Monday, June 13, 2016

Beach Garter Bingo. 6-6-2016

How does one come down to Earth after such an amazing weekend in PA? We were both off on Monday (recovery day, we called it) and after sleeping in a bit (and editing a bunch of photos) we decided that, since it was very nice out... why not herp  a bit? We decided to go to a place right on the edge of the Ocean that overlooks Boston Harbor. We have seen Garters, DeKay's and Greens there. It's a place TeĆ” introduced us to a couple of years ago.We got a very late start but still made it there a bit after noon. It was warm and sunny so this meant that snakes were awake and fast. We saw way more than we were able to get the camera on... but we got a few.

This zippy little Garter was seen on the way in... we considered ourselves lucky to get this shot.

A rocky cliff that overlooks the Bay was full of speedy Garter Snakes. We had to settle for shed skins.
This moist, salty air is good for shedding, it would seem.

Andrea spotted two large and very full Garters heading back to the brush from the beach. Just what are these snakes eating?

We saw no Greens (but found a skin) and no Dekays, but the Garters were plentiful. Here is Andrea posing with a catch in front of the salty bay. There was a nude girl frolicking in the surf below. No, I have no pictures of her, but it explains Andrea's cheeky grin.

After a walk through the woods and exploring the other side, we went back the the main cliff. This Garter was dazzling us with her daring cliff-side crawl, perilously poking about next to a 15 foot drop to the rocky beach.

This in-the-blue guy was scaling a vertical wall.

Hey, it was a beach. We also saw crabs.

We decided to walk back to the car along the beach rather than along the wooded trails. Many nooks and crannies were stuffed with stuffed Garters, relaxing after a salty meal. I wonder, do they eat crabs? Little fish?
Looks like two in this next one...

Since it was later in the day, most Garters were in digestion mode. We flipped a few rocks along the beach and saw more.
This next one crawled into view as we were taking pictures of that last one.

In a nice cubby hole overlooking the beach.
I wonder what she pays for this prime beachfront property...

It's not every day you can stand on the beach and pose with a garter with the Boston Skyline in the background.

As if it's not weird enough looking for snakes while smelling salt water, actually finding full ones is downright weird to me. I love this place... it's filthy, sure... but it's also unlike any other Garter spot I know of. This last (full) girl was nestled under a small rock that Andrea had flipped a couple of hours earlier, on the way in.
Whole lotta snake under just a little bit of rock.

Well, that planned hour or two walk certainly expanded. Time flies when you're finding Beach Garters. We headed home but it was now approaching rush hour. We didn't hit it bad but when we were almost home and just sitting there, we noticed that the cemetery entrance (about a 20 minute walk from our house) was next to us, so we pulled in for two reasons. To get out of traffic and to peek at the pond in there. It can be pretty good for turtles.

During our PA trip, turtles were at a minimum. We hoped that we could see a few to satisfy our Chelonian Needs. Sure enough, when we parked next to the pond, we could see a Red-eared Slider basking in the late afternoon sun.
It doesn't look like the most comfortable position but whatever works.

This RES was hovering in the water, fairly close to us.
Strange that it should hover, staring at us.

Then, from about 30 feet out, we saw a familiar shell...
This large Snapper has come to say "hi" before... we always assumed it was begging for food. We had heard tales of somebody feeding the turtles here. Wonder what she wanted... hot dogs?
Two girls were walking by and I called them over to see the big, friendly turtle. One of them had the whole story.

She said there's an old guy that comes around every day, jangles his keys at water level, and feeds the gathering turtles organic crackers. He insists they only like organic ones. No, not hot dogs... they are carb freaks, like me. That explains it.

We have had Snappers here approaching us before and that is apparently why. Feeding wildlife is NOT something I condone but I had to admit, this was pretty cute. Then, from about 30 feet out again... another large Snapper came swimming over...

We recognized this guy from the white scarring on the back of his head. And also... his personality. Whereas the first one begged, this guy got downright demanding!
That last shot circled the Internet for a few days, mostly on reptile Facebook pages asking for a caption, the funniest of which was (in my opinion) "Show me your tiddies!"

Eventually, they figured out that we had no organic crackers and they backed off.

News flash, turtles. About 15 feet away from where you were begging for people food, there were a ton of small fish bouncing all over each other.

A bit beyond the fish, we saw this other RES... it might have been one of two that were hovering during the Snapper display, obviously cracker fans themselves. But with better manners.

Further along the pond, we saw this demure Painter, embarrassed by her fellow Testudines.

The last turtle seen was a fourth Red-eared Slider, a dude with a massive tail.
Sadly, this pond seems to be a dumping ground for unwanted pets. Red-ears can still be purchased in Chinatown, illegally at that. Cute for a while, then kids become bored and they get dumped in a local pond. "For a better life." They seem to do well here (what with the crackers and all) and they look healthy enough. Hopefully, they can live out their years happily and comfortably, but not reproduce. They are "invasive". (Invasive in that asswipes released them where they wouldn't normally live.)

So, "recovery day" turned out to be pretty exciting. The best recovery is doing more of what made you tired in the first place. We had to get back to work on Tuesday, so herping would have to wait until the weekend. I'm glad we got out, back on home soil, and saw some critters.


  1. i still have turtle envy
    i have salamander news.....two are living under the pond in the duck pen closest to the house
    a red one and a yellow one

  2. we are hoping that amelia doesn't notice them
    or it will be ghosts of salamanders
    they are living under the duck pond