Sunday. Walking back towards the car after wandering through he fields north of the Kalamazoo River, I look down at a small ribbon the ground, barely clear of the front of my boot. The intricate pattern on the speckled band is intriguing, and I wonder who left a snippet of a patterned shoe lace here.
And then the band suddenly moves – it’s a tiny Hognose snake, barely six inches long and lucky that my foot didn’t fall smack on it.
The little serpent proved to be an interesting photographic subject. Most of the hognose snakes I’ve seen have been brown with darker spots and a light yellow underside - like this one - but this individual is a gray tan with black spots. The snake was patient with me as I snapped a few portraits from different angles, and then I finally left it alone. It slowly made its way along the sandy soil, and was last seen sliding into a patch of thick ferns.
If it can avoid becoming a meal to some larger predator, it should have an ample supply of crickets and grasshoppers these next few weeks. Let’s hope it grows to be a formidable serpent - and I’ll hope to meet it again someday.
Sunday turned out to be a good day for herpetological subjects. After leaving the little Hognose Snake I made my way through several fields and finally down to the old farmstead. The mowed field was full of dragonflies, but they all dove low and clung to the stubble that prickled up from the sandy soil – not many opportunities for nice perching shots.
I made my way down to the pond. The water has receded a bit, though there is still open water at least 20 yards in from where the edge of the marsh used to be. Several frogs jumped into the pond as I bumbled down to the water’s edge, but looking down I noticed this green frog already in the water:
I have to admit that I paused for moment before laying down in the muck to get its photo. If you look closely you can spot a few mosquitoes on the frog’s head – though they are pretty much lost in this web-sized image.
After that I hiked back up to the north end of the cleared field. I tried to stay by the edge of the field, where there are still some patches of long grass, but ultimately I got no dragonfly shots. I guess the dragons are telling me to move on.
Anyhow, I did find another small tree frog or toad way up at the north end of the field. I’m seeing these guys all over the place this year. After a bit of digging, They must be pretty young because they are typically described as being at least 2 inches long.
One thing about these guys – their camouflage is outstanding. Take your eyes off them for an instant and they are lost and gone.
Finally – one shot with a quarter in it for size reference. The little toad was quite accommodating.