Friday, October 30, 2015

I have heard no fat ladies singing... 10-29-2015

Despite a few nights of frost, the mention of a 70° day gets me ready to take a walk in the woods. Thursday the 29th was such a day. While at work, I learned that it was sunny and just over 70° so I made plans to ditch early and go to my favorite haunt on the way home... just to look around the dens. Someone might be poking their little noggin out.

I got there a bit after 4 PM and sure enough, according to my car's thermometer, it was 72°. I hit the trail and the first herp I saw was under a rock next to one we used to call Old Reliable. (We have since started thinking of Old Reliable as pretty damn unreliable.) It did my heart and my eyes good to see a stub-tailed Blue-spotted Salamander.

Next, over in Sly's pond, I found a couple of Redbacks (one was under Redback Rock, which is still quite reliable).

Walking over Sly's den-mound got me no glimpses of coil but walking around the edge of it was another story. It seems this den isn't just a Garter Den... this young, vibrant Water Snake was (literally) hanging out right near where Sly2K was seen earlier this year.
I got to walk around him without bothering him.
I just had my pocket camera but I got right up in his grille. This finally made him jump back.
This is, I believe, the latest date that we have seen a Nerodia.

I walked further up the path, exploring den areas as I went. I was skulking around off trail, looking at the ground for coils when a guy and his kid passed me. I got a pretty strange look. I'm sure they thought I was looking for a place to pee. Haha... the joke's on them. I already did it in Sly's vernal!

I was reaching the end of my expected hike when I saw a slim Garter about 5 feet off path, poking his way through the leaves. I made my last unnecessary, overly dramatic lunge of the year and had the sleepy Slim Jim in hand. He was calm enough for some fake in-situ shots.
I put him back into the leaves where he continued on his way as if I had never picked him up.
And then, he disappeared into the leaves.

Could it get any better? Well, it did. I was heading back and decided to go up a hill that has never had a snake, but has been good for salamanders. Much to my surprise, periscoping right out in the open, this small Garter was up.
I wanted to get a nice through-the-plants shot from the front, not really registering what those plants are around him. I got the shot...
and then my hands started burning thanks to the... oh yeah! that's what it looks like... stinging nettle.

Worth it.

Hands aflame, I found this would-be Leadback that is actually a lovely solid maroon.

I went home after that and waited for Andrea to get home. I was embarrassed by the riches I had seen without her and wanted to head up the street to see if any Dekay's Snakes were up in my friend's garden wall. She wanted to, of course, so we strapped on our headlamps and went up to look. We saw no snakes but the wall was super-healthy with Redbacks. Here is a big example.

The Dekay's might have been out and about and hopefully hungry. This tempting snail might have been on the menu.

So, in the end I am a bad husband but a happy herper. We have plans to get out salamandering this weekend so until the singing is loud and clear, I hear no fat ladies at all.

1 comment:

  1. i could sing iffen you want but your ears would bleed
    oh and..... who says global warming ?????it's in the 70's and almost thanksgiving