A Travellerspoint blog

Catching up with the Catskills

Catskill, NY

semi-overcast 81 °F

SUNDAY, JUNE 11: Finally caught up with spring/early summer posts after an incredibly busy season!

Today, on my day off from the Mostly Modern Music Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY I reconnected with my friend Will M again in Schenectady and we drove down into the Catskills in search of more Timber Rattlesnake and Copperhead dens, along with anything else we’d find along the way.

The day started off with a nice immature EASTERN BLUEBIRD right outside my dormitory window:

Our first stop was at a location right next to the highway, actually, where there is a historic Copperhead den. Though Will has never had them there, he deemed it worth a stop, so we were soon out searching. A bit of careful flipping yielded a Northern Slimy Salamander:

Habitat shot on the steep climb up:

And a view from the den site with the highway below:

And in this spring nearby the trail on the way down—

I found a Northern Dusky Salamander along with my lifer Spring Salamanders, in larval form! Here are some horrible in-situ photos; Will has better photos of them in hand that I will upload as soon as he sends them.

After our first stop, we headed deeper into the Catskills where we checked a possible Copperhead den site that Will had never explored before. We scrambled up to the top of a beautiful ridgeline overlooking a valley below:

These caterpillars seemed to be everywhere.

I had a brief heart attack when I flipped a flat stone and found a snake, but to my relief it turned out to be a harmless Eastern Gartersnake (not super keen on flipping venomous snakes, haha!):

And from the top I spotted this flyby COOPER’S HAWK:

And a CHIPPING SPARROW in the treetops:

We had a quick pizza lunch and then continued southward to our final spot of the day, west of Kingston. As soon as we got out of the car, I noticed a dry trill song coming from the forest, and I knew better than to write it off as a Chipping Sparrow in this part of the state, so I spished and sure enough, in came a WORM-EATING WARBLER! Awesome!!! This will be my bird-of-the-day.

And soon enough, we made it to the rattlesnake den site:

We once again dipped on any snakes but were rewarded with pleasing views to cap off a pleasant day of hiking and scrambling. Thanks so much to Will M for once again taking me out, great to herp with you as always!

Good birding,
World Life List: 1151 Species

Posted by skwclar 04:13 Archived in USA

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