Saturday, September 30, 2017

September Ends... 9-29-2017

We both wound up with Friday the 29th off so we decided to take advantage of the sunny day and head out to a very good spot deep into Worcester County. Thanks to Google Maps, Andrea had discovered a large sandpit area in this wooded/ pond paradise. Being that she loves turtles more than everything else, including me, we thought it might be worth seeking out said sandpit to see if there was any action.

The temps had dropped into the low 50s (maybe even the high 40s out here) during the night so getting there at 11 AM when the temps "soared" to the lows 60s didn't seem like  a bad idea. The place was very grown-up since our last visit (which was April! Duh!) and out of the sun, it was chilly. Our first sighting was a small Peeper who wouldn't sit still for a photo and eventually disappeared. Since we'd just bug-sprayed and used hand sanitizer, we weren't going to try to catch him just for a photo. It took some time but we finally flipped a straight and narrow Redback for our first animal.

Unlike the Peeper, this Question Mark Butterfly not only stayed put for a photo but opened its wings for a better shot.
Question Mark Butterfly

Our search for the sandy part took us roughly a mile past our usual turning point, where we take trails between some ponds and wetlands. We both saw a Garter Snake on either side of the path at one point and we both failed to catch it or get a photo. It wasn't our day. Persistence paid off and we finally found the sandy, possible nesting area. But...
Oh well, at least we found it. But not being lawbreakers, we didn't go through it. (Though we took a peek... yup, it looks wonderful.) She's a Lawbreaker, Thingmaker, Fart-taker don't you mess around with her.
We walked our mile back to the regular route not discouraged, but happy to have actually found the area.

Finally, back to the ponds, we spied some distant Painted Turtle stacks.

I could see another, further stack so we moved around the pond for a better angle. Still too far for a clear photo, this chorus line of Painters has at least ten dancers. Noggins are sticking up everywhere.

This little nearby fella had his own log on which to luxuriously stretch out those hamhocks.

This guy just showed me his butt.
It was good to actually get photos of animals, though.

We got to a path that goes between wetlands that we have started to call Garter Alley. There are usually tons of Garters along here and almost immediately, a small one was leisurely crawling along the path. He slipped in the some brush and I made a weak attempt to corral him. But you know what? I'm 6'2" and weigh over 200 lbs. My days of jumping for a 12" snake are over. I'd getting so old and clumsy that I fear hurting it. So it got away without a photo. Not my day. This snoozing Water Snake was more my speed.
Maybe my Indian name should be changed from Old Man Chasing Garters to Old Man Looking at Sleeping Nerodia.

Andrea spied some Bullfrogs. I love this wide shot she got of this one's noggin.
Here is my close-up.

This Bully was doing his Shakespeare. "To be, or not to be..."

Some of our better water spots had dried too much for Chelonian habitation so when we got to the river, we were happy to see plenty of basking Painters out there.
Check out the smile on that guy second from the left.
This one looks like he's having a glorious bask. Regal.

We finally ended this long hike, Andrea's fitbit went off and everything, and I couldn't believe we didn't get a Garter shot. All of a sudden, Andrea saw this in front of her on the path back to the car...
It only gave her a second to get that shot but she did it and redeemed us. Hey, I thought I was One-Shot Howlett.

We poked around the train tracks on the way out and I saw one last sandy Redback.

We didn't really feel like eating or going home (it was rapidly approaching rush-hour on a Friday- yikes) so we went to another spot on the way home. It was cool by now and very quiet there. We walked in a mile or two and saw nothing so we turned back. It was too cool for reptiles but we kept hoping for frogs. On the last stretch of trail back to the car, Andrea noticed this massive Nerodia with a massive meal in its belly. How the hell did I miss that walking in? Not my day.
My guess is that it ate a small River Carp, which are invasive, so thank you!

I went in for a better shot but she saw me and slithered away. But she slithered right over another Water Snake that we hadn't noticed. I leaned down and reached in to gather it for photos. I soon realized that I was absolutely covered with not only beggar ticks but also copious amounts of Nerodia musk.
So, yeah, I was picking those damn pods off for the rest of the day and everything had to go into the wash as soon as we got home but... it was worth it. Look at that beauty!

So, that is how we ended September. Not such a booming day but we were together and not at work! Even a slim day in the field is better than a good day at work. Sadly, today, Saturday, it is cold and rainy and while we'd love to go look for salamanders, we're both fighting off potential colds, so we're staying in. The sun will be back tomorrow but we have family plans. The year is winding down and I am not ready. I never am.

No comments:

Post a Comment