Friday, October 23, 2015

Crawling past the finish line Oct. 17-22nd.

Long time no blog. It has been cold. In fact, since my last entry, the temps dropped considerably and never got back up, really. Never fear, it takes a lot more than cold to keep us from herping. We have no sense, you see.

On Saturday. October 17th, I had made plans to drive to Wilmington, MA to buy a Beta VCR. We did that and realized that we were in Essex County, not far from a place where we have had sickeningly good luck with Garters in the past. It was a cold day but the sun was shining and... you just never know. So we went over to walk the rail trail.

Sunny, yes, but the wind was blowing and no snakes were dumb enough to be peeking out. We managed a few Redbacks, one of which looked remarkably like this.

Andrea, proud of her amphibian find, declared herself the shit.

The next day, Sunday, it was damn cold. In fact, while doing errands, there was some snow swirling around in the wind. We turned our noses up at such a scandal on October 18th and went to a sanctuary in Norfolk County to look for salamanders. I was getting over a cold and this was probably not a great idea.

We did, however, find a bunch of Redbacks. Take that, snow.

That night, it dropped below freezing, giving us the killing frost that we had been warned of. I heard that some places hit 23°. That made it hard for me to get excited about a "late week warm-up" that was forecast. Well, Wednesday was 65° and Thursday, the 22nd, it was going to be 70°, so I put on my dunce-cap and decided to herp after work.

Unfortunately, Andrea had picked up my bug and was home sick. Would I be a bad husband and herp while she is sick in bed? Well... just a little bit bad. I stopped by a favorite Suffolk County spot on the way home to look around the snake dens to see if anyone was dumb enough to be up.

My beloved Redbacks were the first herps to be spotted.
I love the snuggle.

Near those two, I flipped a lovely Blue-spotted Salamander. This is one of my best shots on the year.

I poked around a few known Garter dens but really scored when I went back to the trail. Alongside a hillock that we had discovered early in the Spring to be a Water Snake den, two Nerodia were laying out in the warm air, pretending it wasn't October.
I would have freaked out had we not learned that this area was where they denned. What a wonderful post-frost sight this was. Thanks to a couple of cooperative Water Snakes, I didn't need to go further. I turned back into a good husband and went for groceries, then home to my ailing wife.

Oh, well... one more stop. But I had a reason.

I stopped by our friends' house, a house whose garden is also home to a thriving colony of Dekay's Snakes. Would one be up on this balmy day? First rock flip said "yes".
Since I was 2 minutes away from home, I wasted no time. I picked the little dickens up and brought him home for Andrea to see.
Good husband points back, I put him into a sock and walked him back up the street to his rock. He crawled back under, never knowing how happy he had just made my wife.

Last snakes of 2015? Maybe. 2013's last one was a Garter on October 21st. There won't be many more but we'll still keep looking for animals until we freeze.

2016's February Everglades trip seems like eons away, though.


  1. you're a good man chickie......and i hope andrea feels better soon

  2. Been in a bit of a stink since finding a recently-squashed brown snake the other day- glad to see you guys are finding live ones.
    Seems the season is winding down. Let's hope last years winter doesn't get a sequel.