Ferguson Forest. We came across a small group of garter snakes, some basking in the warmth of the sun. They were near a hole under a tree, and clearly it was their intended hibernaculum. One went inside and stayed while we were there, two others circled the tree endlessly but remained outside, and two more were lying still near the entrance. It was fascinating to watch. This one was a smallish garter snake, one of the two that was circling constantly. Garter snakes are harmless. The tongue flicking is not a sign of anything other than trying to figure out what is going on... they 'smell' with their tongue.