By Ashley Fortney and Marla Anderson

The first day I take off for vacation, I get a call from the Park Ranger...THERE ARE 2 BIG BULLSNAKES ON THE LAWN AT THE INTERPRETIVE CENTRE!! I asked Matt, an interpreter, if he would try to catch them because I wouldn’t be able to get there for an hour, due to the drive....AND HE GOT ONE (although he had a lot of trouble getting someone else present to hold open the snake bag while he lowered in the snake)!

Bullsnake

Once the weather got hot we saw another bullsnake coming out of its hole a few metres from the interpretive centre. Unfortunately it was right beside the door and every time it started coming out, someone would walk by and scare it back in! We must’ve waited an hour lying on the lawn in wait. Finally the snake started to come back out and it was time. Marla and I decided that we needed a really good plan if we were going to catch this snake (since it was still only a few inches from its hole). So I whispered to her very slowly, “I’m going to run...as fast as I can...step on the hole...and grab him.” And as soon as the words were out of my mouth the extremely complicated plan was a complete success! One more snake in the bag!

Later that same day we found another snake crossing the road, it sped away into the ditch, but we got him...3 big snakes down!

At the end of the day we decided to check back at Goodwin house just one more time. We walked around a bit and then Marla yells “there he is!” and I look over and see a big bullsnake right beside Marla...starting to crawl into a hole. So I yell (what is quickly becoming my go-to-phrase), “GRAB HIM!” and Marla replies “oh yeah!” (in the excitement of actually being caught off guard by a snake she forgot that we are trying to catch them). So she grabbed it, and we slowly but gently eased the rest of him out of the hole!

4 BIG SNAKES DOWN!

Our mouse traps have so far been unsuccessful (well actually they are very good at attracting ants!), but tomorrow we will be doing our rounds on our 4 vane traps; 3 mouse trap lines; 6 pit fall traps and picking up 2 pan traps...oh did I mention we are also going out with a school group tomorrow from 10-4..although we are expecting thunder showers LOL!

So far I’ve only had 1 wood tick actually attached to me and luckily no one saw me pulling rose prickles out of my gluteus maximus! And as I write this I am taking breaks to tend to Marla’s sunburn...even though I personally saw her put on SPF 60 at least 4 times today!

We have caught lots of bees, and even a couple swallowtail butterflies. We are still after elusive Verna’s flower moth while the pussy toes are in bloom, and turning over every stone to be the first ones to bag a scorpion.

Notable wildlife mentions are: the porcupine in a small tree at the Great Sand Hills; the Bald Eagle and Turkey Vulture just at the edge of Swift Current; and the loggerhead shrike near Lac Pelletier. We’ve also seen pronghorn antelope, mule and white-tailed deer, a common night hawk, and a mallard nest full of eggs at Sask Landing. We also have an ongoing list of bird sightings that we can share at the end of the summer.

Mallard Nest     Porcupine