SC Reptile and Amphibians


February 2003

Gene's notes

With February, the Upland Chorus Frogs began singing with enthusiasm. I heard Southern Leopard frogs calling for the first time this year on the 12th. On Sunday night, February 17th, we received sleet and freezing rain. Temperatures hovered about 28 deg F. The next morning, with temperatures still below freezing, the Chorus Frogs were singing. Hardy lovers!

On the 20th, I heard a few Spring Peepers whistling. Saturday evening, the 22nd, warm moist air from the Gulf blew in and temperatures reached the high 60s. That evening, the Spring Peepers out sang the Chorus and Leopard Frogs.

Monday, the 24th, was a beautiful day. Just after dark, I walked about the pond and bottoms. Chorus Frogs, Leopard Frogs, and Spring Peepers were singing vigorously. I heard a few trills from American Toads. A Great Horned Owl voiced its solitary, long hoooooo and a Screech Owl called a soft, tremulous hoo, hoo, hoo. From the bottomlands along the big creek, coon hounds moaned and howled. The horizon glowed orange from the distant city lights and the sky blended from a deep purple to a black overhead. As I wrote my notes for this night, I heard a gentle rapping noise from the porch. I looked out to see 2 plump racoons eating the cat's food. It was a splendid evening!

February ended cool and wet. The farm pond is completely filled and vernal pools abound. Upland Chorus, Spring Peeper, Southern Leopard frogs and American Toads are singing vigorously.

March began with strong winds and warmth. Sunday (03-02-03) was sunny and warm (high 60s F). I had the day free and spent much of it walking about the farm and woods. My primary goal was to find a Golden Mouse (a beautiful, arboreal native rodent) . I have searched several times prior with no success. This day I found one nest in a small sapling tree. The nest was unoccupied at the time.

In the late afternoon, I spotted a Sharp-shinned Hawk stalking birds coming to my bird seed feeder.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Week ending 03-02-03

I have little or nothing to report this week about wildlife activity. I can tell you that this week has been fairly warm, and, fairly rainy. The rains have been heavy at times, but mostly they have been the kind that soak into the ground. The kind that really helps revitalize the environment! Spring and summer this year will be better because of the rains we had this week!

Week ending 02-23-03

Not a lot going on here. We have some nice days and shorts/t-shirts are comfortable, but we are getting some cool weather also.

I have been outdoors a bit, but have only seen a few smaller herps: Ground Skinks, Green Anoles, Cricket Frog, and Fence Lizards. Upland Chorus Frogs have called a lot during the week, and after dark on Friday (2-21-03) I heard Spring Peepers calling at the local pond. Unfortunately I didnít have time to walk and shine for these tiny vocalists.

I did manage to make it to the pond on Saturday (2-22-03) night after a warm day of storms! Southern Leopard Frogs were fairly quiet, but were out in good numbers. Spring Peepers called and were easy to find. I found one male American Toad near the water but heard none calling. It was nice to spend some time in the dark, by the pond.

Sunday (2-23-03) I went to the river pasture and rolled a few logs for Salamanders. I found none, even under my favorite log the "good log". Seemed odd, but it would be a good time for them to be in the water breeding.

With March and Spring only a few days off, I can hardly wait!

Week ending 02-16-03

Not much to say this week. Have seen a few Green Anoles and Ground Skinks but not much else. Toward the end of the week, things began to change, and February showed us her true fickle nature.

Saturday (2-15-03), It was nice and warm, but a bit overcast locally. I, however, was not local. I went to Ridgeland, SC (Jasper County). There I visited the nature resort called Palm Key. It is a lovely site on the northeast edge of the county that features very nice residential real estate, rental cabins, workshops that focus on low country arts/lifestyle, and boasts a devotion to nature. They also do nature programs for local school kids. I enjoyed visiting with Lynn, the Naturalist, and hope to return to help with various Herpetology and Entomology projects. I loved the added warmth of the Jasper County sunshine, and even saw an Alligator! Not hard to do in mid-winter, you just have to look in the right place on the right day. I just happened to be lucky.

Sunday (2-16-03), A tremendous difference! The high was 34 degrees. The day began with hard rains. Later the temp hit 32 and the rain began to freeze. By sunset the freezing rain was mixed with sleet and snow. Laying low with a serious cold, I did not venture past the front door. I just saw no need to get out into that mess.

Warm or cold? I am waiting for the warm days to dominate!

Week ending 02-09-03

Had some nice weather this week.

Monday (2-3-03), It was nice and warm. Temps were in the high 60s. Shorts and T-shirt! It was the first day of 2003 that I heard Upland Chorus Frogs calling. Music to my ears! With the weather so nice, I could not help but take my class out into the woods for a walk. We found Green Anoles and Fence Lizards, but better yet, our first snake of 2003; a Red-Bellied Snake! Super! An early start to what I hope is a great year.

Tuesday (2-4-03), Chorus Frogs still calling. Went to the Riverbanks Zoo to meet some friends. Enjoyed one of the best zoos in the USA.

Wednesday (2-5-03), Chorus Frogs still calling.

Thursday (2-6-03), The weather changed as the day went by. By the time late afternoon rolled around it was 41 degrees and looking like cold rain. Even though it was cooler, there were still the voices of Chorus Frogs

Friday (2-7-03) Got a box in the mail. A surprise from a friend, a cleaned Cobra skeleton. Not articulated, I have the choice to leave it as is, do the skull/hood for display, or do the entire skeleton (much tedious work).

Saturday (2-8-03). Cooler, but sunny.

Saturday (2-9-03), I took some time and visited the River Pasture. I checked my favorite log (the "Good Log") and found NO Spotted Salamanders. I went by another section of the pasture and did find two Spots, a small Bullfrog,, and a Spring Peeper. Not bad.

Here and there during the week, I also noticed some neat birds:

  • Hooded Merganser
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Red-Tailed Hawk
  • Red-Shouldered Hawk
  • Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
  • Meadowlark
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Slate-Colored Junco

Others were seen, of course but it seems silly to list the likes of Robins, Blue Jays, Crows, Etc.

Joey Holmes

March 4, 2003
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