Friday, July 25, 2014

Wishing instead of thinking... 7-20-2014

Our friend Mark has been having recent luck at finding Box Turtles and Hognose Snakes at a place in Western MA again... a place that always leaves us frustrated. So, stupidly, we decided to try our luck again. We got up at 4:30 AM, got ready and got there a bit before 8. It was cool and cloudy and misty. Surely this would be our day!!

Things started out great when one of the dangerous, bottomless mud puddles on the drive in yielded a Bullfrog!

And that, my dear, was as much as we saw in the next three hours. This place just hates us. It's one thing to not see your target species but we didn't get anything! We started to concentrate on berries after a while.

We saw two more Bullfrogs in mud puddles, bless 'em.

We weren't the only ones enjoying berries here. I sure wish I had seen the proverbial bear that shit in the woods.

So, we spent a bit longer getting ourselves berries for the week...
and hit the road.

We decided to go look for Cushman's Creek again, since we were unable to find it a few weeks ago. We parked at Puffer's Pond again and had the pleasure of perusing that while we went to the other end to search for the stream. We saw a couple peering over the edge of the trail... they were admiring a beautiful young water Snake.

A big ol' Bullfrog!

Ah, Painted Turtles... a sight for sore eyes!

A summer Redback? Yessiree!

A fatty-fat-fat Green Frog reminded me the name of the pond we were at...
Mind that 'skeeter on yer lip, fella!

We finally got beyond where we were the last time and explored new spots, including a vernal... complete with resident Green Frog!

We got to a stream... which was Mill River, but it was fine with us. It looked Wood Turtley.

Along the side, Andrea spotted this wee shoestring Garter!

She then found a Two-lined Larvae.

I found two adults...

But we saw no Duskys, Springs or turtles. A fellow hiker and his kid told us about a big brown snake in the water that they'd seen. We said it must have been a Northern Water Snake. He said he was pretty sure it was a Water Moccasin. We did the ol' "they aren't up here" routine and he seemed to accept that. One of the more open-minded idiots.

We carried on and found what was probably an old mill... on Mill River.

Right around here, we turned around to head back. But we'll keep this portion in mind for future visits... it's pretty spectacular... and so crisp and clean!

Well I'll be damned... maybe the guy did see a Moccasin!

Heading back, we saw this smiley Painted Turtle!

And another lovely, napping Nerodia!

And a MASSIVE Bullfrog!

And that was that! We headed out and towards a place to get some food! We were hungry!! Of course, when we passed a place that was beyond fun a few weeks ago, we had to pull over to see some Garters! It was the cardboard garden that we enjoyed back here! And sure enough, in two minutes, it produced!
Cheating? Yes, but we love seeing snakes! So there!

We finally reached a Subway to get some sandwiches. A bird landed on the eave of a nearby building and, since I had the camera in hand, I snapped a picture. It turned out to be Big Year #77, a Northern Mockingbird!
#77 Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

So this trip, as so many trips to this part of the state do, went from bad to good, just with a little change of location. There is much more to learn out here so I'm sure we'll keep coming back... even though we say we wont. Hey, herping is a very special disease!

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