SC Reptile and Amphibians


March 2004

Week Ending 03-28-04

Gene's notes

The weather continues to be dry. Days are warming. Green leaves are appearing on the trees.

Friday (03-26-04) was a gorgeous day. I found my first local snake of the year, an Eastern Garter Snake. It was basking on the black top of a seldom used road.

I also saw a Killdeer standing in the grass just off a busy road. I stopped and photographed it. All the while it never moved except to rotate its head.

In the wetlands around the farm, Upland Chorus Frog tadpoles and Southern Leopard Frog egg masses can be found.

Saturday evening (03-26-04), my wife and I attended a concert by Jeff Holmes in support of the Artists Coop in Laurens. Jeff is Joey's brother. Jeff turned in another thoroughly entertaining performance.

Win reported finding 3 Black Rat Snakes on Sunday (03-28-04). The first specimen was roaming about the Riverbanks Zoo. Another was a DOR. The last was a medium-sized specimen found near a branch in a residential area. It had just finished swallowing a large prey.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

As a part of a family in mourning, I have had more obligations, and little time to get outdoors. Here is what I did notice;

Monday (3-22-04), Visitation at the funeral home. Many great people came to pay their respects.

Tuesday (3-23-04), It was cool and sunny. We had Jack’s funeral.

Wednesday (3-24-04), Back at work, and way behind.

Thursday (3-25-04), At work, I was able to show the boys their first Tiger Beetles (Cicindela sexguttata and C. tranquebarica). Even saw a dragonfly.

Friday (3-26-04), I was off work again. I had been planning to take this day off for some time, and hoped to do some rambling. My brother, Jeff, was in town, and wanted to hit the woods also. We went to Edgefield County and explored some areas of the Sumter National Forest. We saw great Butterflies (Sulfurs, Mourning Cloaks, Tiger Swallowtails, Zebra Swallowtails, Orangetips, and more) and Dragonflies. We saw a few lizards, but found NO snakes. BUMMER. We did stop off in Greenwood County on the return trip and I secured a specimen of Cicindela sexguttata from that county. I had been needing that one. We even stopped off at Win Ott’s place, ROUGH HOUSE HOT DOGS, for lunch. We ate too much but it was excellent, and fun to see Win.

Saturday (3-27-04), Work to be done! Jeff was doing a benefit concert for the Artists Co-op in Laurens. We had to set up stage, chairs, refreshments, shirts, CDs, everything! We had fairly good attendance with a lot of folks from out of town, as well as a lot of local people. Everything went well and the fundraiser seemed to be a success.

Sunday (3-28-04), We had to clear out all the chairs, stage, etc. from the concert. Later, I walked by the pond and found a Brown Snake, but little else of interest.

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 03-21-04

Gene's notes

This week Spring arrived. Pair and plum trees are in full bloom and Redbuds are showing. The Gulf Coast Spiny Softshell Turtles joined the other basking turtles at the farm pond.

I walked about the farm this weekend. Flipped some boards and logs but did not find any herps. I spotted a feral cat hunting. It was black and white colored. I thought it might be a skunk when I first saw it from about a 100 yards distance. The cat remained in a frozen position for at least 15 minutes while I approached and photographed it. I left it in the same state.

Near the pond I spied a Mallard hen on her nest.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

The weather this week is certainly on target for this time of year.

I have also had a major family obligation that has take much time and attention, and it will continue to do so for a while.

Tuesday (3-16-04), Frogs called loudly. Peepers and Upland Chorus Frogs. Nice sounds.

Wednesday (3-17-04), Spring Azures, Tiger Swallowtails, and Steve Bennett all visited me today at work. Steve got a Smooth Earth Snake I had saved for him.

Friday (3-19-04), It was very warm. We let the Caiman get some sunshine in his outdoor pen. Various lizards like Skinks, Anoles, and Fence Lizards were basking. I noticed Falcate Orangetips (Butterflies) fluttering by. Saw my first Tiger Beetle of the year, a Cicindela tranquebarica, on campus. We fed the classroom snakes and even found a small Black Racer under a rock. It was a beautiful day. It was the last day of winter.

