I went to Penwood State park on Saturday to scan the skies for hawks from the top of a ridge. As I was walking along one of the trails in the park I turned and found myself staring into the face of of what I believe is a Black Rat Snake .
They are known to be able to climb trees but it was impressive tp see this big snake stretched out on a branch. I didn't have a tape measure with me (or I would have crawled out on the branch to measure it) but I'd estimate it was about 6 feet long. They are constrictors that eat mainly rodents, small birds, amphibians, and insects.
Then I looked at the other side of the tree and found 3 more rat snakes sunning themselves!It was an interesting morning. Besides the spectacle of seeing the tree of snakes, I found myself trapped in the middle of a 50k trail race. There was what seemed to be about 100 people running through the woods along the trails. I had to keep hopping off the trail to avoid interfering with the race.
The Hermit Thrushes must have been making a major move because I counted at least 6 of them along one section of trail.
I also saw 4 Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers and heard a Winter Wren singing in the woods.
Despite all the distractions, I finally made it to the top of the ridge. I had a nice view of some Broad-winged Hawks passing through.There were a few Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Sharp-shinned Hawks mixed in. I also saw 3 Black Vultures and a Peregrine Falcon. Nothing could top seeing 4 snakes in a tree though. That's something I don't see every day!