Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunday Special 6-18-2017

We figured we'd have family plans on Sunday. It was Father's Day, our first without Andrea's dad, and we were a bit sad. When no solid plans materialized, we decided to hit a local place (our Winter den spot) while we waited for the phone to ring. It was hot and humid, 85° with 76,876% humidity.

Not having been here since warmth returned to Massachusetts, we weren't prepared for the impressive water level. Last year's drought was devastating and this year's rainfall has been a boon. The first vernal pond upon entering was huge and deep, a lovely thing to see so late into June. Two Painted Turtles decided this spot was nice.
We'd never seen a Painter in this body of water before. Hell, last year it was a field, not a body of water at all.

Sly's pool was just as full.
Here's hoping for an Autumn  bustling with metamorphs!

Andrea's keen eyes saw this fine American Toad.

Much to our surprise, tiny toad season is in action here, too. This guy leapt just as I snapped the shot, making me look like a great photographer.
Nice gams.

Since we got there pretty late, the heat of the day was upon us and we weren't sure if we'd see any snakes at all. If we did, surely they'd be laying in the dappled sunlight, digesting a meal. Along the brook, a Painted lady was thinking about coming up to nest...
Then a dog came along and ran to jump into the water, treading on her. He hit her a few times. Then two more dogs came and did pretty much the same thing. When they left, I checked her out.
Of course, she was fine, though I think she changed her mind about coming up. I looked her over and her plastron did look a bit distended (and she had some muffin-plastron). Probably full of eggs. Hopefully, she got the chance after the commotion of dogs and humans had dies down.

We saw a Water Snake cruising along a little branch off the brook, but it was going at a pretty good clip and was too far away. She pulled into a clump and I lost sight of her, but I snapped a picture anyway, hoping for the best. Much to my astonishment, there is a tiny bit of keeled tail in the center on the left edge of this shot.
That counts, right?

We got to the river and I could see some Painted Turtles basking on branches. As I stepped through the mud, I startled a large Water Snake (and vice versa) who darted under a log in the water. I noodled for her but that only pushed her further away. But she brought her head up and I got this shot...

Here are the turtles I was after.
Can we get a close-up on that one? Just what is he so damn happy about?!
racist painter

This guy kept to himself.

As we walked along the river, the large Water Snake was keeping pace with us, going about her important snake business.
Business snake.

Heading back, we saw our first Garter, a skinny guy who hadn't yet found his lunch.

This young Turdus cracks me up... check out those spindly legs.

The other side of the brook had some more Painters up.
At one point, as I leaned in to peek between some reeds, a Water Snake slithered away. I'd never even seen it.

Just looking at the green and wet was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. We decided to go up a new-to-us path just to see where it went. We were rewarded with a small, full Garter. He never moved as we walked past.

That was it. Just a relaxing day walking around familiar territory. As it turns out, no further plans were made at all and as it turns out, we could have made a more elaborate jaunt. But I'm fine with our quiet hike.

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