Thursday, July 7, 2016

Passing the Torch. 7-3-2016

We get a lot of requests to take people herping and we're more than happy to do it. We do, however, take our craft very seriously and realize that people who might want to join us might not be ready to totally immerse themselves into nature. Andrea's niece wanted to join us in an adventure with her 8 year old daughter, Karmyn. I had a couple of places in mind that are quick to produce animals. Then we decided to move it closer. Then it became a swimming day and herps were out. *sigh*

We chose a place near(ish)-by in Middlesex County that Andrea and I had visited many moons ago. We were hoping for a few incidental animals on the way to the swimming area. It didn't take Andrea long to see a small Garter Snake zipping through the grass.
This was Karmyn's first wild snake.

The shady path had quite a few similar sized Garters darting into the brush and into mossy holes as we walked along. Karmyn got her snake-eyes on and saw a few. We finally got our mitts on another and she held her first snake.
She also learned the joys of Garter Snake musk.

We saw a few more along this walk to the pond. Karmyn even caught one of her own for a moment, though we didn't get a picture of it.

The beach area was crowded with humans but it was still pleasant and Karmyn certainly enjoyed taking a dip into the water. While she did that, Andrea and I took a short walk around the far side of the pond. This large Bullfrog was enjoying a dip as well.

Nearby, this shedding Painted Turtle was getting some rays.

This Painter had gone arboreal in its pursuit of sunshine.

Andrea finally spied our quarry... a Northern Water Snake.
Should she try to catch it for a better shot?

We enjoyed our time with Kara and Karmyn... we never get to see them enough. We also enjoyed our ice cream!! (Thanks Kara!!)

It was still mid-afternoon when we found ourselves alone again. We decided to take a quick hike at one of the places that we had planned on for earlier, but had decided against. Deep into Norfolk County we went. It was pretty hot... mid-80s... and we figured most snakes would have already eaten and be sleeping it off. A prized tarp-covered woodpile that is always good for a shedding snake or two didn't disappoint. I missed a shoestring but got this larger fella. I tried to quiet him for a pose...
Peek-a-boo! But it actually had worked.

This guy was snoozing out of sight to most hikers.

Down by a rapidly shrinking vernal, Andrea saw this cinnamon-spotted youngster.

Saints be praised! A wide load of American Toad.

Down by the waterfall, it is usually a pretty good Water Snake spot. It was that Sunday as well.

The only turtle seen at this usually-turtley place was a lone Painted, basking like a champ.

One more good sized Garter, sleeping right off the path.

It was getting a bit late and we wanted to check another part of the park, so we headed back at our usual half-way mark. A large flat rock (fairly close to the parking area) sat on the edge of an incline, on about a 70° angle. I don't know why I pulled it back but there was a Ringnecked surprise under it.
While photographing it, the snake pulled itself into a small hole (under his neck in the picture) and tucked away. Very cute.

Our last spot was a board that has been very productive in the past. Sure enough, two Ringers were coiled up under it.
Picking them up to replace the board, the smaller one showed off its fancy belly.

Checking the tarp on the way to the car... a last small Garter.

The last animal was this large beetle who was digging in the soil with a shovel that came out of its butt.

So, that was our Sunday. We got to see family that we rarely get to see and saw some animals. Win-win, I say.

1 comment:

  1. wide load of american toad? ok that got me laughing

    now.... sure, dangle turtles in front of me