This was a very nice week. Dogwoods bloomed, other trees are budding,, the world is "greening" up! I was off work for most of the week and took advantage by spending a good bit of time outdoors.
Monday (4-1-02), My son, my nephew, and I went up into the edge of the SC mountains to see what we could find in the way of herptiles and insects. We used SC 11 and went in the Greenville/Pickens areas. Herps were few, but we did see Anoles, Skinks, Fence Lizards, and some turtles (basking in ponds). We also collected Tiger Beetles (Cicindela sexguttata and C. tranquebarica in Greenville, and in Pickens we found C. tranquebarica and C. repanda). We saw, but lost, what looked like C. sexguttata in Pickens. Oh well, reason enough to return on another sunny spring day!
Tuesday (4-2-02), Work.
Wednesday (4-3-02), Very Warm and sunny, my son and I walked the River Pasture. We saw tons of turtles, a few lizards, a few frogs, one very quick watersnake, and a Northern Red Salamander. We saw the expected birds and even got a good look at an Osprey! We found a few Dragonflies, and many Tiger Beetles (C. repanda and C. sexguttata). Very nice day.
Thursday (4-4-02), Turned towards Cherokee County to try for a C. sexguttata there (would be a new county record) and struck out! I did find C. repandas quite common. Collected a nice Baskettail Dragonfly, lost a fast Black Racer, and saw a huge male Wild Turkey strut among a flock of hens in an open pasture. I then stopped into the corner of Chester County but there I found only C. tranquebarica. Slow day, a little cool and breezy, but I'll be back.
Friday (4-5-02), Sinus problems. Got on a new allergy med.
Saturday (4-6-02), Holmes Family canoeing with my wife and I in the canoe and my son in his kayak. We did 5.5 miles of the Enoree River (exactly 2 hours) and had a great time. We saw the expected Herons, Kingfishers, Wood Ducks, and even an Osprey. Very pleasant outing. No herps, but we had fun anyway.
Sunday (4-7-02), Up and on the road early. Solo. I arrived in the National Forest outside Charleston by 9 AM. I checked some tin I know and found a fair sized Cottonmouth. I never have found a Cottonmouth under tin before but this fellow sure was. Poked around a bit more but things were slow. Around lunch I found a large group of mammals in the road: my brother Jeff Holmes and some of his friends. We all enjoyed the swamp for several hours. We found lots of neat things to talk about, including a baby Banded Watersnake. But, they soon left me alone in the wilderness once again. I made my way to Williamsburg County, to look for C. sexguttata (for another new county record) but only found Banded Watersnakes (6 of them, all small). On to Georgetown County where I caught one Dragonfly (Whitetail Skimmer). Back to Berkeley County, where a Black Racer lived up to his name and escaped my best efforts to catch him. Supper and bedtime, alone in the wilderness!
Monday (4-8-02), Up and guzzling coffee in camp! Nothing like it! I ran into Jeff and some of his friends, but we decided to split up. My main objectives were to go into Charleston County to catch a Snake, Dragonfly, and Tiger Beetle. I got my Dragonfly first, an Eastern Pondhawk. Next came the Tiger Beetle, C. sexguttatta, and then my Snake, an adult Eastern Kingsnake, under some tin at an old house-site. Good stuff! Objectives met! Back in Williamsburg County, I managed to get the C. sexguttata I had wanted to catch for a new county record. Great! 4 Objectives met. Good trip and time to head home! I got in about 6:30 PM and unloaded the truck, washed off all the swamp/dust. It was a good trip. I fed a lot of mosquitoes and collected some other neat insects (all the snakes were released). Other than the mentioned species, I saw the expected turtles/lizards/frogs/deer/raccoons/birds but nothing odd comes to mind.
Been a full week, I had a great time, and I hope you all have the chance to enjoy nature and spring to the fullest.