Thursday, July 30, 2015

Herping with false teeth. 7-26-2015

On July 22nd, I had every tooth pulled out of my mouth and rigid, plastic falsies jammed in there. Needless to say, recovery has been slow and painful... Vicatin and ice for a few days. But by that Sunday, July 26th, I had to get myself ready to get back to work the next day so I let Andrea convince me a quick walk would limber up the limbs. We chose a nearby, flat paved spot that would be pretty easy. I only lasted an hour, but we did pretty well.

It was mid-afternoon, fairly hot and overcast. I wasn't going to be able to flip so I followed Andrea to some rocks while she flipped a few. A wee American Toad was our first herp sighting.

Being in nature was indeed a great feeling. There was a decent breeze blowing through my scalp. As we walked past the river, I could see a Painted Turtle and a Green Heron enjoying the day.

A couple more Painters. (Yoga!)

Andrea pointed something out to me... a Garter I had walked past. Not quite up to my game yet.
She lunged for it.
Such a beauty.

A couple more Painted Turtles were basking.

We saw another Garter Snake lounging about  but didn't get a picture as it slowly unwound itself and disappeared into the thick grass.

There was some tarp. I though I'd do my part. I flipped an edge and this Dekay's Snake flopped out and lay there like a slug. She is so much in-a-family-way that it was her only defense.
It shouldn't be long before she pops.

The same tarp was hiding this cow-flop of an American Toad.

We got to a spot where Andrea saw another Garter retreating into the taller grass. There was no chance for a photo or catch, but as Andrea pursued, she saw this fattie nestled into the ground.
It seems like it would have been far too big for the Garter to attempt to eat but one never knows, does one?

I was getting pretty tired but I wanted to see a Water Snake before turning back. This place is usually pretty good for them. It wasn't long before I got my wish in full-Nerodia Glory!
This chubby beauty was 3 feet if she was an inch. I think she was asleep too as I could get right up into her face with no reaction or tongue flicks.
We were wondering if we should poke her so she'd move into cover; this is a busy walking and dog path and she was out in the open. Before we could make up our minds, a bumblebee buzzed next to her and she darted off into the cover. Thanks, bee! I was ready to turn back now.

I eyed a rock that had produced an ornery Water Snake before (a snake whose bite I still wear as a scar) and I wondered... I figured that if I was going to lift one rock, it might as well be this one.
Yup- same snake. I knew better than to poke her to ask her to move while I replaced the rock. But I did anyway. No slashing bite this time (though she struck) and she slid away while I returned the rock to position.

A beautiful woman among some beautiful flowers.
(She thinks she looks like a Golden Retriever in this shot.)

Walking back to the car, there was a movement in the brook that caught my eye. I looked and only saw a halved tree trunk.
But it kept jerking. If that was a Snapper, then it was a huge one! And sure enough, it was. We patiently waited for its head to emerge...
A beast! Gotta be 35 lbs or more. And a nice capper to a very productive hour. The walk was much needed.

That was 4 days ago. In the interim, my mouth has been feeling better (though I'd sure love to eat) and I've been back at work but there have been no more herp escapades. This weekend I'll be working at the Boston Comic Con so I'll be out of commission. But look for Andrea's adventures next week... she'll be hitting the weird wilds of Massachusetts without me (I'll be there only in spirit).

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