Monday, November 9, 2015

No- No- November The 4th thru 7th, 2015

Who knew "Indian Summer" (apologies to the easily offended) would hit so hard this year? After a great Halloween, we figured our days of warmth were a thing of the past, but Mother Nature was throwing us a bone and sending us some 60° and 70° days! The cruel joke was that she sent them on weekdays. Work days.

I tried my best to break out early on Wednesday, 4th. The temps were in the mid-60s all day and it was sunny. Sadly, by the time I got out and to a Suffolk County spot near home, it was 4 PM and the sun was going down. Thanks a ton, Daylight Savings Time. I managed to flip a pretty Leadback, though.
The next day was even nicer but I couldn't get out of work in time for anything. Blech.

Friday the 6th was the nicest day yet. I ditched work an hour early. Sadly, I got stuck in traffic getting home, so I pulled over to hike a place in Norfolk County. It was the place at which I'd had a disaster a few months ago. I wasn't sure I was ready to go again... I still haven't gotten over the incident or forgiven myself. But, I sucked it up and went in. It was about 3 PM and still in the upper 60s.

I love 'em... Redbacks. As is often the case at this time of year, that's what I saw first.

I saw a few of them and I heard Peepers calling from the wetlands. I never saw one, though. I (very carefully) flipped many rocks and logs and saw very little. A woman walked by me twice so I figured I'd tell her "I'm looking for salamanders, if you're wondering." She asked if I was going to eat them.

Anyway, after she went on her merry, psychotic way and wished me luck, I flipped a log and saw a brown tail fall out and go under a leaf. I moved the leaf and saw half of a wee Dekay's Snake making his way into a hole in the dirt. I gently excavated him. November snake, baby!
I was extremely grateful on many levels, mostly because this was about 100 yards from where my Garter accident happened before and I really didn't want to go that far. In fact, after photographing the Dekay, I went home.

I felt badly that I couldn't share that guy with Andrea. When she got home, we went up to our friends' house to see if any Dekay's were in their garden. (They often are.) No, but it was Redback friendly.
What a monster!

The weekend was going to be a tough one to gauge. Warmer but cloudy on Saturday, cooler but sunny on Sunday. We decided to go to a long time favorite pond in Norfolk County on Saturday to look for salamanders. We really wanted some Ambystoma. And a November snake. November 7th was, after all, last year's late-in-the-year record snake... it would be nice to tie it. We met our friend Ryan there and hit the trail.

Ryan scored the first herp with a... you guessed it... Redback!

It was 62° and cloudy. The wind across the pond was frigid. Therefore, the unexpected sight of a Painted Turtle up and "basking" filled me with joy.
Our latest-in-the year turtle encounter ever.

Redbacks were the herp-du-jour.
I love this last shot. Blurry as hell but the little Redback all stuffed into the wood makes me happy.

I got another peek at the pond and saw this old-timer Painted up catching some UVB.

We finally scored a Leadback.

The ground was so littered with leaves that it made it hard to even find logs to flip.

We got near our (hopefully) Ambystoma spot and flipped a log that had nothing under it. Then a Redback fell out and scurried into the leaves. Then an Eft fell out. We tried to right him and pose him but he was having none of that. He was a whirling dervish, constantly on the move. This is the best shot I could get of him.
Luckily, Andrea decided to film him.

We found no mole salamanders despite the three of us searching high and low. Oh well, we moved on. My bounty was a dollar for either Ambystoma that we know are here or any snake, but I made no payouts.

Here's a super pretty Leadback, though. I hadn't noticed the Redback on the other end of the bark until Ryan pointed it out.

We got to a stream bed that was moist (sorry Matt) but had no running water. It was perfect for Two-lined Salamanders. Oddly enough, I flipped a Pickerel Frog first.

Ryan got our first, and only, Two-lined.

The Pickerel, who didn't look like he had been hibernating yet, was busy charming Andrea.

The next, and last, herp we flipped looked more like the Pickerels we see at this time of year... muddy and 7/8th asleep.

Not a bad start to November. I'd have loved to get Andrea a November snake but it just wasn't in the cards for that day. At least we got to see 5 species and watch Ryan show us how to get over a chain barrier when you're just too tired to step over.
Ryan is a goof


  1. but the tick didn't post them
    and did she kiss that froggie?


      Tick seeds are the next day.

      No frogs were kissed for the making of this blog post.

  2. !!!Andrea...Cuidado con el sapito..!!!!. !Es un príncipe y te va a raptar!!!!Pobre Mike Besos Martha