Friday, November 1, 2013

Late season herping

On Oct 30, my friends Nick and Jenna texted me to see if I'd be interested in a run over to Callaway County to look for some salamanders in the balmy (~62F), wet evening. Was I ever! Luckily, it was my night to wash bottles rather than put my son to bed, so I was able to meet them.

We started out by watching a Gray Treefrog hop across the trail near the parking lot, then a bit later we encountered an American Toad (at least one other toad was singing) on the trail.

There were a lot of logs to flip, but they were scattered and generally devoid of anything interesting. Most of them had earthworms and cockroaches, a few had a couple moths, and almost none of them hid herps.

After awhile, I separated from Nick and Jenna, but I was pulled back when they announced they had a Smooth Earth Snake! I had never seen a Smooth Earth Snake before! I took a lot of photos of its head to make sure I could cement the ID for myself back home with some books (it checked out!).

Western Smooth Earth Snake
Virginia valeriae elegans
Western Smooth Earth Snake
Virginia valeriae elegans
A little later, Nick turned up a second Smooth Earth Snake! It was a bit larger than the first one (photographed above), but I didn't feel like taking my camera out in the rain again.

By this point, I had just about reached my turnaround time, so I headed back to the car. When I reached the main trail I thought, "Just a few more logs won't make me late." Well, they made me late. Under the third log I checked was a Spotted Salamander! This was only the second time I'd seen this species...the first was at the same location in the snow back in early March.

Spotted Salamander
Ambystoma maculatum
Herp Species Encountered:
  1. Pickerel Frog (Nick and Jenna only)
  2. Gray Tree Frog
  3. American Toad
  4. Northern Cricket Frog (Jenna only)
  5. Redbelly Snake (Nick and Jenna only)
  6. Northern Water Snake
  7. Western Smooth Earth Snake ***Lifer***
  8. Spotted Salamander
Northern Water Snake
Nerodia sipedon sipedon

No comments:

Post a Comment