Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ch-ch-ch... Ha-ha-ha Friday the 13th: Attempting to Herp 3-13-2015

The temps hit the high Fifties on Wednesday! We all went outside and thought that Spring is surely here! Salamander Migration is upon us! The horrid winter is over!!!!

But it isn't.  Friends in states to our south are teasing us with pictures of amphibians and even a few reptiles, making us think that yes... there might be a chance! With that in mind, I decided to use my Friday off to fit in some herping between my errands. My final destination would be the streams of Worcester. Surely some salamanders would be up, enjoying the crisp cool water, frolicking in the joy of another winter passed.

I stopped off at the Arboretum on the way to the highway. TeĆ” had tipped me off that my friend the screech owl was back in his favorite place from last year so I figured it would be worth a quick walk to see if he was still there. Not being able to find the footpath... there's still over 3 feet of snow... I took the long way and found him a half hour later.
Screech Owl #61
Worth the walk to see this perfect fit!

So, I did a few things along the way and arrived at Cascades at about 1 PM, ready to flip some stones in the stream and look for Two-Lines, Dooks and hopefully, Springs. Sadly, despite the luck that our friends to the south are having and the fact that we had one nice day, the stream still looked like this:

Whatever. Armed with a new pair of rubber boots, I dug in and started bending and flipping... a practice that I am really feeling now, the morning after, in my butt, thighs and back. In an hour, I managed to pull up a number of Two-Lined larvae.
Various sizes (that one looks to be about ready to lose the gills) and all cute.

I decided to take a look over at Kinneywoods, since I was practically there. As I entered, I saw a half dozen White-tailed Deer running up a hill, frolicking in the snow. I couldn't get a photo through the trees. It turns out that, besides the deer, not much activity has been going on here. There were very few human footprints. I had to follow deer paths to avoid going into over-the-knee snow. The deer tracks lead me to a beautiful seep.
There's just gotta be Springs in this place!!

My new boots enjoyed the squelchiness!

I followed the muddy deer tracks over to the steam, which I thought would be raging but it was still mostly snow covered and icy. An hours worth of flipping netted me just one 3/4" Two-Lined larvae.

So, with snow in my boots (from missteps that took my leg up to the knee) and wading in the icy water, my feet were cold and I called it a day. I headed back home (through Friday afternoon traffic) and got home to a hot bath. For any Massachusetts herpers that think "Spring is here... we'll be herping in no time!"... think again. Despite the melting off a couple of feet of snow, there's still a lot to get rid of. It's still damn cold out there.

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