In August of 2002, my wife lost her father after a long illness. Her stepfather has been in declining health for quite a while. Now it is his time.

Sunday (3-21-04), We got the phone call at 5:50 AM. My wife’s stepfather had passed away in a nursing home in Greenville County. He had been very sick. Cancer. I reflected as I walked alone, around the pond. I saw my first Dragonflies of the year, my first Cicindela sexguttata of the year, and tons of turtles, likely Eastern Painted Turtles, watched me, as I watched them. I even found an Eastern Worm Snake. Nature was treating my emotions very gently. I appreciated that. Later, I wrote a eulogy.

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 03-14-04

Gene's notes

Have not seen many herps this week. At the farm pond, Pickerel Frogs have joined the chorus. The weather was dry.

I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday working on a wellhouse/work shed for the new house. My wife was first to find a local snake, a DOR Brown Snake in our driveway. I flipped a couple of boards which consistently yielded Worm Snakes last year but found no snakes.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

This week has had some weather ups, and downs.

Monday (3-8-04), The boys at work had caught a Smooth Earth Snake and put it in a container on my desk. It was there when I clocked in.

Tuesday (3-9-04), Threats of snow/winter weather but we never had any that I saw.

Wednesday (3-10-04), We went to the creek and turned a few rocks. Got a small crayfish (sure wish I had a good field guide to these things) and fed it off to the Glossy Crayfish Snake. We also found a few Salamanders (Dusky and Two-Lined). We offered a large Dusky Salamander to a Giant Water Bug, and he ate it! Invertebrates that prey on animals with backbones! Cool.

Not much else to mention, but spring is not far away and sure to hold many wonders.

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 03-07-04

Gene's notes

March began with increasing warmth, by Friday (03-05-04), day temperatures were up to 80F.

On Wednesday (03-03-04) I heard Spring Peepers and American Toads join the Upland Chorus Frogs and Southern Leopards Frogs in the night-time serenades.

On Thursday (03-04-04), I heard a Wild Turkey gobbling.

Friday (03-05-04): I think we are making progress, but events haunt us from the past. I passed a Painted Turtle stopped in the center of my lane. I decided to go back and move it off the road. As I turned around, a truck passed me going in my former direction. When I got to the turtle, it was crushed. The driver had to swerve to purposely hit the turtle.

I spotted a beautiful male Harrier Hawk flying its hunting pattern over an agricultural field showing new green. I turned on to the end road and stopped behind a few bushes. Pulling out my camera I waited for the hawk to come near. It must have found prey, for it dropped to the ground in the far middle of the field. I did not see it resume hunting.

Green Anoles were sunning themselves on the walls of my house. A small slider bask on the rock in the farm pond. While cleaning out some accumulated junk in the tractor shed, I found a male Fence Lizard. It was very sluggish. I picked it up and placed out of the way upon a shelf. Continuing my cleaning, I found a female Fence Lizard closeby. I placed it on the shelf too. Neither lizard moved away for a couple of hours. They must have been just emerging from hibernation.

Also, while cleaning I found a Deer Mouse. I caught it and placed it in the cage with the young Black Rat Snake which I have kept since capturing it last fall. (It is the only herp that I am keeping.) The snake had refuse to eat the last two times it was offer mice. I was worried. Checking later, I found the snake had eaten the mouse.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Had some very nice weather this week.

Monday (3-1-04), I hear the first Spring Peepers of the year. Rambling through the River Pasture. Found a Marbled Salamander and saw several small flocks of male Wild Turkeys. Under one of my favorite logs, I found no Spotted Salamanders.

Wednesday (3-3-04), I visited the pond after dark and found good numbers of American Toads, Southern Leopard Frogs, and Spring Peepers were calling loudly. Under debris near the pond, I found a small Brown Snake and baby Narrowmouth Toad.

At work, the breeders have come out of brumation and we will start feeding in a week or so.

Not much else going on.

Joey Holmes

April 03, 2004
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