A Travellerspoint blog

Hudson Herping: The Search for Coppers, Timbers, and Racers

Mid-Hudson Valley, NY

overcast 67 °F

This morning, I woke up bright and early to take the Harlem Line nearly to Dover Plains, almost its northerly terminus, that comprised a three-hour journey. There, I met a new herping friend Will McCoy who picked me up and took me to several snake den sights in search of several targets: our #1 target for the day was my lifer Northern Copperhead, with secondary targets of Timber Rattlesnake and Northern Black Racer (which would be a lifer subspecies).

Our first location was gorgeous and included a lot of steep climbing and scrambling up boulders and rocky areas which was fun and brought out the kid in me.

The view at the top was beautiful!

Unfortunately, it proved a bit too chilly for any of the snakes there (Copperheads & Timbers) to be out basking, even on their favorite rocks (Will had been here several times before), so we continued on to our second location of the day, much closer to the Hudson River.

There, we searched for Northern Copperhead again, and again came up empty likely due to the temps — but this female PILEATED WOODPECKER was a nice consolation prize:

Our third stop which was very nearby was nice in that it produced our only snake for this chilly-ish, overcast day, my lifer subspecies Northern Black Racer! Will spotted it basking:

But I managed to snatch it up and was happy to claim this lifer! Of the North American Racer subspecies, this means I have as now seen Northern Black, Southern Black, and Blue — leaving Louisiana, Eastern & Western Yellow-bellied yet to be found!

Despite Racers being a relatively common find, I was pretty ecstatic and glad we didn’t get totally skunked (or skinked, for that matter!) in the herp department today:

The views along and near the Hudson at the end of this hike were beautiful as well:

TURKEY VULTURE soaring over the distant cliffs:

And I also had great views along the Hudson Line on the way back into the city after a great day in nature:

Thanks so much to Will for the wonderful day of herping and birding, and we will be back at it in mid-may to clean up my lifer Copperhead (from a safe distance!) on a warmer day! It was a beautiful day to hike despite the relative lack of snakes.

Happy birding and herping,
World Life List: 1150 Species

Posted by skwclar 21:04 Archived in USA

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