Garter Snake

All posts tagged Garter Snake

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator

The Bloodroot at Ashland burst into bloom on March 13, and already was dropping petals just five days later on March 18. Image by Derek Stoner.

The fourth and fifth weeks of the Signs of Spring Challenge featured a flurry of new observations, most likely due the incredible stretch of warm weather that is literally pushing the petals forth on flowers.

On March 12, mulitple observers reported the return of the Eastern Phoebe, with a vocal male calling all day near the covered bridge.  Then on March 13, a class working in the marsh discovered the first Garter Snake of the season wiggling through the grass.  Also that day, the first Bloodroot of the season was noted in bloom, right at the front door to the nature center.  This particular  flower bloomed exactly a week earlier than it did in 2011.

This week, on March 19, we had two observers share with us new sightings on March 19:  an Anglewing butterfly flying along the floodplain trail and a Spring Beauty in bloom near the covered bridge. 

At the exact half-way point of the 10-week Signs of Spring Challenge, 13 of the 20 Signs of Spring are already accounted for and recorded.   Although lots of Signs seem early, this is exactly where we were in 2011: 13 Signs recorded by March 23.  

Now we wait for the Final Seven Signs:  Water Snake, Snapping Turtle, Barn Swallow, House Wren, Robin building nest, and Trout Lily and Violet blooming. 

What Signs of Spring are you seeing in your yard?

By Derek Stoner, Conservation Project Coordinator


A juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk grasps a Garter Snake by the head as it launches into flight. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.


Being in the right place at the right time is often the “secret” behind an interesting photograph.  Last Monday a classic right time-right place moment happened to me at Ashland Nature Center.

A Red-shouldered Hawk (a juvenile that is being seen hanging out near the nature center and lodge) flew across the lodge driveway as I drove by, clutching a snake in its beak.

As I grabbed the camera, the hawk flew back towards me.  I snapped a photo out the window right as the hawk launched off the branch.  The foot-long Garter Snake  was devoured in two gulps when the hawk landed again.   Just another snake snack for this hungry hawk that other observers have seen capturing the same prey item in the same location.  Catching this behavior on camera is the hard part!

The juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk perches after devouring the Garter Snake. Image by Derek Stoner, May 16, 2011.