We started down Mahan Lane and said hi to the volunteers working to prepare the six acre fern garden for more planting. Things were quiet at the Frog Pond, so we headed down towards the waterfalls and Little Huckleberry Creek. One of my favorite places is Hidden Spring, and as we climbed up to its outlet, I saw a slight movement on the ground. It's a beautiful common garter snake, about a foot long.
The March Open House Saturday is going to be about snakes. One of the naturalists from Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort will come on March 19th with some of his snakes, but I thought it would be great to have a local representative. Mary Beth had a plastic bag in her pocket, so we caught this one, and put him in a tank back at the office. According to the internet, they eat earthworms, frogs, and mice, among other things. In turn, they provide an important food source for many birds and mammals. The red-shouldered hawk, in particular, relies on the collection of snakes to help feed their young during the nesting season. This little guy felt very strong as he wrapped around my fingers. And his tongue is red! When the event is over, we'll take him back where we found him for release.
With all the rain we've had in Kentucky lately, the creeks on the Preserve were full, but not cloudy at all. The Fallen Rock waterfall usually just trickles behind the stones, but this time the water actually falls over the front of the rock. Other springs burst from the limestone hillsides, merrily rolling toward the largers creeks, and ultimately, the nearby Ohio River.
Bailey, my granddog, had a great time. She's spent most of her life as an apartment dog, and isn't too interested in taking walks when she stays at our house. But all the smells intrigued her, and she stayed as far out on the leash as it goes the whole time we walked the trail. Finally, she couldn't stand it any more, and had to wade in the creek. "After all," she said, "I am a Retriever!"