Friday, May 8, 2015

Weekday Herping May 4th through May 8th

Just how much herping can one get done during the work week? Not a helluva lot but with the herper's eyes always open, one can get lucky.

So it is that while Andrea was walking to the train station to go to work Monday morning, right there on Hyde Park Ave. in Roslindale, she heard a swoosh and saw a vibrant Garter Snake!
What a great way to keep the weekend herping going!

That afternoon, she took time on her lunch break to head to the lagoon area on the Charles River Esplanade. As before, she was lucky enough to see some turtles. She saw the first Red-eared Sliders of the year.
Invasive, yes... but if they can survive in the city amongst the garbage and humanity, I say more power to 'em.
There were a couple of Painted Turtles in the area as well.

Excited by her 3 herp species morning and afternoon, I picked her up at the train station after work and we headed over to Cutler to try and continue her luck. We got there a little after 6 PM, so our time was limited. We moved at a pretty good clip, though we tried to be thorough. Our first herp came quite a ways into Racer Alley... a charming American Toad.

We heard a lovely bird song. It was close to a Robin but not quite... then we saw the singer. A Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Lifer #130.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak #71, Lifer #130
We stood there watching it sing for a while, enchanted. That, my dear, is what nature is all about.

We got to the end of the path and saw some movement under the water in the river. We heard Toads calling and looked around for them but couldn't see any. This Common Snapping Turtle might have also been looking for a two-toad special.

We headed back out as it was getting dark. Headlamps were required. Peepers and toads called like mad from the wetlands. We realized we had forgotten to flip a reliable log on the way in. Sure enough, when we flipped it, we saw a bright Redback.

Last herp of the evening was a young American Toad who was hopping along the path.

Wednesday night (May 5th), Teá contacted Andrea and said Toads were calling in the Arboretum. Andrea headed there on the way home from work. I was feeling a bit sick so I had to decline. When she got there, sure enough, American Toads were calling and looking for a good time, if you know what I mean.
^ Hey, baby... you got a fine butt!

Friday, May 8th, I was on my day off, so I decided to herp Suffolk County until noon. I wanted twelve species before twelve. Hey, why not aim high? Of course, nasty errands would be cutting into my precious time.

I dropped Andrea off at the train and headed straight over the Forest Hills Cemetery. First things first: I wanted some Red-ears. I got a three pack right away.

Some Painted Turtles were also enjoying the morning sun.

I did a little birding as well. In fact, there was a Red-tailed Hawk bathing in a puddle right in front of me in the road.
He was fascinated by the handsome devil in the reflection. A Blue Jay flew by to photobomb my efforts.
Red-tailed Hawk #72 (interaction)

On the way out, the Red-eared Sliders had doubled!

I drove over to Brook Farm to walk the trails. It was pretty quiet until I got on the path that leads to Millenium. A small Painter was basking there.

Further up, a large female Nerodia was snuggling with three males.

Still further up, this one said "the single life is for me!"

Not yet to Millenium, a small Garter swished by. He posed nicely for a few shots.

Along the rock strewn cement path at Millenium, I saw nothing basking, but then there were plenty of dogs. I was talking to a woman whose 2 off-leash spaniels were tearing apart some brush on the other side of the river. She was telling me of how they kill and terrorize snakes and have tree'd a Fisher. She was very nice but I felt bad for the local fauna with these two (cute) terrors roaming around.

I was walking back and saw a slim, orangey Garter whisk into some roots. As I moved in to explore, I startled a Green Frog into the drink.

I told spaniel lady about it as she passed me. Her dogs were still back traumatizing some unseen animal. She called back, "there's a big brown one over here." There sure was! A beautiful Northern Water Snake!
Over two feet and still lots of color!

While I was poking the Nerodia away in hopes of making it hide before the Death Spaniels came by, I heard the woman scream from about 50 feet in front of me. She then laughed. She had almost stepped on a snake. I went to the area. I hadn't been flipping rocks because I'm still not feeling great, but I did here and eventually found the culprit... a beautiful Garter Snake.

Having handled that guy to get a picture, I had some musk to wash from my hands. I went toward the water and startled this slim Garter!

This was pretty good. I wished Andrea was with me. One more basking Nerodia was seen atop some sticks hanging over Sawmill Brook.

It was 11:30 AM and my hopes of twelve before twelve were disappearing rapidly. I finally found a moist area (the whole walk had been surprisingly dry) and got a nice Redback.
Six before twelve. I'll take it.

As we plan the weekend, we're stoked to have had such a productive week. Just two months ago, we were still completely snow-covered so we're not going to waste any time now that we have good weather. I can't wait to get back out.


  1. !Ojo que los sapos se convierten e príncipes!!!jaja!Un beso Martha

    1. Amamos a nuestros sapos aquí !! Besos!

  2. Yo también los amo, a todos los animalitos ,También amo a los humanos ,pero no tanto,jaja!!!besos ;Martha!!

    1. Me encanta muchos humanos (usted es uno de ellos), pero me encantan todos los animales! Jaja!! Mike