Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby time! 9-21-2014

My kid isn't the only one popping out babies at this time of year! Well, maybe she is but birthdays are happening out in the wild too... eggs are hatching! We headed over to Borderland to see what we could find and had hopes, as we always do in September, of seeing some baby turtles!

It was going to be very warm, which is nice. We managed to get there a bit late... pushin' 11 AM, but it seems that we were right on time. It should be noted that our first 3 species of herps were so badly photographed that I didn't keep them. A Pickerel, a Redback and an American Toad. Luckily, we encountered each species again. The first herp that we saw that we got an actual decent photo of was a baby Ringneck!
Andrea found him under a log and I completely missed a large toad scrambling over to see it!
OK now, that's just cute!

As promised... slightly better shots of Redbacks!
(Yeah, the others weren't even that good!)

Pickerel redemption!

Andrea flipped and saw this... how she saw it, I'll never know.
A hidden Wood Frog!

The "waterfall" was dry, as well as the stream and edge of the pond near it. This is usually Water Snake heaven but not today. Nothing. Except, near a rock, I saw a garter Snake dart into some brush. I pushed the brush aside and got a Ringneck by the tail as he was going under the rock. I was in a tug o' war and I was going to lose. I didn't want to hurt the little fella; I had to let go. As I did, it popped out the other side of the rock... again as a Garter Snake!
I don't know just how he did that double species presto-change-o, but he sure was pretty as a Garter!

I looked around the dried up pond-edge and found an American Toad that I put in Andrea's lap while I looked for distant Painted Turtles. I found a 7-pack...

Andrea got to know her toad.

I saw another 2-pack, of Painted Shakurs.

We went up to a good spot to look for successful nests and were greeted at the mouth of the trail by a surprise guest... a hatchling Snapper!

And another!

After a brief photo session, Andrea helped them across the rock-strewn path, keeping them safe from bikes, dogs and human feet. In doing so, she saw another!!

We put them on the "beach" of the pond (kind of a lagoon offshoot of the pond, really) and they took off into their first taste of water!

So, when we went up the trail to check out nests, we were VERY careful watching where we stepped! We saw no more baby snappers but I did manage to see a newbie Garter!

Another thing we love about this place is that we can sometimes find Four-Toed Salamanders. They are always a real treat... I flipped one with a Redback at its side!

No sooner had I done that, then Andrea found another!

We went across the path and flipped a little. Our third Four-Toed taught us to not just look on the ground under a flipped log!

We were really starting to rack up the species! With glee, we saw out 10th, a bright Green Frog!
In truth, I was trying to photograph a dull, dark young Green  when he jumped over near this beauty! Thanks, ugly! (Just kidding!!)

From the trail, while looking for Water Snakes, we saw our new nemesis in the area... a simply massive Ribbon Snake!
Easily two feet long, this was the biggest Ribbon I've ever seen. But he proved that he got so big by moving so fast! Striped Lightning! One shot and he was gone!

I haven't added to my Big Year since returning from the Southeast but these three female Wood Ducks were still a beautiful and welcome sight!
Female Wood Ducks

Heading back to the beginning of the park, getting ready to leave (we'd been dodging raindrops for a bit), we finally saw our first Northern Water Snake of the day!
Wanting better pictures, I grabbed her and she musked all over both of us. I took her to the pond to wash us both up and she nipped me a few times in thanks.
She almost looks like she's got a set of Halloween wax lips on!
Fourth snake species!

While I was over trying to inflate my species count by flipping for Two-Lines in the dry creek bed (no luck), I saw a nice Pickerel.

Andrea, however, was helping a quartet of brand new Painted hatchlings out of their nest, which was unfortunately right in the middle of a heavy traffic path!
Our squees were heard far and wide.
We watched all of them take their first steps on land.

And then their first foray into the water...

So yeah, we got what we came for... birthday celebrations with herps! 12 species, 6 hours of magic! The year isn't quite over yet, now is it?!


  1. Los nacimientos son mágicos,"El Reino animal,vegetal incluso las piedras todo asombra,
    todos!!!!! UN beso a los grandes y chiquitos Martha

    1. Así que muchos bebés! Un nuevo nieto y bebés tortugas !! Los amo a todos!