SC Reptile and Amphibians
Week ending 09-30-01
The weather has turned decidely like Fall. In the fields, grasshoppers are flitting about in response to every footfall. Golden Rod and other yellow flowers abound. I have been making some pictures of flowers and bugs during the last several weeks and have assembled a collage which can be used as a computer background. Anyone is free to use it if they wish. It may need to be resized or cropped, depending upon the screen size and pixel density.
During the weekend, I walked around the farm and flipped some coverboards. I found a small (0.5 inch) Eastern Narrowmouth Toad and a Slimy Salamander. In the pond, Painted Turtles and Sliders were basking on the rock and logs. The male Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtle was basking by floating at the surface, too weary to climb onto the rock. At the spring well-casing, one of this year's crop of Fence Lizards was basking on the concrete structure. Each October, Three-lined Salamanders gather in the well to breed. I saw one already had arrived.
Week ending 09-30-01
I've not been out much this week. First part of the week I felt bad (cold/sinus), and later had very limited time. Nature is very active now. Of course we see our Toads, Anoles, Fence Lizards, and Skinks here and there. Another animal that is easy to find right now is the Monarch Butterfly. They seem to be everywhere and seldom can one look around without a Monarch being somewhere in sight. Fall salamander activity is picking up.
Saturday (9-29-01) I did take a class for a walk on campus. We found two, pre-shed, Black Racers under tin. Under a scrap of plywood in the forest we saw a Slimy Salalmander. We also saw but failed to catch a Tiger Beetle (likely C. rufiventris). After work with family at the creek we found more Tiger Beetles (C. repanda) .
I got a note from my brother, Jeff, about a great SC Wildlife Magazine article and TV show featuring SC Rattlesnake research (Nigel's Wild World, Tracking Deadly Vipers, Discovery Channel). Hope all can watch the show, and read that magazine.
Week ending 09-23-01
Another week without herping. In my commutes I saw a few of Box Turtles, some AOR, and an AOR young Copperhead.
The work project which has been keeping me so busy is now complete. But it still looks like very little herping for me during the next two weeks.
Week ending 09-23-01
This week, my spirits are still disoriented due to the violence last week against America. Weather has continued to change towards Autumn, with temps in the 80-85 zone, and bits of rain here and there.
Monday (9-16-01), No outdoors time.
Tuesday (9-18-01), No outdoors time.
Wednesday (9-19-01), I had a couple of hours in the afternoon to spend locally. I checked under debris and found various expected lizards and 2 snakes: an Eastern Kingsnake and a Brown Snake. Both adults. Found an Eastern Box Turtle. Found a good selection of frogs (Green Treefrog, Cricket Frog, Bullfrog, Green Frog, Southern Leopard Frog, and Fowlers Toads) near the wet areas I searched.
Thursday (9-20-01), No outdoors time.
Friday (9-21-01), My son and I spent a little time by a creek near our house. We watched the Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda) run about on the rocks and sand.
Saturday (9-22-01), No outdoors time. My son used money he had saved to buy himself a FENDER Mandolin. He seems to be picking it up quickly.
Sunday (9-23-01), We had a big family thing going on but this time we decided to send our 7 vehicles (loaded with assorted family members and picnic supplies, or should I say " provisions") to the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Pisgah National Forest to be exact. Beautiful fall day! Good Food! Fresh, clear, cold river! Tiger Beetles! Dragonflies! Mammals! But, herptiles were somewhat lacking. I did roll a few rocks by the edge of the water but did not even see a salamander. One of the kids saw a snake but it made fast for the bushes and escaped. The mammals included a deer that we saw from our picnic table, and, in the same picnic area; a WHITE Squirrel! Albino? Never saw the eyes close but the little sucker was as white as snow! We caught a couple of Fawn Darners (dragonflies) and these were my first
So, I missed some time that might have made for good herping. Sorry. Sometimes other things take priority or are a major distraction.
Have a good week,
Week ending 09-16-01
The tragedy of September 11 is beyond words. For my fellow Americans, my heart is torn; my pride is reborn.
DORs for the week include a couple of Copperheads, a Black Racer, and a Rough Green Snake. This week and last, I have noticed many DOR young raccoons.
On Saturday (09-15-01), the temperatures were cool and the sky blue. I spent the day at a company picnic at Oconee State Park. I walked some trails but found only a Three-Lined Salamander. I was hoping to see some young Five-Lined Skinks to photo, but I did not see a single reptile.
On Sunday (09-16-01) I flipped a few coverboards near the house. I found a half-size American Toad.
Week ending 09-16-01
Monday (9-10-01), Don't remember any outdoor/nature activity. I did spend the day with my mother, helping her make muscadine jelly. On campus, our Redbelly Watersnake dropped 16 babies.
Tuesday (9-11-01), At work, we were training a set of MDs, residents, and medical students on the Ropes Course. Team-building/leadership stuff. News started coming in early. Heartbreaking news! I will go to bed this night "emotionally fatigued". Revenge is never a good idea, but I do believe we should do what we must to protect ourselves. I could ramble on about all the emotions and editorialize but this is a journal of my experiences with nature. I will pray for peace.
