Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Penn is Mightier. 6-3-2016

It was a bit last minute but we finally made our plans to herp the Poconos this year and it fell on the weekend of June 3rd. We left Boston at about 6 AM and made decent time getting there. Hotel check-in wasn't until 3 PM and we had a few hours to kill. Dodging the raindrops, we stopped at a few roadside pull-offs in a State Forest that we happened to be going through. There was plenty of flipping to do and, along with some porno DVDs, we flipped an in-the-blue Garter.

At another pull-off, we struck out on abandoned smut but saw an Eft.

We were driving and saw a sign for a place that we recognized. We had gone there last year on our PA adventure. We took the road in. It was rainy and the grass was very wet... and getting wetter. Our feet were drenched immediately upon leaving the car. No worries. Andrea immediately flipped a nice, Garter and I a teeny Ringneck.

This place is a stone-flippers paradise but we had noticed that some other herper had flipped the stones and not replaced them. I can't understand how anyone would do this but then I'm not an asshole. Our hopes for Green Snakes and Red-bellies were dwindling. We finally scored the former under a small stone that the jerkwad had missed... a stub-tailed beauty.
First of the year.

We could hear Green Frogs and Bulls calling in the distance. This small Green was the only frog we encountered.

Mr. Groundhog was fearless.

We got to a spot that ol' Notgonnaputtherocksback missed and started flipping Ringnecks like there was no tomorrow.
There were 6 that we saw that didn't slide away. Of course, we had to move them before returning the stones into position. Andrea was putting them on a ledge and they were crawling under her backpack. This is what it looked like when we lifted the pack up...
This, to us, is heaven.

Still, for this place, it wasn't that much to see. Those flipped-and-not-replaced rocks probably made some of the resident snakes move along.

We saw some spots along the entrance road that looked worth stopping for and we did just that on the way back to the hotel. A couple more Ringers...

And a Green.

Another little inlet yielded a very active Eft...
as well a couple of Ringers and another Garter.

When we got back to the car, we saw that it was being guarded by this tough guy.

After this, we checked into the hotel, changed our shoes and headed back out. We went out to another spot that our friends had shown us last year. We scoured the grounds, looking for Hognose Snakes and came up empty... except for one Ringneck.

Andrea snapped a pretty rad Tree Swallow picture, too.

We stopped at another nearby spot before getting dinner. We were at the point where we said "whoever finds the first Red-belly gets dinner bought for them." Andrea flipped a sleepy Ringer first.

Then I heard a fist-pumping "Yessss!" I knew dinner was on me.
Even the snake was smirking at me.
OK, finally our first Redbell of the year. These are in Massachusetts but are almost impossible to find.

I countered with my own, if a bit too late.

We then started flipping zany amounts of Ringnecks. Here are three that we got our cameras on, for better or worse. (That blurry third one was scampering around in the divot left by the rock... unphotographable but humorous.)
PA Ringers
What are we at, like 16 Ringers? Wow!

We went and got some dinner. I was starving and I ate a lot. Hey, what's that behind the restaurant? A pile of asphalt and stones? Let's flip!
Some more Ringnecks got away unphotographed, so we were hanging at 19. I wanted to get all nutty and try to flip for #20 but Andrea said we had to move on. *sigh* OK.

She wanted to check out a preserve near our hotel. None of our friends were familiar with it so it would be all new terrain. Just inside, before the trail started in earnest, we flipped two Ringnecks... #20 and 21.
To say that this day gave us stinky hands is quite the understatement.

It was dark and damp in the woods. This gave us hope for salamanders. Sure enough, some day-glo Efts were on the prowl.

We flipped a couple of our old friends, Redbacks.

Another Eft...

We saw some deer on the way out and decided this was a pretty cool place. The sun was setting and we decided we had just about enough energy left to road cruise a few spots. We headed over to the first place of the day and cruised the road at dusk. It wasn't great but there were a few animals up. It was getting a bit cool so we were surprised to see a reddish Garter starting across the road.

Efts were up and about too. We had to be very careful where we drove.

We went to another spot. It had many squashed Toads. That made us sad. Efts were up here, as well.

A Wood Frog sat in the road, waiting for us to move him off.

We finally started seeing American Toads before other cars had smooshed them.

We spent the rest of the drive removing Efts and Toads from harms way, already too tired to take pictures. This was our last documented "rescue".

That was a long day but a rewarding day. Hours and hours of herping (and driving) resulting in 9 species and loads of snakes. (21 Ringnecks? I think that's a record for us!) 30 snakes in total. And the big day was yet to come. Be still my heart. I hope I survive the weekend.

1 comment:

  1. Elredback, es un hermoso animalito que no conocía.!Qué bueno que muestren muchas criaturas de la familia "Animal",(como nosotros BAH)...en algunos casos ..!Mejores!!!un beso a todos,Martha