Making Tracks

Treebeard and I weren't the only ones out making tracks in the snow today...

Which way to go?? One indecisive squirrel or two squirrels, back to back, ready to pace off for a duel ;)

We followed this kitty for quite some distance. I think it may be the momma cat that has taken up in our wood pile. Haven't decided yet what to do about her and her two kittens.

A couple of turkeys went for a wander through the woods. We followed them for quite some distance, too.

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My other photos of prints and tracks didn't come out too well. Taking pictures in snow is a bit challenging for me.

Thirty Years Ago...

Thirty years ago today, despite the ten inches of snow that covered the ground, Treebeard and I got married. That is the one time in my life that I didn't mind traveling on snow-covered roads ;)

Today we will celebrate our anniversary, once more in the snow. Today we will not be traveling though, unless we go out for a walk. We will stay home and cook up some shrimp, oysters, scallops and flounder and drink a toast to the past very happy thirty years.


Snowy Saturday

Ah, winter...
First it's cold, then it's warm, then it snows! Last weekend we were chasing down frogs, snakes and even turtles. Today the high temperature was 30 degrees F and we got six inches of snow. Six inches is a pretty heavy snow for these parts. There were lots of closures and cancellations, and folks pretty much stayed off the roads. You hardy Adirondack-types would call this weather balmy and be amused by our inability to function -- but that's okay, 'cause like I said, last week we were chasing frogs ;)

A view from the porch as the snow was falling...
Our house looking cold and gray...
Our road at around 3:00 this afternoon.  We've had maybe five vehicles pass by today...
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The pond is right at the end of our road.  Treebeard and I bundled up and headed out to see if anything was moving on the water...
Something had been swimming through the slush...
Turned out to be a nutria.  It didn't look happy...
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Last week there were turtles basking in the sun out there...
No reptiles today!
There were a few ducks, but they declined to be photographed...
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Me, all layered up for our walk.  Waterproof outer layer and fleecy inside - perfect...
The stream that runs through the swamp just below our property.  This is a good spot to find cottonmouths when it's warm out...
Another view of our road.  And no, it won't be plowed.
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We walked about 3.5 miles through some very fluffy snow. Powder certainly gives one a workout! Good thing we got plenty of exercise -- Treebeard is cooking up baked brie and French bread as I type and I have a feeling he bought a good bottle of wine to go with it.



Check out the lovely poison ivy vine and all its little baby vines. I can't believe Treebeard agreed to put his hand in the photo to provide a size comparison -- ivy makes him break out into a very nasty rash ;)

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Such a Conehead

Yet another image from Sunday's walk...

I nearly stepped on this katydid. Luckily the bright green against the tan of the beech and oak leaves caught my eye. She was moving very slowly and made no attempt to fly.

If you look through the wing you can see her long ovipositor.

Katydids have some serious mouthparts and they can give you quite a pinch if you're not careful. This one was too cold to do any biting.

Neoconocephalus retusus - Round-tipped Conehead
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Turtle Time


I have shown you the salamanders, frogs, and snakes of last weekend's walk but I have neglected to share the turtles. So here you go, some turtles on a log...
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More From Sunday's Walk

Sunday yielded the first green treefrog of 2010. He was under a log down by the water's edge. We took a quick peek and left him alone...isn't he the cutest thing?

There were several green frogs sitting in the sun. This one jumped in the water as we passed. Treebeard saw which direction it went and plucked it out of the stream. It didn't seem to mind sitting in his warm hand for a moment.
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As the week wears on I will be sharing a few more pictures from Sunday's walk.




The day has been nice and warm -- lots of critters on the move. We saw three snakes on our walk this afternoon -- all of them were cottonmouths. This one was quick to let us know it did not want to be disturbed ;)
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Sunday Morning Snooze


Such a hard life these three have...
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Saturday Afternoon Finds

Saturday afternoon found us wandering in the woods, peering into hollow trees, rolling fallen logs and prowling along the edges of pools, both permanent and temporary. My colleague from work, Scranton, was along. It is seldom that he and I have a day off together and Treebeard and I were pleased that he came by to visit and go exploring.

Scranton checking out the interior of a very nice beech tree. We usually find a squirrel or two in this tree - no one was home yesterday though.

Treebeard spotted this box turtle shell just off the trail. Strange, we were on this trail last Sunday and neither of us saw this bright bit of white then...

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I found evidence that some critter -- most likely a raccoon -- had been dining well on crayfish. There were a number of claws and carapaces scattered about on the forest floor.

We rolled a number of logs and found a variety of little beings camped out beneath them. The eight-legged critter pictured above is a species of harvestman, Vonones ornata. We also found a variety of beetles, beetle larvae, dormant grasshoppers, slugs and snails.

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But, without a doubt, our favorite finds of the day were the salamanders we found. The 'mander pictured above is a marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum. It was just one of the twenty-one of this species that we found. We also found several Atlantic coast slimy salamanders, Plethodon cholrobryonis, and an Eastern red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus.

We made sure that each log we rolled was returned to its original position before we left. If you're gonna pull the roof off of something's house, it's only right to put it back the way you found it.


Slipped Past

Man, it's sad when you miss your own blog anniversary. My week was so busy it just slipped right past me. Oh well...happy 5th to me, a few days late.


Catchin' Some Rays

Look who was out catchin' some rays on a fine January day...

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A very nice northern rough green snake. Treebeard spotted it as it lounged in the afternoon sun. Such pretty snakes!


Turkey Vulture

The vultures have been working on this carcass since the end of December. There isn't much left now.



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Remains of the Day

While we were poking about yesterday I came across two separate piles of remains in the leaf litter. Both were adjacent to the water's edge and both appeared to be from the same type of animal. Both were also relatively fresh. Hmm...our guess is frog eggs. The parts looked right and smelled right (yes, we smelled 'em -- it's what we do)and were in likely areas. No wonder the frogs were so hard to sneak up on - they were wary of becoming dinner.




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Our only question was why weren't the eggs eaten? There was no evidence of any other organs or body parts, just the ovaries and ducts. Best guess is the eggs are from southern leopard frogs and to our knowledge they are not poisonous - they certainly get eaten after being laid. So why were these left behind? Anybody know?