Wednesday (9-12-01), Took the boys for a walk on campus. We collected some feeder toads and lizards. Saw a very pretty Eastern Box Turtle. Black Ratsnake eggs in the classroom begin hatching on day 46! Big babies and they look great!
Thursday (9-13-01), Cleaned the outdoor Caiman pen. Needed to change the water and get rid of the Duckweed. Major project. It's also getting to be the type of weather that dictates us bringing him inside, at least for the night. He's about 42 inches, so grabbing him is still reasonably easy. Took an evening walk around the pond. Two Midland Watersnake babies, Bullfrogs, Green Frogs, Cricket Frogs, Green Treefrogs, and Southern Leopard Frogs were all found under the coverboards.
Friday (9-14-01), Did a PM road cruise around the edge of a storm system but saw nothing much.
Saturday (9-15-01), Spent some solo time around the river pasture and pond after work. Found the expected baby Midland Watersnakes and caught a 12 Spotted Skimmer.
Sunday (9-16-01), Family time at the lake. Pleasant, but no wildlife to speak of.
In light of Tuesday's events. I feel I must do something to help. I think I will be selling off some surplus classroom animals and turning the money over to the AMERICAN RED CROSS.
Take care and may God bless you,
Week ending 09-09-01
On Monday, Labor Day, (09-03-01) we finally got some good rains at home. We had the family over to eat Chicken Stew which local volunteer fire department persons had spent all night cooking. Sure was good! Stew with white bread and sweet pickles.
During the week on my routine travels to/from work and on errands, I found DOR: a juvenile Eastern Kingsnake, an adult Mole Kingsnake, and the largest Eastern Worm Snake I have ever seen. I should have measured it. No world record, but maybe 11 or 12 inches. Also saw a couple of DOR Box Turtles.
The weekend was devoted to preparing and hosting a birthday drop-in for my mother-in-law. She's 95 and still doing well. We had a great turnout on a hot, muggy day.
Week ending 09-09-01
Been off work this week, but with a lot of personal obligations. However, I did manage to get outdoors some, and had a good time.
Monday (9-3-01), Labor Day! Cool and rainy. Not good for outdoor stuff. Bummer! I did check my tin and found an Eastern Worm Snake.
Tuesday (9-4-01), Bad weather lingers. Clearing off towards sunset. Making plans for Wednesday.
Wednesday (9-5-01), ROAD TRIP! Up early and on the hwy by 4:58 AM. Heading for the lower coast in search of Snakes (all herptiles), Dragonflies, and Tiger Beetles. Made a lot of quick stops at the boat landings I'd checked out on my maps. I found in Jasper County: AOR Eastern Mud Turtle, AOR Eastern Box Turtle, Southern Copperhead (under tin), Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda, marginata, trifasciata), and Dragonflies (Great Blue Skimmer, Seaside Dragonlet, Swamp Darner, Black Saddlebags, Wandering Glider, Whitetail Skimmer). In Hampton County: Six Lined Racerunner, Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda, punctulata), and Dragonflies (Little Blue Dragonlet). In Allendale County: AOR Black Racer, (2) DOR "Greenish" Ratsnakes, Tiger Beetles (Cicindela repanda), and Dragonflies (Whitetail Skimmer). In Bamburg County: DOR Eastern Kingsnake, no Tiger Beetles, Dragonflies (Great Blue Skimmer, Blue-Faced Meadowhawk). In Barnwell County: DOR Cottonmouth, Tiger Beetle (escaped! Looked like punctulata), no Dragonflies collected. In Aiken County: Black Racer (under tin), AOR Timber/Canebrake Rattlesnake, Tiger Beetles (Cicindela punctulata), and Dragonflies (Green Darner). All snakes were released where found. Tiger Beetles and Dragonflies were collected. I got home at 9:25 PM after 517 miles of driving. I wish I could have devoted more time to each stop but the rush was on to hit different counties. Also saw various Anoles, Skinks, Bronze Frogs, here and there as I traveled. Long day. Fun day.
Thursday (9-6-01), Worked up the labels/data cards for the stuff collected on Wednesday's trip.
Friday (9-7-01), Quick dash into Chester County, quickly collected a Tiger Beetle (C. repanda) at a boat ramp, and went bacck about personal business. Stopped briefly at work and found we had gotten a litter of baby Redbelly Watersnakes on Wednesday.
Saturday (9-8-01), Checked the coverboards I had put out at the pond. Cricket Frogs, Bullfrogs, 3 Midland Watersnakes, 1 Redbelly Watersnake. One of the Midlands was a new baby.
Sunday (9-9-01), Collected a couple of gallons of muscadines for Mother to make jelly! Enjoyed being out by the river. Rained in the evening. I road cruised and found a small snake but it escaped. It appeared to be a baby Black Ratsnake. I had seen a DOR baby Black Ratsnake earlier in the day so I know they have started hatching. Found a fresh DOR Copperhead, and tons of frogs/toads.
Back to work this week. Maybe I can take a group of students on a little out-of-town trip?!?!?!?! Hope so!
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