Thursday, July 10, 2014

Caffy and the Multitoads 7-6-2014

After a grueling day in Western MA, we wanted to keep it fairly local for Sunday. Also, it was going to be hot-hot-hot. So, noodling for Water Snakes sounded like a darn good idea! And what better place than at Borderland? We headed out and arrived at about 8:30 AM.

It was already pretty filthy with humanity... a problem at this place, but it usually doesn't affect the herping. We heard Green Frogs but never did see one. In fact, we saw nothing in the first few minutes. I did feel a tickle on my wrist and saw that it was a Daddy Long Legs walking on my arm.

Before long, Andrea saw a pile of Garter laying off the path, probably warming itself up for a day of foraging.

She proved to have her Garter eyes on... not much further up that path, another coil-pie of warming Garter!

The notable thing about the day was the multitude of tiny toads... very recent metamorphs!
There were thousands, all over the place... not just near vernals. An amazing sight.

On the way to the park, we had been listening to Leslie Gore in the car. I love Leslie, though I think much of her material is beneath her talent. Of course, one of those songs would be "Sunshine Lollypops and Rainbows". But it is catchy and a perfect song for replacing lyrics. Which I was doing all morning. One attempt was probably something like "Caffeine, murder legs and tattooed underwear." But Andrea heard "Cathy" instead of caffeine. She said it would be a good name for the next female snake we find. But I thought she said "Caffy". Our deafness is why this next snake is... CAFFY!
She was big.

We picked her up to measure her. 32 inches!! All fire and brimstone... for about 3 seconds. Then she mellowed out so much, I put her on my head.
Caffy is a very relaxed animal. And possibly knocked-up.

Up at a favorite Water Snake area, there was but one... coiled among the pricker bushes, catching some rays.

Noodling produced no more Nerodia, so we pushed on. Tiny Toads were the name of the game.
In fact, at one part of the trail, it was like the parting of the Toad Sea. A multitude of tiny toads. A Multitoad.

Pud's Pond has a wonderful name but hasn't ever really produced any herps for us. There were tons of Sunfish, though, and they seemed very pleased when a crumbled up Popcorner accidentally fell into the water! Oops!

Then Andrea spied a massive Snapper swimming along the surface!

Painted Turtles are usually very easy to find here but not this day! It was in the high 80s and sunny... it seems like this is the only Painted smart enough to take advantage!

Likewise, this is the only Redback we found.
Considering the time of year, we're lucky. These guys are going to be tough for a while... heat-haters!

We got back over to the Water Snake spot. There was a small dog in the water while I poked around. He was barking. Her owner said it was behaving weird. I suggested that maybe it had seen a snake in the water. She got all interested when I said they were around the area. She wanted to see one. She practically held me at gunpoint and demanded a snake. So I went up and scoured the banks of the pond. A newly emerged Nerodia was poking around. It makes my theory of a snake and a dog spooking one another hold water. It slithered into the drink. To appease the dog-lady, I went in as well. I followed the snake through the water. When I saw it under the bank, it gave me this look.

Well, I got it and showed it to her and she said thanks and stuff. But the tall bald guy standing in the water with a snake in his hands attracted a few other folks... non-snake people. Our beautiful Massachusetts Nerodia are great snakes to show non-believers.
A quick talk fascinated a few people. That's my job... educate. We let him go so people could admire his beauty of movement. He charmed the assembled throng (about 3 people) when he poked his noggin out nearby.

He then slithered along the waterfall...
and yes... plopped down. He then beautifully crawled along the bottom into a shady hole.

Heading back, we flipped a massive boulder near a stream and got a tiny Two-lined!

We took a new (to us) trail back (hopefully) towards the car. (It was.) It was through an eerie, cool swamp forest.

At the end, we reached a well-traveled main path. Oddly enough, this brown and cinnamon Garter Snake was there!
We're wondering if his slightly orange pallor was due to the tannin in the nearby stream.

At any rate, a teenager walked by who said he loved snakes and we gave this Garter to him, which he gently handled and we all watched it's serpentine movements as he released it. Good times.

So, not a horrible day for two tired herpers! 5 or so hours of snakes, turtles and the tiniest of toads!


  1. Veo que ya estas mejo¡ Me alegra mucho! Un beso x2 Martha

    1. Me he sentido mejor ├║ltimamente! Gracias!