Thursday, June 23, 2016

No 'Phibs Phor Phather's Day. 6-19-2016

Father's Day 2016 was going to be hot. It was also going to be a day we'd be visitng Andrea's dad. We still wanted to get some herping in so we made plans to meet the folks in the mid-afternoon. We headed to a favorite spot, a Norfolk County pond, and got there before 8:30 AM for a hike. It was sunny and cool and we were waking up with the animals.

In the wooded areas, it was chilly but along the rocky dam, Water Snakes were starting to wake up to warm up.
I got a quick peek at both a Ribbon and a Garter, too, but they both took off in a flash.

Two water Snakes were near each other, scoping out the shallows for something to eat.
Andrea spent a few moments just watching them forage. It was still, quiet and tranquil; beautiful. That is what it's all about.

A pair of Painted Turtles hoisted up to enjoy some sunshine.

More Water Snakes emerged to warm their coils.
Since we had been having a less-than-stellar Water Snake year up until a couple of weeks ago, these sightings were all very welcome.

This Chipmunk launched into this perch at my eye-level. I am 6'2".

I used a vine as a rope and scaled a tall rock that overlooked a pond. Before wondering just how the hell I was going to get down, I snapped this photo of a Painter in the water.
Totally worth it.

I finally got my revenge on Garters... I jumped into a bush, smacking my lip on a tree branch (and even loosening my teeth a little) but nabbed this little beauty for a picture.
What a pose!

We had taken a side trail that we thought led to the hobo camp but we were off by a bit. Our mistake trail (that we named New Kissing Rock and then broke it in) turned out to be pretty good. Andrea called to me and I went up to see this:
A perfect Garter was stretching into the sun from the shadows.

This guy almost gave us the slip but we got this shot through the brush.

There were lots of these weird looking buds along this trail, too.

Last Garter on that trail was so chill, I walked right over him after photographing him and Andrea booped him twice.

We did eventually find the hobo camp. It was there that we flipped a shiny (and surprisingly long) Ringneck.

We scoured a stream and a rock strewn hill next to it for salamanders. Two-lines and Redbacks and the occasional Spotted Salamander are all over there. But we saw none. Weird. It was 80° by now but no Two-lines??

Our next spot was pond-side again. We flipped another lovely Ringneck.

While photographing that one, this in-the-blue Garter was crawling past us.

Our last snake of the day was another Ringneck. We had been moving rocks (carefully) next to the pond and one rolled over, out of the way, and this guy was coiled there, all exposed.
We gently replaced the rock and moved away slowly... our hands were in sight at all times.

That wasn't just the last snake, it was the last animal. Our plans to check another Two-lined spot on the way out dissolved when we never noticed the stream, due to growth. We would have gone back to see where we missed it but time was running out. It was great to see a bunch of snakes and turtles but how weird that we saw no amphibians!! Better luck next time, I guess. But Redbacks will be tough as the weather gets hotter. This is one reason I never take them for granted.

This might be why I'm known as "the guy who likes Redbacks more than anyone."



  2. bernie has a snake phobia......... he was like.... slimey
    i was like they aren't at all
    just shiny

  3. That's squaw root (or bear cone depending on your region)! The scientific name is Conopholis americana. It's a non-photosynthesizing parasitic plant. It lives off of roots of nearby trees.

    1. Thank you so much, Haley! I had no idea how to go about looking it up! Looks like it is from outer space... very odd!

    2. No problem! I get frustrated with it a lot because it always starts to pop up when we're looking for morels and they trick me every time into thinking I've found the mother load.