Friday, July 24, 2015

The Frog Days of Summer. 7-19-2015

Super hot and humid forecast. That used to mean we would get up at the ass crack of dawn and get ourselves to a selected spot by 6:30 AM and herp till noon when the heat would get too much for us and the animals. Not so today. We slept in. We might not have gone out at all except for upcoming weekend obligations that will keep us from our usual herping schedule. So, even though it was already 95°, we headed out to Essex County to see if anything would be up.

Upon pulling in, we saw no turtles up on the basking logs near the parking area. Uh-oh. But we did hear a few Bullfrogs. They never seem to mind the heat. Along the trail, I flipped quite a few logs as it was wet underneath them; there was some rain during the night. One flip looked empty until I started to replace the log and saw a small Garter shoot out. I had missed the coil! I had to flip a few more logs to find where he had gone...
A fine specimen!
He sped back to the cool safely of his log.

Andrea found a swell Stink Bug!

It became obvious that we weren't going to see any salamanders and that the snake was a fluke. It was super hot and sticky. Turtles weren't up in any of the ponds. Andrea flipped a Green Frog who was trying to beat the heat.

A mud puddle next to a pond proved to be full of life. Hey, maybe these frogs won't be so tough to see after all. Andrea soon spied two Pickerels...
and a Green.

The pond itself was covered with duckweed. This Bullfrog had pulled himself up to bask.

This place is usually very turtley, but this Painted was our one turtle score.

But the Bulls... they were everywhere! Almost every perch in the pond had one or more Bulls enjoying the afternoon.

At a beaver dam, Andrea saw a big fat Garter slither off. We soothed our disappointment with fresh raspberries, a rare treat in the wild.

There was a long patch of damp, cool grass in the shade along a path. This was a favorite hiding spot for the local frogs. This golden Green Frog really takes the prize for beauty!

Here is a normal Green...

A couple of Pickerels were chilling in the grass as well.
^ Lots of green on that guy, defying the field guides.

Andrea got this nice shot of a Bull having a soak.

Near a pond, a tree had shed a lot of bark so I thought I'd go flip through it a bit. Pretty soon, I saw about 3" of tail scooting away. It could have been a 5 foot Racer of a 6 inch Ringneck. I grabbed it and saw it was the latter... more like a 12 incher.
A very welcome find.

Andrea got a butterfly kiss from him.

Heading back, we decided to check out a path that would be new to us. Hey, why not. It was only about 100°! So we headed up the path and noticed that it spilled out into a powerline cut. Oh dear! A rock strewn powerline cut! OK, so in this heat, it might not pan out but for the future, this looks excellent. Still, we flipped a bit and headed up. We did find one small Garter...

Then Andrea found the most fierce snake in Essex County and it wasted no time taking a bite out of her.
What a 'tude!

So, we poked around and then headed back to the coolness of the trail. We saw one Garter on the move but he was so warmed up, getting a shot proved impossible. Heading back to the car, completely covered with sweat, we found one more herp... some Tiny Toads were hopping about, making us watch our step.

So, despite the beating our bodies took in the heat, we had a pretty darn nice hike. Plus, we more than earned ice cream. I'm not sure how much herping will get done in the next few weeks but I'm super glad we got out of the air-conditioned comforts of home and got out into the woods. Yay for frogs!

1 comment:

  1. Ese bicho que tenes en tu mano ,acá se llama chinche y si es el mismo ,tiene un olor horrible,Simal no recuerdo están en las parras de uvas.Un beso x2 Martha.

    Escribo siempre ,pero creo que los mensajes no salen,(mandame fotos actuales de los chicos,que en cuanto esté mejor los voy a dibujar.