Thursday, August 25, 2016

It Feels So Good to be back Where I Belong 8-19-2016

The woods is where I belong... they had me locked down much too long.

After 11 straight days of work, including having to work through the previous weekend at the Boston Comic Con, I was more than ready to get back out into nature. Both Andrea and I took Friday the 19th off and headed to Plymouth County before rush hour hit. We wound up at our destination at about 8:15 AM. This state forest is big. Our usual M.O. is to drive to a spot, hike it and look around, then go to the next spot. We mixed things up a bit and went to the furthest out place, and we would work our way back.

It was going to get pretty hot and muggy but it was still decent at our first spot. The drought, however, has been taking its toll on every body of water that we could see. This spot has no water in it so we didn't expect to see much... things would surely be moving closer to water in order to drink. A dried up muddy carpet still held two Fowler's Toads, though... maybe because they hold their liquids so well.
We didn't handle them to assure they'd keep said liquids inside.

Our next stop was the cranberry bogs. It can be hit or miss. We noticed right away that the bogs had plenty of water, due to being filled for the berries. Bullfrogs were plentiful.

It was 10 AM when we got to a sandy spot that has a rock strewn mound that we've started to call Ringneck Hill. No Ringer, but we were overjoyed to see a small, thin Ribbon Snake.
He had some sand stuck in his lips.
He hung with us for a bit before heading back to the cool of his rock.

The bogs are usually filled with small Painted Turtles, but I hadn't seen any. I got a bit worried as this was the same spot where we had seen a ton of dead Green Frog tadpoles on our last trip. Andrea saw one, however, and got a quick shot off before it descended to the depths.
I finally saw a couple but they were warmed up and very quick.

We heard a Green Frog calling, just like our last time here, telling us the species survived. This might even be the same guy. At any rate, he looks pretty silly half-inflated like this.

Another small Green Frog from the same bog... OK, there is more than one! *whew*

Our last anuran from this spot...
Wooly Bully!

Our next spot is a long trail that starts alongside a pond. Of course, the pond was very low. There were plenty of toads present, both tiny and not-so-tiny. The trail, on a whole, was pretty tiring. Our only photo for two miles of work was of this handsome, stout Fowler's.

Many of the pools and ponds were dried up and the ones that retained water were low. A favorite turtle spot had but one Painter up basking.
Make that two... surprise turtle score!

After that, we decided to pull into a spot we hadn't looked at in a long time. It is a pond and with plenty of "beach" now, we decided to walk the edge and flip some stones. One stone yielded this bright Green Frog.

There were, once again, plenty of toads about, including this wee Fowler's.

We'd noticed a trail head next to where we parked and went uphill from the pond to see if it ran parallel to the water. It did. This could be the trail that we've been trying to find. A few years ago, we came here when we were both very sick and took a trail that had plenty of flat flippin' rocks along the side and low bush blueberry bushes. Whe we got to the end (on the sick day), a couple on horses told us of a Green Snake they had seen.

We do think that this might be that trail. We reached it and saw some (defunct) low-bush blueberry bushes. The rocky area would be to the left, but we took a right back towards the car. We were quite tired by now and it had gotten pretty darn hot. One last plump Fowler's from the path...

On the way out, we stopped at one last area, where a carpet sits in a field and is usually covering a bunch of toads. Would it be on this scorching day? Yes... and we got the stink-eye to prove it.
Just three fatty Fowler's but it was a good note to end the trip on.

So, we didn't do gangbusters but we saw a few animals and, more importantly, we were together doing what we love... instead of being at work. I call that heaven.

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