Wednesday, August 31, 2016

¿Dónde están los bebés? 8-28-2016

One last chance for the weekend to see if we could come up with some hatchling turtles or wee baby snakes. SPOILER ALERT! We didn't. But just the fact that we dragged our bones out of the house (a bit late as we were playing with the kitten we were watching) yet again means that we were at least trying. We went to a spot we'd recently hit because it has a large turtle nesting field... created just for that purpose. We got there a bit after 10 AM.

We might not have scored newborns but frogs kept us happy. Remember back in April when we still hadn't seen a non-hibernating Pickerel Frog? Well once again, we started the trip with a sighting of the August Frog of the Month®, the always beautiful Pickerel.

Next up, the August runner-up (who made a strong surge in the late days of the month), a Green Frog.

Painted Turtles were up, as always, enjoying the sun. The top photo has some upload surprises in the background.

Getting to our favorite spot, we started seeing a lot of frog and turtle action. Another Green and a large Bullfrog that I didn't see even when I stepped right next to it. He just sat there, unconcerned.

This Painter did a splash-down when we first walked by, but did a nice hoist for us when we were past.

Green Frog noggins were ubiquitous.

The next pond was dreadfully dry. Waterless in many spots. It kind of gave us an idea of the underwater landscape that we're usually unable to see. Mental notes were made. Where there was still pools of water, Painted Turtles were above, sunning on branches and mud piles, usually looking quite fabulous.

The exposed pond bottom attracted a few migrating avians. Two Great Egrets were hunting the shallows. Here is one at work.
We don't see them much up here.

A half dozen little shorebirds were picking around the mud and I got a few shots. My pal Bob Fergusen ID'd this for me... Least Sandpiper, #98 on the year and lifer #156.
#98 Least Sandpiper Lifer #156

It was then that we saw the cryptozoological wonder... Swamp Thing! He was much smaller than I thought he'd be.

Unimpressed Bullfrog was unimpressed.

What time is it? It's August time.

For the next couple of hours, we made a fruitless search through the nesting field and continued into the reserve via a trail that has had hatchlings popping out of the ground on it in the past. Nada. We decided to make a watery area about a mile and half away our destination spot. Of course, foremost in my mind was the bench that sits near the water. Feet had become a little tough to lift. It wasn't hot hot but it was sticky and gnats were being assholes again. We saw no animals along the hike and I flopped onto the bench when we reached it.

When my energy returned (or rather, my butt started to hurt), I got up to look at the water. While I was sitting, this Bullfrog (even larger than the last one) had been resting on the shore. Great minds think alike.

A startled many Green Frogs into the drink, many of them blasting me with a squeak before splash-down. This one didn't care about me one way or another.

Casually walking along the edge, I finally saw our first snake of the day, but it was no baby. This lovely Water Snake was enjoying the warm water of the shallows, and probably enjoying a few froggy snacks.  You're welcome, Greens.
We had never seen a Nerodia in this spot so this rusty 2½  footer was a real treat.
Our hike back was uneventful. I played with a mushroom and Andrea made me wash my hands. No babies.

When we got back to the super-low pond, one of the Great Egrets was in a tree.

Andrea spied another Swamp Thing... with a hidden surprise.
and the secret Bullfrog!

Double your fabulous pleasure!

This clump was prime real estate. I was watching the bottom two Painters climbing up and knocking the other one off for a while. Very amusing.

While walking back, Andrea heard a swoosh... it wasn't me mincing along this time, either. She saw a thin Garter in the brush. No chance for a photo. I went around the back of the bush where it was facing and got in front of it. The snake noticed me and gave me all of its attention. This allowed Andrea to lean in and make a grab for photos.
A gorgeous specimen who didn't really appreciate our teamwork.

So, that was that. No babies and nothing really fancy but for us, every animal is a treasure. We got home and despite our weariness, we didn't nap. We just basked in the glow of having seen some beautiful critters.

1 comment:

  1. all the blissful turtles...... that first turtle picture had huge huge ones in the background
    omg they are huge!