SC Reptile and Amphibians


August 2002

Week ending 09-01-02

Gene's notes

This July and August have got to be among the slowest warm-weather months I have ever experienced for herp activity. Besides a few toads and frogs on the road at night and around the farm pond, I saw only one herp this week - a DOR adult Black Rat Snake. I hope other areas had more activity. Because of medical problems, I have been confined to commuting to work and local travel on the weekends. The Spring was wet and showed much activity, but the hot, dry weather of these past two months seem to have sent most all local herps into deep cover.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

I have been quite busy this week with the funeral for my Father-In-Law. That was Tuesday (8-27-02).

There has been an interesting twist in the weather. Most of the week was cooler and we had a reasonable amount of rain. A nice break from the intense heat.

Thursday (8-29-02), While collecting feeder frogs/toads on campus. We found two Southern Ringneck Snakes. Both under cover.

Sunday (9-1-02), I walked a couple of miles by the river. Saw lots of basking Turtles, Mallard Ducks, Dragonflies, and, being in a pasture, cows. I flipped and probed a lot of "meadow muffins" but no interesting Dung Beetles were to be found. Under a log, I did find a dead Tiger Beetle (Megacephala virginica) and this is a neat record for Spartanburg County.

Lately I have had little to write about. The heat and other duties have kept me indoors. I haven't mentioned it, but I do see beautiful wildlife on a daily basis. Skinks, Anoles, Fence Lizards, and Toads seem to be constantly active. Birds are everywhere, and I have been particularly happy to see lots of American Goldfinches, as they are one of my favorites. Mammals seldom disappoint. I see Whitetail Deer almost daily and Striped Skunks and Opossums have scurried across the roads in my headlights recently. All very nice animals. If I fail to mention these animals and give them due respect, my apologies. Each is special and deserving of one's interest.

Joey Holmes

Week ending 08-25-02

Gene's notes

Another hot, dry week. On Saturday (08-24-02) the thermometer at my home registered 102 F in the shade!

I road cruised some on Friday night (08-23-02) but did not see any herps except a couple of frogs and toads. At midday on Sunday (08-25-02) we finally received some decent rainfall, about an inch. The rain appeared to be fairly widespread. In the afternoon I drove around some thinking I would see some Box Turtles but saw nary a one. That night I road cruised with high hopes of finding some snakes about. I found one, a DOR juvenile Mole King.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Not much time for nature this week. The temps have been quite high most of the week. There was a big wedding planned for Saturday (8-24-02) for a niece. Then on Friday (8-23-02) we found out that my wife's father had passed away. He had been very ill for several months. He was perhaps one of the smartest, most creative, and talented men I have ever known. He could do anything he set his mind to (he was accomplished in art, music, language, etc) but was best known as an expert on horses. He could certainly train and ride, but was also the author of "Shoeing to Win", a comprehensive work on corrective shoeing.

Joey Holmes

Weeks ending 08-18-02 and 08-11-02

Gene's notes

I am having to post another 2-week period of notes. My computer power supply died, setting me behind schedule. Unhappily I must report that I have seen very little herp activity in these 2 weeks. The drought and heat have been keeping them from much activity.

I saw a couple of DOR Black Rat Snakes and a DOR Black Racer. The scattered afternoon thunderstorms have brought out a few Box Turtles.

The weather has not stopped the mammals. A raccoon is back raiding my cat's food bowl at night. Along the roads, I have seen numerous dead, immature Striped Skunks, Raccoons, and a few Opossums.

American Robins have been assembling a flock in my yard. The Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have been guzzling about a quart of sugar water each day.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Week ending 08-18-02

Another hot week. Little time for outdoors. Not much to report.

Monday (8-12-02), At work, my little Corn Snakes are hatching. So cute when they are babies.

Tuesday (8-13-02), Hot

Wednesday (8-14-02), After work I spent some time knee deep in mud, but did manage to collect a Tiger Beetle (Cicindela trifasciata) in Laurens County.

Thursday (8-15-02), On campus, I had the boys outside and we found a couple of small Midland Watersnakes in the pools along the drying creekbed.

Friday (8-16-02), Hot.

Saturday (8-17-02), An evening drive turned up some frogs and toads but no snakes. Deer, Striped Skunk, and Opossum were also seen.

Sunday (8-18-02), Hot, busy with other obligations.

Just not much else to say.

Week ending 08-11-02

I took the week off, and tried to get outdoors a bit.

Monday (8-5-02), Needing Pepsi, 7-Up, sandwiches, chips, ice, etc..............

