Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Frosty November Weekend. Nov. 19th and 20th

This time of year, when we're not on turtle patrol, we have a rough time figuring out what to do with ourselves. Saturday the 19th was supposed to be sunny and in the mid 50s, but we didn't really want to bother the Garters and Waters again. (Maybe next month.) Salamanders? Yeah... why not? But then our pal Ryan asked if we wanted to join him at the Copper dens to see if any knuckleheaded vipers would be out. Sensing more of a challenge, we decided to join him.

When we got there, the "sunny" portion of the forecast hadn't happened. It was about 53° and with the breeze, it felt cooler. We had only a short time to poke around. The trails were shady and flipping logs yielded no salamanders, though it was plenty damp. It was nice to see a pond present where there had been an open field the last time we were here. We headed up to the Copper spot and started carefully looking around. If only the sun would come out and stay out... the rocky hills were cool and it was very unlikely that anyone would be out this day.

Until one was. Ryan stumbled across this adult...
One look at that tail should tell you why it was out, trying desperately to get as much vitamin D into its system before hunkering down for the winter.
The last few inches of that tail will be falling off before too long. It looks like the damage starts aboiut 1/2" below the vent, so that's good. The wound is healing nicely along the top. A proud and beautiful animal.
That was the only snake we saw on this cold, late November day. Luckily for him, the sun did come out for a while later on. Hopefully, he absorbed some healthy UVB rays before tucking in for the night.

On the way out, we poked around some swampy spots. Ryan found a Redback that disappeared before I could slog my way over for a picture. Damn! Double-soaker in my new shoes for nuthin'!

We headed over to another spot for a quick look around, hopefully for Racers. But it was cold and windy and our chances were very low. Ryan asked if I'd give him a dollar if he found another Redback. I said yes.
I paid up.

That was our Saturday. We didn't expect much, but two species (one of them being a Copperhead) on November 19th isn't bad at all.

On Sunday, the weather forecast for Cape Cod made us think about turtles. Winds were going to be heavy and the temps were going to drop. We changed our plans and went south to walk, even though I woke up feeling like a cold was coming on. A miscalculation on my part got us there at low-tide, but I always figure that the ebbing water could easily leave things on the beach. It was frigid. I was miserable.

We pushed on and noticed that a set of footprints were already there. Still, you never know whose they are and what they're doing there, so we kept going. Eventually, a figure loomed in the distance, coming back towards us. As he got closer, we saw he had a sled in tow. One of us!! We were about 2 miles out when we got to him, a familiar face from the turtle group. He had gone all the way out to the point and no turtles had washed up. He made our decision to turn back easy... I was feeling crappy and the wind wwas chilling me... I told Andrea that it felt like someone was holding a cold piece of bologna to my back. It did.

We headed back, feeling the chill, seeing the waves...

It's so frustrating... they're out there. They'll be coming in. I hope eyes are on the beach when they do.

We got back to the sanctuary to see if there were any turtles to be delivered to the aquarium on our way home. None. Hey, at least we got to see the display Painters. They have gotten so big!

We were enjoying the birds and a rest before the two hour drive home when we ran into our friends Tim and Kim. Tim was going to be checking his Box Turtles to see if burrows were occupied and to check on his Electra-turtle... a transmittered specimen. The four of us walked and talked for a while as we went through the woods, checking on Boxies. Some burrows were empty, but nobody was up. Hopefully, they're all tucked in deep for the winter. (Tim has since sent a pic to us of an occupied burrow... all nice and cozy.)

The two of them were on for PM beach patrol. Since we walked on Sunday, many turtles have started to come in. We were just there a bit early. Tim and Kim found some and overall, the total count jumped from 19 to over 90 in just 3 days. Now is the crucial time. Andrea and I both have a few days off for Thanksgiving and we expect to spend much of that time on turtle patrol. I will walk as much as my body is able to. And then some.

I now leave you with a Blue Jay looking at you like you just said something stupid.


  1. do you have a good pair of sub artic long johns mr mike?
    maybe you need to get a pair and some of the north face socks too

  2. Thank you for mentioning us in your blog. We are honored! Tim & Kim