Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 17, 2012

Camping Critters

No, the critters didn’t go camping, but I did see quite a variety on our camping trip to Goshen, MA last weekend.

A morning hike to a fire-tower brought me my first dragonfly shot of the season:

as well as an encounter with a bird that I’d never seen before:


We wondered at first if it was a quail, but the members of our group believed this nearly chicken-sized bird to be too large to be a quail.  Later in the day, the word for this bird just popped into my head, unbidden: grouse!

When I came home, I double checked my thought on the computer and the description of this bird seems to match that of a ruffled grouse.

An afternoon walk to the small lake beach provided a couple more interesting creature encounters.  This creature was of a very familiar type, but I’d never seen one quite doing this before:


I know many dogs, especially retrievers (not MY retriever of course!), enjoy swimming, but I’d never seen one swimming along side a cayak.

A pair of ducks made their way into the swimming area too.  They were unafraid of the people in the area.  I took a few pictures out of habit, but then I was happily surprised to capture this one:


I don’t know if this was the he or the she of the pair, as both ducks looked virtually identical.  I think he/she looks ready to conduct a symphony!

A far less symphonic critter was the next to slither by my lens:


I’m not generally bothered all that much by snakes, not that I’d like to have one for a pet or anything mind you, so getting this photo didn’t require much bravery on my part.  Later, however, my friends at the campsite looked at this picture zoomed in and believe we were in the company of a small copperhead snake – a venomous, but not overly dangerous or agressive snake.

There were also the usual chattering, curious red squirrels and chipmunks that ran around our campsite, but I somehow didn’t manage any photos of those.  One brave chipmunk that chose to come a little closer to us was rewarded with a treat of peanuts – I wish I had gotten a picture of those stuffed up cheeks.

Heat and humidity have taken over this region once again; upper 90’s are forecast and we are under a heat advisory.  Hope you are keeping cool today, whatever you are doing.


  1. Ah, you gotta love a collection of critters for sure.. Not entirely sure I’d like to go swimming with snakes though..

    Comment by FS Photography — July 17, 2012 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

    • No, I definitely wouldn’t swim with snakes – and I didn’t! I stayed on the shore.

      Comment by Karma — July 18, 2012 @ 9:05 am | Reply

  2. What a nice menagerie you brought back from your camping trip. The ruffed grouse looks to be moving quickly but you get the eye nice and sharp. I thought the snake was a copperhead and wondered why you were not a little bit nervous. I would have been!

    Suffering right a long with you today. It hit 99 with thick humidity today. Stay cool!

    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — July 17, 2012 @ 4:06 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Scott. Gee, I wonder if there is a post where I could use a picture of a quickly moving grouse? 😉

      Comment by Karma — July 18, 2012 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  3. Great shots, Karen! Dug doesn’t swim either. He will wade up to his chest, but doesn’t like to go deeper. 😉

    Comment by tedgriffith — July 17, 2012 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Ted. I don’t think Daphne would even go in that deep, but she does like to lay down in a shallow creek.

      Comment by Karma — July 18, 2012 @ 9:07 am | Reply

  4. I take Wendy and Trey (my dogs) kayaking with me. Sometimes they sit on the front — which is tough coz they’re biggish dogs.

    That photo of the duck with wings outstretched is so clear. I can see every feather.

    You’re way calmer than I would be about a poisonous snake !

    90 degrees ?!!! How awful. Hope it cools off at night …

    Comment by sybil — July 17, 2012 @ 7:49 pm | Reply

    • Do Wendy and Trey swim for part of the trip or do they stay inside the whole time?
      Thanks, I liked seeing all those wing feathers too!
      Probably helped that I didn’t know the snake was poisonous at the time!

      Comment by Karma — July 18, 2012 @ 9:08 am | Reply

  5. Love the critter photos, althought I am not so fond of the snake. Then to learn it was a Copperhead cemented my lack of fondness. I think my dogs would think they should ride in the kayak. As to the 90s – we did that last week, today we put sweaters on to sit on the deck in the evening. For me, that is the perfect temperature.

