Saturday, October 17, 2015

Out on a Monday 10-12-2015

Columbus Day. Day three together in the field. It was going to be warm (low 70s) and we decided to stay close to home. To be honest, we were pretty tired. We went to a nearby park in Norfolk County just to see what was up. It was after 10 AM when we got there.

Walking through the sun, I said (more than once, poor Andrea), "even if we don't see any animals, this sun beating down on us feels so great. There may not be many more days like this." Prophetic? It has been cooler since and the threat of a killing frost looms over us this weekend. But this day was perfect.

Our first herp was a Leadback who confused my camera so I didn't get a great shot.

Walking along, we spied a slender Garter Snake warming up in a patch of sun.
Bright and beautiful.

We walked what we call Racer Alley, ofttimes climbing the rocky slopes, but saw no animals. It was downright hot on those rocks. Most of our squamate friends were probably off and hunting.

The trails on the other side of the Alley were cool and shady. We flipped a board on the path that is there for people and bikes to traverse a puddle (which was dry at the moment) and this plump Green Frog looked at us.

We made it deeper in to some more path boards and got this trio in Caudata... two Spotted Newts and a Redback.

We turned back after flipping in an open sunny area that produced no herps. Honestly, it felt so good to be out in the sun in October that we were completely satisfied. I'm not lying, though... we were pooped.

We got some lunch before heading over to a Suffolk County place on the way home. Andrea wanted to take some coordinates of the expansion of a cemetery that is encroaching into Blue-Spotted Salamander habitat. Blues are threatened here and the machinery have decimated much of what we believe to be a hill that serves as a hibernaculum for them and other species.

While Andrea was all professional, taking data and photos, I flipped at the nearby vernal, looking for said salamanders. I found none. Distressing.

After she completed her report, we moved on to look around. Our first herp was this nearly jet black Garter with a vivid white stripe! One of my all time favorite Garters.
If this winds up being our last snake sighting of 2015, we go out with a bang.

A different dried up vernal produced a lovely Blue-spotted Salamander. It's good to see a survivor.

Andrea did my heart a favor when she flipped our first Spotted Salamander of the year here. This species, while not rare, seems to have been affected even moreso than the Blues in this park.
It's a relief to see one.

This tubby Peeper looks about ready to hibernate.

We explored deeper into the woods than usual, poking into vernals that are inaccessible at other times of the year. This paid off with another Blue-spotted sighting.

That is where we called it a day. We saw some animals, Andrea did her presidential-type work (the data has been reported and passed on to the proper authorities to make sure the cemetery isn't destroying habitat that isn't theirs to destroy) and we got some much needed Vitamin D.

The impending cold weather is not thrilling me. At all.