Thursday, August 14, 2014

Saturday Two-Fer! 8-9-2014

With Mike working at the Boston Comic Con all weekend, I had to find other things to do.  The weather was supposed to be gorgeous, and there was no way I wasn't going to go outside.

I made plans with some friends of ours to go with them and their 3-year-old daughter to Borderland State Park.  We could only stay until about 12:30 or so, so the child could go home and have some lunch and take a nap before her friend came over at 4.

We got there a little before 10:00.  I missed my chance at photographing or catching a large water snake by the edge of the pond, but it's probably better to not subject people to nerodia musk at their first outing.

We went down to one of the vernal pools (which had dried up), because I knew there could be some tiny toads about.  We were in luck!


Lou actually spotted this one; it may be the tiniest yet!  I don't know how he even saw it!


We went up near the pond again, and I spotted this pickerel frog hanging out on the shore.


I took this photo with the 42x zoom, hoping there would be turtles our there.  I was correct!  None of my other leaps of faith produced any shells, though.


As we were leaving, Lisa and her daughter found this beetle on its back in the path.  Lisa flipped it right, so it could safely crawl off and not get stepped on .  I've identified it as a Scarab Beetle (Onthophagus taurus).  Am I right?


Lisa also had this dragonfly land on her hip.  I've identified this as a  Common Green Darner (Anax junius).


We got back to their house, had a little lunch, and talked for a while.  I let them rest up for their company later on, and went over to a local park by myself.  It's probably good they didn't go; it was around 3 p.m. and the mosquitoes were up and were fierce!

The vernal pond there is almost completely dry, which made me sad because I know that salamanders use it as their breeding pool.  I was hoping that we didn't lose a whole generation.  I started flipped, and found this small green frog right away.

The picture looks as though I took the color out of it, but it's untouched.


I later flipped another small green frog and -- low and behold! -- a small spotted salamander.  Could this be one of this year's metamorphs?  The size suggests that it could be.


Here is the above Green frog  in my hand, so you can see the size and get an idea of how small the spotted was:


Then I flipped one of the rarest herp species we have here in Suffolk County - a Blue-spotted salamander!  I don't really ever see much variation in size among them, so I can't tell if this is this year's or not.


While walking down the path, I thought I saw something breaking up the pattern of the leaves.  I took two steps back and saw this Garter in  the bushes.
DSCN9999One question I often get asked is, "How did you see that?".  Mostly, it comes from experience.  I've been doing this for years, so I recognize the color and pattern of a garter's stripes.

The best way to explain it is, even the randomness of nature has a pattern.  The dried leaves, pine needles, grass, etc., form a pattern, and once in a while something will break up said pattern.  It may be a garter or ribbon snake's stripe, or it may be a shape, but something will stand out and is worth a second look.  You may end up taking a second look at a discarded soda cap or cigarette butt, but you'll learn to recognize when something isn't part of the pattern.

I went out to the more populated, adjacent park that is usually loud with baseball games and people out walking their dogs or jogging, and found nobody out there.  I did find this green frog in the brook that goes through it:


Eventually, I did see a few other people, although for a Saturday afternoon it was a bit dead.  It was also quite hot, since it's sunny out there and is paved.  I looked around a bit for more garter snakes or water snakes, but couldn't find any, so I started back in.

I stopped at some of the bridges, even though the water is getting quite low.  Everything is probably way out there at this point.  I did see two small green frogs jump out of the water (which the rest jumped INTO the water):


I also heard a sound that I am beginning to recognize and loathe: the sound of a motor starting.  We hear this at Massasoit State Park, and a few other places.  Fucking ATVs.  They are not legal to ride in most parks in MA, and there is a list of where you can ride them.   I'm keeping the number of the state Environmental Police (800-632-8075) on me for when I see more little shits like this one on an ATV.  I've thought about reporting it after the fact, but don't know if there is anything they can do about it now.

The thing friggin' stunk to high heaven, too.


On a happier note, I was able to flip one of the thin-concrete-with-steel slabs and found a little garter!


I couldn't lift any of the others, so I let him go and made my way out.

I couldn't resist a photo of one last green frog.


On my way home, I picked up some black and white cookies at Sugar Bakery as a surprise for Mike.  They were great to have after Thai food from Sticky Rice!

1 comment:

  1. I wish I was with you!! Those wee Greens are SO CUTE!!!