Monday, May 11, 2009

Black snake and other summer residents

I don’t see many snakes here at Roundtop. I have often gone a year or more without seeing any at all. At least 95% of the ones I do see are black snakes, like this handsome one that I found yesterday. I’ve never seen a poisonous snake here, though I know they’re around. This one was about 4 ft. long, a decent length, though it was slimmer than some I’ve seen.

Probably the weather this spring hasn’t been easy on reptiles. It’s dry, it’s wet. It’s hot, it’s cold. The changes are annoying enough for us warm-blooded creatures. I can’t imagine how the cold-bloods are doing with it.

Yesterday was pleasant but cool, and I first found this snake at the corner of the dirt lane and my driveway. I pulled the car into the driveway, grabbed the camera, returned to the spot and in that short time the snake had moved. I thought my photo opportunity was past, but I slowly checked around and found the snake again, this time on the opposite side of the lane, just off the road. I grabbed a few shots and then let it alone.

This clearing weather has brought a lot of new arrivals to my woods. The Canada geese have launched five new babies. The Eastern kingbirds have arrived on the slopes.

On Sunday morning a pair of scarlet tanagers were curiously eyeing the dogs as we were all out on the back deck. Tanagers usually nest at Roundtop but often they are further down the slope of the mountain. That I saw a pair of them right overhead makes me hope they will nest close enough to keep an eye on them while they do it. I’ve certainly heard the male singing all around the cabin this weekend. Having them next close enough to see them regularly would be exciting.

At this point, I think the only spring arrival I’m missing are the peewees, the latest of the summer residents. And they will be here soon. The rain held everything up for at least a week, but once that storm system cleared, that also cleared the way for the summer residents to show up and step out.

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