Thursday, July 21, 2016

Frog Day Afternoon. 7-17-2016

After the previous day's long adventure, I woke up exhausted on Sunday. I slept in later than I should have and it made getting out early an impossibility. Still, we went out, hoping I could stay ambulatory for a few hours. We went to a pondy place in Middlesex County to see some more turtles. Why this place? I dunno. Why not? We managed to get there a little after 9 AM but it was already pretty steamy. I jokingly said "10 herp species or we have failed." Sadly, that count would have to include the rare Blanding's Turtle, which we have seen here but they're a real needle in a haystack.

My avian nemesis, the Marsh Wren, is common here; their laughing call taunts me from the first step to the last. Well, I nailed one of the little bastards first thing, bird #95 on the year.
Marsh Wren #95
Yeah, I lucked out with this guy being in a tree... usually, they're hidden in the reeds.

The water was very low and because of the heat, we weren't expecting too many snakes. We managed to see a Water Snake hunting, though... at least part of one.
All things considered, I like this shot. Kind of a lake monster vibe.

This spot is our best place for Northern Leopard Frogs, our beloved emerald beauties.

The reeds along the sides of the marsh area had grown very tall and seeing turtles basking was impossible until we got to the river. One the other side, sunning on a log, was a beautiful Painted Turtle.

Next up, we saw a couple of small Green Frogs.

I went off-trail to "look for Wood Frogs" and saw our only Garter of the day, deep within the cool woods.
Don't look now... that's 5 species!

Froggy Grassland, a place I only just named while writing it, had plenty of frogs waiting for us. A couple of pretty Leopards...

Andrea spied a nice Pickerel, perhaps the toughest ones to "spot" here.

We got up to a pathway that runs in between two ponds. In the distance, turtles were up basking. These perches had a turtle each, then another... then another.
Looks like the far left is a Slider, the other three are Painters.

This small Painted was closer to us.

Walking along the trail, I said, "You know what would be great? A big, fat Nerodia basking along the edge." It had happened before, why not this day?

That is a big tube of Water Snake. I pulled her out for some better shots but she was in a shed and probably gravid so I didn't fart around with her too much and we didn't really get any good shots.
She was very even tempered and she certainly qualified as a "big fat Nerodia". Of course, I started saying "Know what would be great? A stack of Blanding's", but that never panned out.

But a big stack of Painters were visible on a private pond that we could see through the trees. That's 33 pictas right there! Our new single branch record.

We heard many real lake monsters in the ponds.
River Carp are a bit of a problem here but they are really interesting animals. They're huge and this guy was swimming in very shallow water, looking like the Loch Ness Carp. They splash and jump and make slurping noises. They probably do a number on many animals that belong in the marshes and ponds, though. A hatchling Blanding's would be less than a mouthful.

Painters were up in good numbers. In fact, after that shot of 33, I decided to get all artsy and focus on the flower in the foreground, leaving the basking turtles undefined in the back.
Not entirely successful but at least I tried something different.

Lo and behold, another Pickerel.

This seat is taken...

We went way down the last trail and stopped at a muddy spot. I could see a wee Snapper foraging in the mud but it was not an easy photo to get...
I wish I had captured his yawn a bit better...

Our last herp was this little Leopard.

So, what did we end up with? 8 species... not too shabby considering I was out on my feet for much of the day. When we got home, I fell asleep on the couch (that is too small for me) for three hours. I'm still playing catch-up and my back is still out from the couch. But I wouldn't change a thing. I never regret having a chance to go out and witness the glory of nature.

Oh, here are our Beth Littleford shots of the day.
Beth Littleford shots


  1. Estoy dibujando hadas y ustedes parecen esos seres reposando entre las flores ,jaja ...están muy lindos.Martha

    1. hacer una hada con gafas y un sombrero y lo llaman Mike! jeje