shots of these awesome guys.

Back on the trail, Andrea flipped my first Redback in weeks!
*whew* Without the familiar species, we didn't stand a chance with ice cream!

We took a path off of our usual route to check out a vernal that we'd seen in the winter, to see if it had any life. We barely found it and it was mostly dry when we did. But nearby, we saw a nice Wood Frog!

Another Redback! With the upcoming summer, these guys will be retreating underground so I'll take all I can get right now, thank you!

We got to a stream that is usually good for Two-Lined Salamanders. We really needed this species as we were only at 4 so far! I managed to flip one but he twice got away from me. I heard Andrea swearing nearby. A Garter had just slithered under a large, immovable rock. We both just had small herps hand us our asses.

Finally, I flipped a humongous rock and gathered up a Two-Lined. I huffed and puffed and gasped for air triumphantly.

While Andrea was up on a hill flipping for Ringnecks, her pesky little Garter from before was back on the prowl. I got him for pictures but I'll be damned if he would calm down for the camera!
After releasing him, he posed nicely next to a tree.

We got to a swimming area and sure enough, there were humans. They didn't see what Andrea did, though!
A big girl napping in the shade.

The folks here know we're the "snake people" so they left us alone and I flipped a bit in private. (I will NEVER flip here with children present again). I flipped a stone that was on a slanted section of earth and this Garter slid right out.
Again, forget about nature shots. This guy was excited!

This Ringneck, not as much! Mellow yellow.

Nearby, we saw another napping Garter...

And five feet from that one, another!

So, five Garters makes me a happy herper! We carried on, stuck at 7 species... deserving ice cream but falling victim to a stupid rule I had made up before this 6 hour hike. The only other herp we saw was this adult Two-Lined.

But you know what? I accidentally got in the wrong lane going home and was forced in the direction of the ice-cream place! Damn! I started to think... all told, we'd had 11 species this weekend. So we got ice cream! We had earned it!

We had to stop for groceries on the way home and in the store's parking lot, we got Big Year #70... the distinguished and dignified Herring Gull. Two individuals were going after some garbage like champs.
#70 Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)
#70 Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

So not a bad day but it was shocking that we got no Bullfrogs or Greens and no Nerodia! You just can't predict those animals, I tell ya!

No comments:

Post a Comment