Week ending 05-11-03
I took this week off, to have a good time and enjoy spring. I had some goals, and planned a few miles on the road.
Monday (5-5-03), Off work and guess what? Stormy and rainy!
Tuesday (5-6-03), Off work and guess what? Stormy and rainy! I braved the elements anyway and went to the pond after dark to see what was moving. I found Bullfrogs, Green Treefrogs, Gray Treefrogs, Southern Leopard Frogs, Eastern Narrowmouth Toads, Fowlers Toads, Cricket Frogs, and I also found snakes... watersnakes. I found 4 Redbelly Watersnakes and 1 Midland Watersnake. I also saw a bird, out actively feeding in the darkness, that was the size and shape of a Night Heron, but was lacking any major markings, just plain gray/tan. Likely a young Night Heron.
Wednesday (5-7-03), Off work, still having storms/rain. I decided to get out anyway. Try my luck in Lancaster County, SC. Eastern Box Turtles were everywhere on the roads along the way. Some alive, many dead. This is common during warm, rainy weather. Anyway, I went to some boat landings on the Catawba River. Plenty of Dragonflies zooming by but I did not collect any. I did collect a Tiger Beetle, Cicindela repanda, and found what I was really after... snakes. First, I found two Brown Watersnakes basking on limbs over the water. The larger of the two quickly dove into the water and was gone. The second snake was less alert. I slowly approached and positioned a (bug) net under it, then bumped the limb slightly. The snake dove towards the water and right into the net. Unfortunately, there was a small hole in the net and he found it and was gone in an instant! Bummer! So I moved on. I prowled rural churchyards and dirt roads. At an old house-site down a dirt road I scored! Under tin I found an Eastern Worm Snake and a Copperhead. Mission accomplished! I had finally caught snakes in Lancaster County. On the way home I enjoyed seeing a Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and found road-killed Corn Snakes and Black Ratsnakes in Chester County.
Thursday (5-8-03), The weather seems to be improving a bit, so I decided to try over around Anderson/Abbeville Counties. Again, the road was littered with dead Box Turtles and some live ones. I also found a live Snapping Turtle on the road but there was no place to safely stop so I could move it. Heavy rains in recent days had caused high water on the Saluda River where I had planned to hunt watersnakes so I stayed in upland areas. In Anderson County I picked up a fresh DOR Mole Kingsnake but found little else. In Abbeville County I found DOR Black Racers, Redbelly Watersnakes, and Rough Green Snakes, and an AOR adult Black Ratsnake. I moved him off the road but hey , that counts! Scored my snake in Abbeville!
Friday (5-9-03), I went into the SC mountains with my friend Greg to look for Timber Rattlesnakes, Eastern Milksnakes, and rare Tiger Beetles (Cicindela patruela , C. purpurea, and C. splendida). We found the Rattlesnake, already killed on the road. The other animals we wanted were nowhere to be seen. We found plenty of common Tiger Beetles, C. sexguttata C, unipunctata, and C. tranquebarica, and several snakes. In Oconee County we found two Southern Ringneck Snakes, a Brown Snake, a Redbelly Snake, an Eastern Worm Snake, and a Black Racer. In northern Greenville County we found a most unusual Mole Kingsnake. It is a small adult male, and seems to be lacking yellow pigment. It is splotchy in color, and along the lower sides and belly where it should be a golden color, it has a fleshy pink color. Very odd. I should also mention that while Greg and I were near the SC/GA state line, we crossed over into Rabun County, GA and collected a Tiger Beetle, C. unipunctata, which was nice, because I had never collected any Tiger Beetles in Georgia.
Saturday (5-10-03), Tired from three days of rambling, I stayed home, mowed the lawn (abused my allergies), and helped my wife. I did notice an Osprey fly over as we visited a local lake.
Sunday (5-11-03), Happy Mothers Day! I checked my tin in the late afternoon and found an Eastern Kingsnake (same one from 4-28-03), Black Racer and Black Ratsnake.
Of course this week I have seen the usual lizards and birds. I did not mention these, but they seem so common to me.
I hope each of you is able to get out and enjoy the natural world.