Tuesday (8-6-02), Entomology Odyssey /Road Trip. With the canoe on top, kayak in the back, food/drinks/water/gear, my son, and two nephews, I took off at 4:40 AM for the northern counties in South Carolina's Coastal Plain. Our main Goal was to collect Cicindela blanda on the Lumber River and to score Tiger Beetles and Dragonflies in a few counties where I had never done much collecting. Snakes would also be welcome, and around the boat landings, rural churchyards, and other areas we were planning to hunt, we thought we might do okay. Our first stop was on the Greater Pee Dee River as we crossed into Marion County. We easily collected Megacephala carolinas and Cicindela punctulata. Next, breakfast at the Huddle House in Marion (no insects collected there). At the Lumber River (SC 9 & US 76) we collected C. punctulata, C. repanda, C. blanda (a major goal and a first for us), and an Eastern Pondhawk (Dragonfly) in Horry County. Then wading across the shallow river, we were back in Marion County, where we got C. blanda, C. repanda, and C. trifasciata. Time for Dillon County. We hit a couple of boat landings on the Little Pee Dee, scored M. carolina, C. punctulata, C. repanda, C. trifasciata and a Great Blue Skimmer (Dragonfly). Rock on over to Marlboro County. C. punctulata and Eastern Pondhawk (Dragonfly) greeted us and we ate lunch (sandwiches from the cooler) before we even reached the Greater Pee Dee River. We did stop under the SC 34 bridge and collected C. repanda and C. trifasciata. The Greater Pee Dee has a boat landing at SC 34 on the Darlington County side. Visiting it, we got more C. repanda and C. trifasciata. This made us quite happy, but I still needed to collect a Dragonfly and Tiger Beetle in Florence County. It had been too cool/early when we had passed through earlier. We returned to Florence, found a couple of rural churches, and finally got a C. punctulata and Eastern Pondhawk. THAT WAS IT! I have now collected Dragonflies in EVERY county in South Carolina! (Still have 3 to go on the Tiger Beetles). No snakes, but time to head for home! Supper at McDonalds along the way. We arrived home after 444 miles, unloaded, cleaned up, and took the nephews home. Stuff like this makes for a long day! It also makes for lifetime memories for me and for the boys.

Our new county records:
C. punctulata Dillon County
C. repanda Darlington County
C. trifasciata Dillon County, Marlboro County, Darlington County

Wednesday (8-7-02), Sorted and prepped the specimens from our little collecting trip.

Thursday (8-8-02), Stopping by the pond, I saw gorgeous Dragonflies; Whitetail Skimmers, Slaty Skimmers, Eastern Pondhawks, Calico Pennants, Halloween Pennants, and a few other species I fail to remember at this writing. Nice to have a visit with such pretty creatures.

Friday (8-9-02), Stopped by work. The Black Racer eggs I had picked up in Oconee County have all hatched. Later, load the car and off for Winston-Salem, NC for a family reunion. No collecting along the way.

Saturday (8-10-02), Lots of visiting to do, but I did sneak away at one point and found an American Toad and Brown Snake under some debris. Saw some nice Dragonflies also. My son celebrated a birthday! Big 15! I made sure he got some CDs (Jimmy Buffett and John Prine). Never can have too much music!

Sunday (8-11-02), Return to SC. No time to go afield, but my eyes and mind were seldom in the car.

Must spend more time in the wilderness!

Joey Holmes

Week ending 08-04-02

Gene's notes

Another hot, dry week. However, on Wednesday (07-31-02) we received a soaking rain at home. After dark I road cruised a little. The rain had stopped within about a mile of my farm. We were just lucky to get some rain. There were a few frogs and toads about but no snakes. I found a male Box Turtle on the edge of the road. It was unharmed. It must have been huddled inside its shell for hours. The next morning I found a female Box Turtle on the road and moved it to safety.

The only snake I remember seeing this week was a DOR Eastern King.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

And so it is August. Still in the heat of summer, and unless you are a baby Skink/Anole/Fence Lizard, you have not been easy for me to find. Those baby lizards are everywhere! Beetles and Moths are showing up, assorted species, but one needs herptiles also! Snakes especially!

Wednesday (7-31-02), While gathering feeder items on campus, we found a pair of young Brown Snakes. It helps.

Thursday (8-1-02), Our main creek on campus is dry. No water flowing. Just a few small pools in the deeper spots along the creek bed. Fish and Amphibians concentrate in these pools. We collected some as Garter food. Normally this creek is large enough that it is difficult to cross without getting your feet wet. Now it seems dead. Never have I seen a creek this size just stop flowing. After work I went to the local pond for some feeder frogs. Green Treefrogs, Gray Treefrogs, Southern Leopard Frogs, Pickerel Frogs, Green Frogs and Bullfrogs were all present. No snakes were seen.

Friday (8-2-02), Snake eggs picked up in Oconee County earlier this summer have begun to hatch. They are Black Racers. I narrowed the options to Racer and Hognose, based on size and the fact that they did not stick together. Knowing how many Racers I catch, compared to Hognose, I was pretty sure what they were, but it was neat to see them begin to hatch. My students are excited also.

Saturday (8-3-02), The Holmes Family went to Polk County NC for a look at some of the waterfalls. Hot. Fun. Then we ate BBQ. Again, Hot and Fun! I certainly hope that this week I will be able to spend more time outdoors. I miss going to neat places and seeing neat animals. I am ready for cooler days and some rains.

Joey Holmes

September 5, 2002
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