Last week, before the weather turned into its current unpleasant approximation of winter, we were enjoying some very mild late Autumn sun. As mentioned previously, I took the opportunity to go for a ride to see if I could chase down some of those elusive goshawks. Tuesday and Friday's expeditions were to some extent successful, but Thursday failed to turn up any of my feathered quarry.
I was however provided with a moment of pure adrenaline as I rounded the final bend before the Queen's Park Bridge and was confronted by a large tiger snake stretched across most of the path.
I was not riding particularly quickly, however I had no chance of stopping without landing right on top of it. Fortunately I was able to squeeze past and as it was headed to the river, the bitey end was facing away from my Lycra-clad leg. Nor was it any too pleased with my presence as it raised its head and the forepart of its body into what I gather is a "pre-strike stance". Great!
|Tiger snake at Queen's Park|
Fortunately it didn't and we both calmed down enough for me to get some reasonable shots. The snake with its head now back on the ground, hung around briefly before disappearing off into the grass towards the river. I hung around too, to inform a pair of pedestrians I'd recently overtaken, that they might want to walk to the far left of the path.
|Tiger snake heading to the River at Queen's Park|
This was only the second time I'd seen a tiger snake, the other occasion being earlier this year at Jerringot Wetlands. That snake was smaller and a much brighter colour - what little I saw of it. It was deep brown with honey-coloured stripes. This variability is I discover, a feature of the breed. The stripes as I remember were quite distinct, more so than those of the above specimen - another peculiarity of the tiger snake. Some show barely any stripes at all and colouring can change from season to season.
|Departing the scene|
It was certainly significantly larger than any other snake I have seen along the river (all of them brown), with the exception of the monster I saw at Breakwater and which was the topic of one of my earliest posts.
So, far from seeing snakes around the river only during summer, I can vouch for their presence anywhere from September through to May - and those are only the ones I have seen!