Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Trip Home

The weekend of July 14th, I took a trip home for my Tuscarora Nation's 162nd National Field Day... better known as the Indian Picnic. Being that I spend pretty much all my time at school now, even staying to work and do research over breaks (such as now), this is one of my treasured times to get home and see family and friends. I of course also had a hidden motive: getting out to see some rare herps. I took my little sister herping with me (she was begging to go look for snakes all weekend) and we went scouting for Queen Snakes (Regina septemvittata), one of the two most endangered snakes in NY at an old locality near Buffalo.

My first find was a nice young Milk Snake in my Grandma's backyard:

Unfortunately my sister missed this beauty. We headed on down to the creek, where Missy spent time netting minnows and looking for crayfish, which the Queen Snake is a specialized predator of. We checked various spots along the creek, and it looked like pretty decent habitat, but we found no Queens. In fact we found very few herps.

We did find a nice Odonate and a nice Lep:

Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)

A butterfly, a Hairstreak species? I don't have a butterfly guide.

Missy did net a Dusky Salamander:

Our coolest herp find of the day was a nice big N. Watersnake that launched off the bank and swam across the creek:

Back on the Rez, I was surprised to find a Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling at close range across from my Grandma's. Cuckoos were a long-time nemesis species for me, and I enjoy every look I can manage. Here's some photos:

And a video of it calling:

This year at the Picnic, I missed the Smoke Dance competition, as I was off watching the new Harry Potter movie. However, I would not want to post without some videos of this awesome event, so here are a few (poor!) videos from the Picnic two years ago:


Young Men's


Young Women's


Also at the picnic, after closing ceremonies, is an unofficial game of Fireball. Fireball consists of two teams, Young Men and Old Men. It's not an age category, but defined by whether you have kids or not. The game consists of getting a ball through opposite team's goal. There are no real rules, you can kick, carry, and throw the ball. The only catch is: the ball and the goal posts are on fire. You play until the ball burns out.

Friday's Fireball game was excellent, lasting a good ten minutes at least. For Saturday's, I came prepared with my camera, all set to tape. Unfortunately it was raining all day, and the wet field and a pile-up contributed to a smothered ball not 10 seconds into the game! So no video this year. However, here is another poor video from two years ago and some photos to give you an idea what this is like:

Enjoying Fireball in the rain

1 comment:

  1. you shouldn'y film the fire ball its medince game to our people