A Lady, a Snake, and a Late Bloomer

An American Lady (Venessa Virginiensis) was spotted in the aster patch in Catch the Wind yesterday (11/3). In fact, there were several butterfly species and both bumble and honey bees working the tiny asters.

A bumble bee (upper left) shares space with an American Lady on the asters in Catch the Wind.
In typical garter snake fashion, this one flattened itself in an effort to appear more threatening.

An Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) was seen slowly crossing the path in Explore the Wild near the Red Wolf Exhibit. The cool shade of the path made this snake’s movements rather sluggish. It appeared to be heading for its winter quarters and was seen about 30 minutes later in the mulch below the cedars behind the kiosk of that exhibit, a distance of about about 15 feet.

There were numerous school groups in the area yesterday and many kids and chaperons got good looks at the snake.

Another snake seen yesterday near the Dinosaur Trail was most likely a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi). I didn’t get a look at the snake myself, but from the description given me by a school teacher who happened to see the snake, Brown Snake is a good bet. I often see them at this time of year, as well as in the early spring, as they move to and from their summer and winter quarters.

In an attempt to scare off we humans that were watching it, the garter snake flattened and broadened its head trying to appear more “potent.”

A late bloomer for sure, Mahonia is starting to take off on the Dinosaur Trail. This plant, along with Fatsia, also on the Dinosaur Trail, blooms in late fall and early winter in our area. If you miss the summer and its numerous insects, if you’re feeling as though you need an insect fix, take a walk up to the Dino Trail in the next few weeks, you’ll probably see bees, flies, and certainly ants crawling and hovering over the flowers of these late bloomers.

One of two late season flowering plants on the Dino Trail, Mahonia is just starting to bloom.

And, a parting shot…

The garter snake in the mulch, waiting for me to depart so that it can carry on with its travels.

Have a good one,

4 responses to A Lady, a Snake, and a Late Bloomer

    • Greg Dodge says:

      About 3 feet. I don’t like to get too close for several reasons, the snake would have either struck at the camera or took off in the opposite direction causing me to miss the shot, and there’s no sense in stressing the snake any more than it already is when confronted with a big hairy naturalist. I doubt that the snake would have reacted very quickly though since the temps were fairly cool and the snake rather sluggish.

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