Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Herping in November 11-2-2014

It's officially cold now. The temperature on Sunday was about 42° with a windchill of Negative OhShit!° We drove ourselves out to the Big E in Springfield, MA to check out a Sheep and Wool Fest that was mercifully indoors. We got to fondle plenty of yarn and meet up with old friends in a very relaxed atmosphere, unlike some of the huge S & W Fests that we sometimes attend. Animal-wise, these shows never disappoint, whether you want to see an Alpaca using another Alpaca's butt as a pillow...
or you want to scan the rafters for House Sparrows enjoying the warm indoors.

We spent a few hours there, then found our way to Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Hampden, MA. I had looked it up and since it has a brook running through it, I thought we might get a few salamanders... hopefully the ever-elusive-in-Massachusetts Spring Salamander.

I'm not gonna lie... it was damn cold when we got there. Andrea looked a bit like this:

Nevertheless, we hit the trail along the brook and wondered just how awesome this place would be in the warmer climes. It is a super-beautiful place. Some large. flat stones along the path produced our first herps... some Redbacks and Leadbacks.

I made my way to the stream which was running fairly rapidly. I worked on the rocks along the edges hoping for Duskies and Two-Lines. The later is what I found.
Lots of them, in fact!

Now, of course, I can find both of these species close to home, so I dedicated myself to trying and trying to find Duskies!
herping in western ma
But inevitably, I found none. I got Andrea a consolation Two-Line to ogle up close.

We were cold and tired after a long day of driving, fondling yarn, and a couple of hours of wet flipping, so we headed back to the car. Some birds were fluttering about in the trees. A damn Kinglet once again showed me who is boss. But I heard a pecking and saw a small bird silhouette way up there and patiently waited. It was flitting all over. I managed a couple of dicey shots...
#97 White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
#97 White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
With ID help from the great Bob Ferguson himself, I came to know that this is my Big Year #97, the White-breasted Nuthatch!

So, we have some herps for November already and I'm 3 birds away from my goal. But oh what I wouldn't give for a few more warm days. Like maybe about 60 more this year.

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