Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chelonian Madness at Massasoit! 7-8-2014

Sitting here on a Sunday morning with days and days worth of herp adventures to remember and write-up (we were both off all week), I'm wondering if I can remember way back to Tuesday! Well, I can and here goes!

We started out early, to hit 50s Diner for some breakfast. We gorged ourselves on "fully-loaded" pancakes and got to Massasoit at around 8:30. It was going to be a super-toasty day, mid 80s by noon, so we wanted to see as much as possible before the heat really set in.

Our first herp encounter was this young Bullfrog, doing a wonderful Ride-'em-Cowboy pose!
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After Sunday's Borderland Toad-stravaganza, we wondered just how Toady it was going to get here. This Fowler's hopping across the path got us off to a good start.
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The horribly "cleaned-up" area where we have enjoyed 5 species of snakes in the past had retained the boards that we removed from the "haul it away" pile and at least one of them had been utilized by a Racer or Milk, as this smooth scaled skin would indicate.
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I understand the clean-up, but zeroing in on this ONE place is heartbreaking. Animals have been living here, dammit!

Walking up a path towards the water, we saw a feisty Garter Snake... a new sight for this particular path!
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The Garters here are particularly beautiful, scars and all.
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Also on this path was an American Toad... much harder to find here than Fowler's.
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The photographer and her model.
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When we got to the sandy soil, we started seeing many Fowler's in SOOOON!! mode. Here are a few.
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When we reached the pond, Andrea promptly flipped a teeny Pickerel Frog!
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Obviously, we were going to have to put a moratorium on toad photos, but not before this shot.
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Andrea, as she is wont to do, spied an interesting Painted Turtle young 'un.
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Check out this interesting shell on it!
Picta shell
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Meanwhile, I had been stalking a stack of turtles... a couple of Painteds and a Musk enjoying a bask.
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Then, Andrea found another wee Painted!
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He was a bit more feisty!
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"Who, me?"

A Bullfrog and a Fishing Spider made for strange stick-mates!
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Andrea was wading deep into the water (the temps had risen rapidly) and got this shot of a Darning Needle orgy!
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She also got this new Green Frog.
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Here's another Musk, basking with a well-balanced Painted!
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I stealthily moved around through the reeds to the other side of this stump and just as I had the turtles in my view-finder, a Red Winged Blackbird zoomed in to the spot and scared them both into the drink! Damn!

Another spot found some Painted Turtles basking among some large lily-pads. These were both decent sized adults.
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That's probably a Redbelly in the background of this shot (judging from the size) but it's not an ID worthy photo.
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The other side of the pond was full of Painteds, too. (The binoculars had earlier revealed some large Redbellies over here, but they had moved on)
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Let me interrupt this Chelonian Love-fest with Big Year #72, the Eastern Towhee, who was yelling "threet" at us repeatedly.
#72 Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus)

OK, back to the shells.
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While I was in turtle mode, Andrea was accosting this Fowler's.
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This dragonfly chose to land on my face. It stayed there as I fidgeted with the camera to take this shot.
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Yes, it had become quite hot.
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Tiny Toads were indeed out, but this is the only photo we took, Andrea's brilliant in situ.
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Heading back out, I was about 15 feet in front of Andrea and turned around to see her holding this guy!
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Another fine looking Massasoit Garter!
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So, that wasn't a bad day at all! Plus, we got home at a reasonable hour. 6 1/2 hour hikes are great, especially when they start early!! (And I was still full from the pancakes). So, even though I'm on an unpaid vacation, this day was totally worth it! What would tomorrow's herp adventure bring?

2 comments:

  1. The dragonfly picture is the best thing ever...(other than all the toads)

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    Replies
    1. Hah! Thanks! I took it upside-down, too!

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