Monday, June 27, 2016

Spilling Milks. 6-25-2016

Not much can make us forfeit a herping day. Family obligations, sure, but we decline most invites when the weather is herpable. My friend Dave was having a Yard Sale last Saturday, however, and our reason for going was two-fold. He always has amazing stuff for sale and we love the guy and never get enough hang time with him! So we decided to do that instead of our typical Saturday trek in the wilderness.

On the way to his house (with a tub of stuff to try to sell to offset the cost of what I was surely going to spend), we pulled off for a half hour to explore some woods that Dave himself had shown me last year. A series of trails criss-cross the woods in this quiet part of Norfolk County. Upon first entering, a large Red-tailed Hawk flew from branch to branch in the canopy. I got a lousy shot, but it still qualified as bird #92 on the year. In the short amount of time I had allotted us, we didn't see much (though we heard Green Frogs calling from the pond) until I flipped a log and it cracked open, exposing a small Ringneck.
Breakfast snake!

We spent the next 7 hours or so talking, laughing, shopping and having a great time... catching up with Dave (with whom we have many many common interests), meeting Facebook friends in the flesh and making new friends. Really, you just don't get many days like this one. Wonderful people and some killer swag to bring home. Memories to last.

It was dusk when we left to head home. Since we passed right by the place that was bulldozed this Spring, we decided to check yet again to see if any animals were up and how the regrowth was coming along. As soon as we hit the trail, in the fading sunlight, we could see a shiny root spilling into the path. I thought it looked suspicious. Especially when the root doubled back at our approach.
Andrea ran ahead and secured this beautiful Milk for photos.
That is always one of the most exciting sights for us. Spilling Milk.

We headed over to the demolished area (monitoring it is becoming something of an obsession to me) and we saw no salamanders or snakes but there was another Painted Turtle making do with the space that was left.

Another good sign was the sighting of many bunnies. They also make their homes in the rocky hill, I'm sure.

We headed back as total darkness fell. Out came the headlamps. We had no surprises as we headed back (except for a trio of kids that were going in to do God knows what). We got to the spot where we had seen the Milk an hour earlier and we decided we wanted to poke around the grass and the side of the hill there. I flipped a relatively small rock and saw a beautiful Garter coil snoozing away under it.
This was no small snake, either, as we discovered when we moved her to replace the rock. She must be two feet long, at least.
I put the rock back, pointed her face toward it and she slipped in like a retractable cord.

I had no sooner said "this is like the new hot-spot here" than Andrea pointed to another Milk spilling out into the path at the top of the incline.
This one has super-dark saddles and looks almost King-like.
We did quick head-marking match-ups with the pictures we got of the first one... nope, different snake entirely. And it wasn't Golden Boy from a few weeks ago. Yep- new hot-spot for sure. The trio of kids came back by and said "why would you touch that thing?" without stopping. I shake my head at the ignorance of stoned youth.

We're still not sure if it's snakier in this part of the park due to the destruction of the Racer Alley area or if they were always here and we're just getting lucky. I mean, that second Milk slid into an almost imperceptible hole in the hill like it had been its home for a long time. At any rate, I'm glad we don't have to write this place off completely. I do want to keep an eye on the ol' Alley, though. I'd love to see it bounce back from the leveling it took.

So, that was an amazing day. A full day of hanging with awesome people, sandwiched by a couple of short but fruitful nature walks. I could get used to that.

1 comment:

  1. those are some striking looking sneakies....
    and of course i loves the turtle