Del and a looong Blue Racer
During the last weekend of woodcock season Del and I went out to bid goodbye for the nice little up side down brain birds until next year, and maybe, just maybe, invite a couple of them for supper. Well, it happened that all representatives of Scolopax minor had already packed and headed south, but eventually we met some of them during a pheasant hunt a week later, but good bye was all you could wish them at the time.
Anyhow, we walked some nice but demanding hilly terrain and Gina pointed several time, but we had no flushes. The soul of a bird hunter rides the nose of a bird dog, and at every point our hearts bit faster, adrenaline flushed, and upon walking the fruitless point disappointment settled in place of the earlier excitement and hope. But such is the life of all bird hunters.
On the way back to the car Gina pointed again, in a very intense way. We followed her beeping colar and as in the earlier points no birds flushed, but there was something else there.
Gina was pointing a curled long snake bluish in color and quite lazzy due to the cool, but not yet cold, temperature. I grew up in Brazil where snakes are not only bad, but really dangerous, but i really contained myself and did not shoot it on first sight, specially because Gina was way too close.
Del recognized the snake as a Blue Racer (Coluber constrictor foxi), a nonvenomous snake that is endemic to North America. As you can see by the photo above Del's snake was about four feet long, and it was unusually docile, maybe because of the rather cool weather. Anyhow, I think it did not enjoy being handled that much as it soon released a very foul smell that encouraged Del to return it to the Michigan fall woods.
When we came back to Del's home and told the story about the snake to his wife Chris, she asked me if about my experience with snakes in Brazil. I told her that the only nonvenomous snakes that I had experience with would happily eat your (see "Monster Still Exist" from January, 2012), so I really did not care to being to friendly to any snakes, blue or other color.
I hope that the endangered Blue Racer found a nice nest to hibernate during the long cold winter that already set over the land and that when it wakes up in the spring it will feast on rodents and leave upland bird chicks, specially woodcock and grouse, alone.