Stalker vindicated

I’ve been bringing my camera along to work, and along on my lunchtime walks, in the hope of seeing that northern water snake and getting a picture. Today, on the opposite side of the pond from where I’ve seen them before, there was a snake right in the path. I stopped short a few yards from it, got out the camera, and started taking pictures. Here’s the best one:

As I was watching it, a woman whom I’ve seen walking many days came along from the opposite direction, plugged in to her iPod. I held out my hand like a crossing guard for her to stop — I didn’t want to shout and alarm the snake — but she didn’t notice until she was even with the snake. I pointed down to it, and she gasped at finding herself about three feet from it. I told her all about having looked up “New England snakes” on the net after the first time I saw one of these, reassured her that it wasn’t venomous and that poison ivy was a bigger danger in New England than snakes, and showed her some poison ivy that was a few steps further down the path. Meanwhile, a jogger came up from behind me and ran on past the snake, completely oblivious to it.

Here’s a blowup of the head of the snake, just so you can see the pattern on it and the scales. The pattern actually shows up better in the photo than it did in the field.

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