    Comment by Carol — July 18, 2012 @ 1:10 am | Reply

    • Thanks, Carol. I wasn’t terribly fond of the snake either, but I’m never one to shy away from a photo op! 😉

      Comment by Karma — July 18, 2012 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  6. Love the duck picture. As for snakes … my lack of fondness (and abundance of fear) would prevent me from being anywhere near one to take a picture (nor do I really want one) .. especially a potentially aggressive and poisonous one…. you are a brave soul.

    Comment by bearyweather — July 18, 2012 @ 2:12 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Bearyweather. I don’t know that I’d call me brave – perhaps ignorant, in this case, would be a better explanation! 😉

      Comment by Karma — July 19, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Reply

  7. Hi there! We have lots of grouse up here in these woods, except we call them “partridge”. Wonder if they’re the same thing. Too lazy to Google. They are very hard to photograph as they move around overmuch. I am much in love with your dragonfly photo.

    Comment by Kathy — July 18, 2012 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

    • Well, you know I’d have to try to figure it out, right? According to the bird identification site that I use, grouse and partridge are in the same family of birds, but are not necessarily the same birds – does that make sense the way that I am saying it?
      Thanks Kathy.

      Comment by Karma — July 19, 2012 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  8. Karen, I love all the photos but the duck is my favorite. I love the outstretched wings and you can see so much detail on him or her. 🙂
    Not lovin’ snake so much..great picture but not the subject matter.

    Comment by Trish Dinsmore — July 18, 2012 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

    • That seems to be the general consensus – everybody could do without the snake!
      Thank you.

      Comment by Karma — July 19, 2012 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  9. Great shots…well…except for that snake…that sort of creeps me out! 🙂

    Comment by Dawn — July 18, 2012 @ 8:41 pm | Reply

    • It was just a little snake – only a little creepy, lol!
      Thanks Dawn.

      Comment by Karma — July 19, 2012 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  10. Wonderful collection of critters, Karma. Even the snake. 🙂

    Comment by Robin — July 20, 2012 @ 7:27 am | Reply

    • Thanks Robin. That little snake really seemed to work everyone up, didn’t it?

      Comment by Karma — July 20, 2012 @ 9:46 am | Reply

      • lol! Snakes have a way of doing that. I kind of like them.

        Comment by Robin — July 20, 2012 @ 10:06 am

  11. […] Then, eventually, I hope to be able to add to my list and to my photo collection – like when I saw that ruffled grouse this past […]

    Pingback by Thinking about Birding « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — July 20, 2012 @ 12:58 pm | Reply

  12. […] Scott Thomas recently commented on my “Camping Critters” post about how my ruffled grouse appeared to be moving quickly, I was inspired about what to shoot […]

    Pingback by Things with Wings « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — July 22, 2012 @ 2:31 pm | Reply

  13. You DID see alot of critters! They certainly make this world more interesting now, don’t they? I wouldn’t want to be without them! 🙂

    Comment by milkayphoto — July 24, 2012 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

    • I really wish I had a stuffed-cheek chipmunk photo to share – I’m sure you would’ve enjoyed that. I’m finding critters to be some of my favorite photo subjects.

      Comment by Karma — July 24, 2012 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

  14. Hello there! Your blog on the D.A.R. State Forest is GREAT you really captured some of the great aspects and wildlife of the park! 🙂 I actually work at the D.A.R. and may have saw you! 🙂 I checked the water snake out because i did not want people or yourself to be alarmed and my supervisor informed me that it was a northern water snake a non poisonous snake! THANKFULLY 🙂 i picked this off of a website……. The Northern water snake can grow up to 135 cm (4.4 ft) long.[2] They can be brown, gray, reddish, or brownish-black. They have dark crossbands on their necks and dark stripes and blotches on the rest of their bodies, often leading to misidentification as cottonmouths or copperheads by novices. They darken as they age. Some will become almost completely black. The belly of this snake also varies in color. It can be white, yellow, or gray. Usually it also has reddish or black crescents.

    Comment by Raeha — August 7, 2012 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for the information Raeha. Nice to know it was a harmless litter water snake at the swimming area.

      Comment by Karma — August 8, 2012 @ 8:24 am | Reply

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