Monday, December 29, 2014

The last weekend of 2014

The temps have been unseasonably mild. It has been rainy, not snowy... warm, not cold. So while we wouldn't be finding any reptiles, there has been no reason to forgo looking for amphibians. So we headed over to Ponkapoag on Saturday afternoon (December 27th) to get some exercise and take a look around. It was in the high 40s when we got there.

Deciding to dig right in, we hit a quietly running stream and flipped a few rocks. Let us all praise the dip-net; we had two species in one wave of the wand; a sleepy Pickerel Frog and a wee (and I mean very wee) Two-lined Salamander larvae!

More larvae turned up in the area, like this netted mini-sausage.

We checked on some vernal ponds along the way, which seem to be holding their water nicely. We encountered a few Redbacks under our more successful log-flips.

The pond was quiet and beautiful, as was this naturalist that was photographing it.

Here's her shot!

We got to a favorite stream and were hoping to find an adult Two-lined Salamander to photograph before we left. We surprised a slumbering Green Frog instead.
This guy was good for teaching a young girl who was walking by with her family a little bit about stream "aminals" (yes, the dear thing actually said that!) and their habits.

I finally found an adult Two-line and got my favorite Salamander picture of the year.
Thank you, new camera!

We had no plans for Sunday, the 28th. In fact, Andrea had already committed to a knitting meet-up. But when our dear friend Teá asked if we wanted to look for salamanders with her for her birthday (the 28th), how could I refuse such a wonderful offer? I hoofed it over to Allandale Woods while Andrea was at knitting and met up with Teá and her boyfriend Mike for some 'mandering.

It took a while to strike red gold, but eventually, we saw this Redback!
This is a big fat, probably gravid, gal.

We heard from Andrea on the way to the Two-lined stream... she would be there soon. We found a larvae quickly enough...

We figured that, since we'd bepulling up many larvae, we'd hold them all together for Andrea to see and also, we wouldn't have a dozen photographs of single Two-lined larvae. It started to become crazy as we turned up a plethora of Eurycia! We even found two adults. This is what 16 larvae and two adult Two-Lined Salamanders looks like!
I call that a beautiful bowl of bislineata!

So while we await the spring, the real warm weather, and the return of reptiles, our Phibtastic Phriends will keep us dirty and wet and sweaty... the signs of herpers herping.


  1. That looks like a beautiful spot. All that larvae in mid-winter. I never knew.

    1. It is very nice and within walking distance! Yes, the larvae (and adults for that matter) will be up as long as the water doesn't freeze solid. Look for more of these in January! And February!! (And March, maybe...)