Monday, June 15, 2015

New Hamster Rock Show 6-13-2015

By some bizarre twist of fate, my two favorite rock bands were touring the US... Girlschool (from the UK) and Crucified Barbara (from Sweden). That the tour was coming as close to me as New Hamster was just about more excitement than I could stand! So, I got tickets and waited and waited and waited. When the day finally arrived (mercifully on a Saturday) we had to keep ourselves occupied until show time. So, before leaving for the wilds of NH, we took a walk around a place in Norfolk County, MA.

Our targets at this spot are usually Spotted Turtles and Northern Leopard Frogs. While we didn't have any luck with the former, the latter was our first find. Andrea got all up in its lil amphibian grille and got this stunning shot.

Another frog jumped past and I saw it was a Pickerel... possibly a new species for this place. I got it in hand and Andrea photographed my closed fist. "Now, why did you do that?", I asked. As soon as I opened my hand to attempt a shot, the Pickerel launched and was gone. Umm... OK.. thank you for getting that ID shot after all!

Another, easier to shoot Pickerel was next.

Garter Snakes would be plentiful on this hike, but they would also be very tough to get photos of. The grass and brush had grown in a lot and we saw and heard a bunch that our cameras didn't capture. This guy was caught and made for a good portrait.

Another was seen through the brush... with a huge, distended belly. Looked like a Speckled King at first!
I stalked it a bit but never got a better photo. Not a big snake at all, just full.

We next saw a very large Green Frog.

I saw a small Garter go under a log but he disappeared before we could flip it. He didn't go far though. Upon gathering him for a photo, we noticed the tail. It had been nipped off fairly recently.
He wasn't letting that slow him down at all.

The water's edge was rippling with movement beneath the surface. I netted up a scoop and saw that some of the commotion was made by Green Frog tadpoles. This guy has small legs started.

Mosquitoes were awful and I had been wearing my 'skeeter jacket for a while now. We weren't sure if we wanted to go the whole length or not, as our time was restricted. Luckily, we made it to the end, to a sunny field. We were hoping to see nesting turtles. We didn't see those but we were happy when we flipped a small and feisty Milk Snake.
^ as flipped.

We could see a Killdeer standing in the grass. I needed one for my 2015 bird count, so I approached. It started squawking.
As I got closer, it went into the whole act, including the broken wing bit, but not for long. Soon, it ran at me, trying to look big!
Killdeer #84 behavior
Yes, the ground nesting bird had some eggs nearby. Sorry ma'am!

By this time, we were running late. So we hauled butt back, missing a number of Garter Snakes along the way. Our last herp of the morning was another Leopard frog.
(I had also caught one but, again, as I opened my hand, it jumped onto Andrea's camera, then her shoulder, then ,made an impressive launch into the tall grass.)

We went home and showered and changed and left for New Hamster. We weren't going straight to the concert venue, though. We were going to meet our friend Matt C. in Salem to look at America's Stonehenge, a place we had all heard about but not seen. It is stacked piles of rocks. How could that not be of interest to us.

Miraculously, we got there on time, met Matt (for the first time outside in daylight! Not a vampire!) and went in. We watched a short film first to get the history of the place. Here is a bit about it. We hit the trails and as we neared the ruins, the gatekeeper Garter greeted us.

The place was pretty cool. Here is a sacrificial altar.

There are lots of corridors and passageways and stacked rocks... stacked rocks!! I had to keep telling myself to not flip Stonehenge!

At one point, just outside of the main complex, we just couldn't resist and we flipped a trio of Garters.

This one is set up as a sun-dial.

On the way down, we explored a bit more off trail. I almost stepped on this guy but didn't see it until after, when Andrea pointed it out.

Matt noticed this guy in the woods after I had walked past it.

Our last herp of the trip was a Green Frog in a koi pond. I'd looked on the way in because my theory is that koi ponds always have Green Frogs in them. Nothing then, but this one on the way back proved my theory.

We saw some ground hogs racing around too but I was unable to get a photo. We said goodbye to Matt and went to find some grub before the concert. I had become a bit light headed... excitement, dehydration and no food. We took care of that and headed over to the venue for the second Rock Show of the day.

I survived, I saw eight of my favorite living musicians and was in pure ecstasy.
Crucified Barbara

I'm still giddy about the show, the Garters and the fun. I wish every day could be as fulfilling.

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