Monday, July 20, 2015

You Can't Always Get What You Want 7-18-2015

Persistence pays off, or so they say. We have been stepping up our tenacity of late, hoping all of this energy will get us a Massachusetts Box Turtle. With mucho gusto and really low hopes, we headed over to Plymouth County to hunt this elusive chelonian. All things considered, lady luck should have been smiling on us.

We got there early... by 9AM. The weather was great... warm and overcast with plenty of downpours predicted. We stopped briefly at a spot early into the journey to see what was up. Decidedly, Fowler's Toads were not up, as can be seen in the eyes of these sleepy, flipped specimens.

A bog area that has been good for quite a few species (including Hognoses) started right out with a robust Green Frog.

Nest up, a couple of large Bullfrogs. It should be noted that Gypsy Moths were everywhere and were bombarding us as we walked... hopefully, these chubby Bulls were filling up on them.

We scoured the area, up and down and back and forth, but found nothing in the way of targets. Of course, we had no proof ever that Boxes might be here but it sure seems good for it. We moved on after a while, saying goodbye to another, bright Green Frog.

On the way to the car, I got probably my best ever shot of an Eastern Towhee (which I still needed for the Bird Count Contest. #87, baby!)
Eastern Towhee #87

Andrea found a nice handful of powerline cut blackberries.
We were gorging on blueberries and blackberries all day.

We wanted to stop at a particular pond to see if any turtles were up. One Painted was.

The shore was moving... moving with tiny toads who had just emerged.
We had seen a Hognose in this spot a few years ago; it too was interested in the tiny toads. No such luck this time. But we excitedly went to another pond in the area to try our luck.

We have seen young turtles swimming in this next pond but had never seen adults. Lo and behold (way on the other side), a few adult Painters were catching some sun, hoping it would last.

We saw a toadstool. A Fowler's toadstool to be exact.

Another too-far-away-to-get-a-good-shot-of Painter.

Toadstools are fine but Andrea's hands are even more comfy.

We scoured here for quite a while and that is what we saw. We headed to another spot and worked it for a while and had nuthin'. So we decided to break for lunch. On the way out, I wanted to check that tiny toad pond again. I'm glad we did! There, we saw more Painted Turtles and also the first Plymouth Redbelly we have ever seen in that particular pond!
What a perfect creature! A few more Painteds were near by.

To get an idea of the tiny toad mania, we took a couple of minutes to collect a few for a photo. Some still have tails.

This small Bullfrog was nearby.

So, we went and got some subs to eat, wondering if we were going to go back to herping. The expected rain never materialized. Until we finished lunch. Then it started, so we headed back to the herping fields.

It didn't keep raining. Oh well. We road-cruised for quite a while, not willing to commit to another long, scouring hike. It was fun but we didn't encounter any animals. In fact, despite not seeing our targets at all, we were having a great time. Going in with very low expectations always helps. We were driving down a road and saw some railroad ties on the side. We made a mental note to check them out on the way back up this road. We found a new spot with AC to flip but nothing panned out so we headed for the ties.

We parked about 20 feet away from them to pull over safely. Right next to the car was a discarded trash bag... litter. I lifted it to peek underneath; I have found salamanders under trash bags before. Nothing. But when I put it back, I saw some coils in a fold in the plastic, inside a rip. There was a small Garter Snake snoozing in the garbage bag! I brought him out for photos.
He was still 95% asleep when I put him on the back of the car. He just sat there like a lump.

Andrea became fast friends with our first and only snake of the day. The Garbage Garter.

So, we struck out on targets, yet managed to have a wonderful day together. We were out doing our thing for 6 hours or so and saw lots of great animals- just what we needed. It's true. If you try sometimes, you just might find... you get what you need.

Or so I've heard.


  1. Queridos amigos,supongo que harán un libro ,con la colección de animalitos que han hecho, !Todo muy interesante!!!! Cariños Martha

    1. Gracias de nuevo por sus amables palabras, Martha!
      Love Mike