Thursday, August 13, 2015


Overcast, rainy and cool. Hey, that's fine by us. We got up early to head out to a spot we love in Bristol County and passed through some light rain showers on the way down. When we arrived, it wasn't raining and it was about 69°, dude. We sprayed down and got to work.

We expected that flipping was probably going to be the only way to see snakes as it was still cool. This place offers a lot of AC to flip. Pretty quickly, we found a small Garter coil. I brought him on to the asphalt to try to get a nice shot of him...
He was a whirling dervish... Andrea's shot of me trying to shoot him is a better shot than what I came up with.
He really handed me my ass.

I put him back and I was poking around when I heard Andrea exclaim "Holy shit!" She had just flipped a Garter trifecta. She got one in hand and I looked over to see an orangey sub-adult Garter slither into a crack in the wall. She said another reddish one slid into the foundation. The one she had, the largest of the three, was Classic Garter all the way.

The foundation guy kept peering up at us, daring us to try to get a decent shot.
I couldn't.

That was a nice way to start the day. We headed out to hike. The river had a few basking Painteds up, though there wasn't yet any real sun to speak of.

We went along and didn't see much until we flipped a Leadback and a Redback under side-by-side logs.

At one spot with rusty car parts to flip, we saw a black snake tail move inside a door  laying on the ground. I lifted it but it was inside the door, not under it. I had roused a few wasps. Spurred on by the tail, I flipped a piece of twisty metal next to the door. I aroused many more wasps. I was about half way through the sentence "these are the kind of wasps that don't defend ..." when I got stung on the leg. Oops. I ran away and they didn't follow, mercifully. My right leg swelled up to match my mysteriously injured one from the day before. We thought about going back for that tail but decided not to.

We got to the halfway point and looked out to see the Five Amigos basking. The sun had started to poke through and these Painters were taking full advantage.

A Spotted Sandpiper was hanging out at the waterfall, which was nice; I still needed it for my count.
Spotted Sandpiper #88
#88 on the year.

We trekked on and Andrea spotted this bright Green Frog.

Miraculously, she also saw this Pickerel in the brush.

We got to a ball of plastic tarp. This has been there for a while and never produced anything. But what they hey. I started to unravel it and a young Garter came rolling out. I handed it to Andrea as I continued to unravel. I saw a tiny speck that looked like a cartoon sperm. It was swimming in a puddle in the tarp. It was a brand new neonate Garter!
4 inches of fury!

We had missed getting a shot of a small American Toad earlier so Andrea made sure we'd get this bloke's photo.

Soon, we got to a piece of fabric that feels like a parachute. There was another neonate garter there. Instead of having so many huge, pink hand photos, we put him back on the fabric to try our luck.
I failed.

But, Garter Moms have been popping and we couldn't be happier.

My leg  (not the stung one, the other one) was becoming unbearably painful so we headed back. (We didn't really skip anything, I just wanted to complain here.) We got back to where there were a few turtles up earlier. The warming sun had brought out the troops.

There were still some staunch individuals.

We went upstream a bit and there was a conga line of Painters.
I'd have loved to get a better shot but they all plopped into the water as we approached... some very dramatically.

This guy, whose perch was about three feet to the left of the full log said, "I'm not moving... it took me forever to get up here!"
Sure enough, he was still there when we went back past there about a half hour later.

That half hour was spent looking closely at the water's edge off of a dock. Once the eyes adjusted, we could see young frog noggins. A couple of newly metamorphosed Bull Frogs were there.

A very small Pickerel, too.

We saw some slight movement and saw a little noggin emerge...
This little Pickerel was so small, we wondered if that was the first time he'd had his head above water.

So that was that. We reflipped a few places on the way to the car with no luck. So, since I can't really eat lunch anymore, we went to another spot nearby, in Plymouth County, but saw nothing. So we said what the hell... on the way to the highway we went to our other favorite Bristol County spot just to hit our board-line (which miraculously still lays there).

At the water's edge, on the way to the boards, the grass was thick with young Pickerels. This was one of many!

The boards were good for a new species for the day... a small Fowler's Toad.
Toad Roof Rusted.

The boards produced one snake for us, a real badass of a young Garter.
He was ready to kick our asses.

So, that was our day. I'm only 6 foot 2, I got a pain in my leg (still after 5 days). But we are intrepid herpers. This is what makes us feel alive. We would crawl through glass to see these animals... and sometimes do.

Man, its good to be back in the saddle.

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