Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Back Where I Belong. 8-8-2015

After two weeks of not being out herping, due to the new teeth or working the Comic Con all weekend, it felt really good to get back to where I belong... getting stinky, achy, sweaty, bloody and tired at Andrea's side, out in nature. We woke up early to hit our "Green Snake Place" before heading over to a beloved spot that we had been missing. We knew that my stamina might not be quite up to snuff so we thought we'd play it cool.

We got to the Green Snake place while it was still pretty cool, though the sun was warming up quickly. Surprisingly, we got there before the Garters woke up. So we set about flipping a few stones on a rocky ledge, hoping for sleepy coils. I saw nothing. But Andrea said "oh... my... God..." on one flip. Her eyes spotted this brand-new neonate Green Snake!
Holy shit! That guy must have burst from his egg very recently. We didn't handle him for long. He slinked back under his rock, hopefully to grow big and strong.

So, we pretty much had our target right there, but we got greedy and kept looking for Garters and Dekay's and more Greens. We struck out for a while until I flipped this cool Garter who was still resting under a shady rock.
Stunning snow-white dorsal stripe.

We explored a bit longer as the sun warmed up but inevitably found no more animals so we hit the highway for our main attraction for the day, a park (mostly) in Norfolk County.

Baby snakes. They are what we  live for, it seems. That Green was ridiculously cute. Other species should have dropped their (live) young by now, too. In fact, right up near the visitor's center of this second place (which was filthy with humanity), we found a shoestring Garter youth under a rain gutter drain.

Another, older Garter was out and about by the water, in the midst of the stomping humans... a very feisty one, at that.

This could be what he was looking for... a small American Toad.

It had warmed up quite a bit and this Redback was a welcome sight.

Another small American...

Turtles have been tough here this year. This lone Painted had the whole place to himself.

Andrea turned up a few sausage-like Redbacks. Here is one of them...

Eagle-eye Andrea also saw this beautiful olive colored Garter slithering in the woods.

I needed the more obvious animals to show themselves to me... like this huge, clumsy American Toad! Now that I heard!

We hiked on and got to a place that is usually very good for Water Snakes. Sure enough, when we got close, we heard the words "Water Moccasin". We got into teacher-mode and approached the two guys about it, saying there was nothing in this park that can harm them and Moccasins are not in this state. One of the men, who was mentally challenged, wanted to see the snake up close, since it wasn't venomous. He pointed it out to me and I nabbed a young Nerodia for him to see.
He was quite taken with the snake, even though it was nippy. He asked us to take many pictures of it with his phone as he held it, he carried it up-trail to his friend to show-off a bit. He took photos of us holding it.
When I took it from him to return it to its home, he bent down and said to the snake's face, "give my regards to your snake family".

Why can't everyone be like that? Most people just keep on insisting that they are Water Moccasins. We all won this time. This crawdaddy tried to high-two me.

Another Painter hogging a usually crowded basking spot for himself.

I thought this Green Frog was baked in the sun...
But he hopped into the drink when I approached.

This Painter was fabulous and he knew it.

Right around here, we went into a bit of a lull. I mean, we saw a few animals, but it was hard work and they were few and far between. We saw a couple more toads, one of which was the same color as Andrea's hair.

A single Redback made me try for an artsy-fartsy shot.

This yoga-Painter was just too far out to get a good shot of.

We were exhausted. We had taken extra trails during the lull just to come up with anything. We sat on a bench and contemplated the walk back to the car. This American Toad was there, consoling us as we massaged our sore feet.

Neither of us had much gas left in the tank. We limped up the trail and for some unholy reason, decided to go to the most visited part of the park. Hey. It has rocks. Who knows? We had been there for about 7 hours and most of the revelers had left. And what do you know? We flipped a beautiful Ringneck!

Slightly rejuvenated, we soon found another beauty.
I saw a small Garter slide away too. The lull was over!

We had to sit for a bit again... I'm just not used to hiking so hard quite yet. (No solid food for me, still.) This was a nice spot to take a load off.

After a short rest, I approached some more rocks but I had to be cagey... there was a couple picnicking about 15 feet away. So it figures, that is where this super-feisty Garter zipped out from.
Though it had a meal inside already, I think it wanted more. It wanted me!
Got me... right in the quicksand.

So that was cool. We went up to the visitors center to wash up. I was sweaty, musky, bloody and tired. Exactly how I like it. After washing, I wanted to see if the neonate Garter was still under the gutter. Andrea had missed the coil before. I flipped it again...
Wow! He had already turned into a sub-adult!

We dragged our tired asses over to the other side of the center and found yet another Garter. We sat on the porch and talked with one of the wardens who we have come to know over the years.
It had been a long but fun day.

Driving home, we were happy and satisfied. Our bodies smelled and ached. We had earned it. Curiously, I discovered a bump on my leg that was painful and swelling but I don't know where it came from. Still there 4 days later. Weird.

We slept like the dead that night. The sleep of successful herpers.


  1. That green snake- there's nothing better than a reliable spot turning up the goods. Really encourages the inner Thoreau.

    1. It doesn't always deliver but it's so sweet when it does!

  2. Wow, fantastic set Mike! i really need to get out with you guys again soon.