But a young garter snake?
That was surprising. It is even more surprising that I didn't walk smack into this little fellow, given that it was hanging practically at eye level right over the path to my deck. Luckily for both of us I did notice it when I walked back, and it even stayed long enough for me to get the camera.
Speaking of scales in trees... I finally noticed that my tulip tree was collecting an inordinate amount of bees and wasps and butterflies, given that it hasn't been in bloom for weeks. Turns out several branches were copiously dripping sap. Huh???
The culprit: tulip tree scale. Oh. Of course. (This little patch of the bug--yes, scale is actually an insect--is nothing compared to the badly infected branches. And you could actually see the things peeing!)