Thursday, July 9, 2015

Lactose Tolerant 7-3-2015

Being on vacation means herping. That is my goal. We were both off on Friday, July 3rd so we made plans to hit a few spots in Bristol and Plymouth Counties. We picked up the son we never wanted, Wee Matty Cub Cub, and headed to our first stop, which was probably going to break our hearts.
This first place has long been a favorite but has recently undergone a clean-up and is being opened up to more humans... boating and families encouraged. This, to me, means a dearth of animals... shrinking habitat, unconcerned, entitled humans, litter... nothing good for the animals who live there.

We got there by 9:30 AM, a half hour before they were going to open the gate, allowing humans to drive deep into the park. Us? We hoofed it like we always do. We encountered a few Fowler's Toads first.
Even a TT... our first tiny toad of the year!

We were relieved to see that much of the cover that we have maintained over the years still lay on the ground. Hopefully, the Clean-up Nazis will just ignore this spot forever. Especially because it was here that Andrea flipped the first Milk Snake that we have seen in a few years in this park.
She might well be in a family way.
She thought it was time for a close-up.
A stunner!

That sexy beast was followed up quickly with a Redback (the only one we would see) and a Wood Frog.

Matt soon found a young Garter in the blue.

We have heard in the past that this place has Box Turtles. We have looked long and hard in the past but had pretty much given up on the thought... until we saw this mushroom and the beak-shaped marks... something has been gnawing on it.

Andrea found this carport in the pine needles and leaves that would fit a Boxie quite well...

The three of us searched but never found the culprit.

A spot that had produced zero snakes last year yielded another in-the-blue Garter. Maybe it had something to do with Andrea's nail polish...

This Fowler's had a funky leg. It went out and curled forward and made him kind of limp. It didn't slow him down much, though... this is the best shot I could get of the gimpy-jumper.

Hey look... a blue Garter I flipped in a field!

There are still plenty of tadpoles in the edge of the pond. They are starting to sprout legs so they won't be there for long.
We think they are toad but aren't sure. There's no question what this bruiser is... that's over 3" of Bullfrog tadpole.

Where were all the shells in this turtle-centric place? We finally spotted a Musk, sittin' on top of the world.

Next up, another one, who barely fit atop his chosen basking spot.

Andrea kept up the run of deformed Fowler's with this one-eyed cutie.

So, we were walking along when I heard Matt say "when it rains, it pours" and turned to see him holding another Milk aloft.

Mayhaps I was wrong about this place turning to poop. We ran into an elderly couple while we had the Milk and the guy said that even back in the day when it was a horribly human-infested shithole (my words, not his), that quiet spot back there was usually unmolested.

Next up... another awkwardly basking Musk!
Hey, three Musks, no Painteds... what's up with that?

"Over here, Buster!"
That Painter either has a buddy behind him or another face growing out of his carapace.

Here's a Fowler's in his carport.

More turtles arrived just in time, including a Redbellied Cooter who is often seen on this very basking spot.
Ah, Painteds, too... that's more like it.

We flipped this Cicada larvae getting ready to make the move from underground to air.

Though we had heard plenty of them, this is the first Bullfrog we got our cameras on, even though he had a piece of fuzz on his head.

A wee, serious Fowler's, contemplating life.

We peeked into a bog before getting into the car and added a couple more species... a Pickerel...

... and a couple of Greens.
^ nice hat

So, eleven species at a place I was about to write off. OK, we'll give it a shot until the stench of humanity destroys it for good. We headed over to Mandarin Buffet and chowed down.

Our next stop was an exploratory mission to try to find an abandoned drive-in theater. We found the way in and then the concrete ran out. We looked around but never found the building. More research needs to be done. There was a ton of flippable AC but none of it panned out.

After that, we went to a good Water Snake spot to look for them and look into the possibilities of Wood Turtles being there. The river and the sunny field next to it looks right. But we found no herps there, just this Great Blue Heron who was also looking for stuff.

Frankly, we were exhausted by this point but I wanted to check one more place, a bit deeper into Plymouth County. It has been a hit or miss place with us in the past but we hadn't yet checked it out this year. We got there and added species twelve of the day, an American Toad.

This very swampy area had a lot of standing water (not always the case here) that had many a' Pickerel hanging out.

Now, I'm not one to post roadkill or gruesome death shots here but this bit comes with a warning. I stumbled on this Racer skeleton stuck in a wad of netting.
The poor guy got his head stuck and couldn't pull it out, nor could he go forward.
What a sad and tragic way to go. Folks, clean up netting and 6-pack rings and shit like that when you see it.

So, that put a damper on things. We were only good for a couple more Pickerels before calling it a day.

It's funny, you go into a day with certain expectations and they get all scrambled up. The place I was ready to quit came through in a big ol' sexy way. The others... not so much. But this hobby is an always evolving and always learning one. As we become better herpers, we become better people. But I'll always detest humans.


  1. When we are ever back there, we should take away that netting so nothing else gets stuck in there. I only just thought of this.

    1. Yes, we should have thought of that then.