SC Reptile and Amphibians


August 2004

Week Ending 08-29-04

Gene's notes

Friday (08-27-04), while sitting in my van speaking on the cellphone, I noticed small jerky movements in a nearby scrub. Upon investigating, I found a Bagworm.

Saturday (08-28-04) morning while vacuuming the house, I lifted a jacket that had fallen in a corner and found an adult Eastern Garter Snake. I receive many emails from people who have discovered snakes in their homes. This was the first time I have ever found one in the living area of any of my homes. A good accent to a slow summer of my finding herps.

The Garter Snake was dull colored, eyes dark, and belly blue. I placed it in any empty aquarium to hold it until I could show it to my granddaughter who was coming to visit later in the day. About 30 minutes later, I checked on the snake and found it beginning to shed.

Late Saturday afternoon, I helped my granddaughter fish from the pond dockhouse. While we were setting up, several Green Anoles dropped from the ceiling and scurried away. We used worms as bait and the Bluegill Bream bite almost as fast as she (I) could bait up and drop the line in.

Sunday (08-29-04) my wife woke up with a stomach virus. We had to send our granddaughter home early. In the afternoon I noticed a newborn Fence Lizard basking on a basketball left in the yard... an Olympic pose.

August has been a disappointing month for herping for me. I'll put the last two days of the month into September and hope for the best.

Gene Ott

Joey's notes

Another week gone by. Soon another month. Soon another year. Wow.

Monday (8-23-04), Got a sale paper from ZOO BOOK SALES. The new water nnake book by Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcus is on the market. I have been waiting on this one! I have always loved water snakes and a good book about them has been needed for years.

Tuesday (8-24-04), While at work, my students and I found a neat little Stag Beetle, Dorcus parallelus. It was a male. I had been looking for one to ship to a fellow in Lafayette, La. Never seen a male before and it was really a cool little beetle. Later in the day, we had a little awards ceremony for the kids. The boys also voted on awards for staff. I was honored and touched to receive “Instructor of the Month”. At home for the evening, my son, Hunter, and I went to the pond to bother the Dragonflies (Hunter had a science project due soon). We enjoyed good numbers of Eastern Pondhawks, Blue Dashers, Whitetail Skimmers, Eastern Amberwings, and Green Darners. All very pretty animals. Under the debris by the pond we found a Southern Ringneck Snake.

Wednesday (8-25-04), Shipped the (Dorcus) Stag Beetle to my friend and also ordered a copy of the new water snake book by Gibbons and Dorcus. I cannot wait to see it! Nephew Stephen called to report a DOR Armadillo in York County, SC, near Rock Hill!

Thursday (8-26-04), Something happened, but I sure cannot remember it.

Friday (8-27-04), My brother, Jeff Holmes, appeared at the Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC but we were not able to make it up for the show. Too bad, it was a full-band (the Floating Men) show.

Saturday (8-28-04), Busy day. Tropical Storm Gaston came ashore around the Charleston-Georgetown County line. Lots of rain and 60-70 mph winds. Another weekend of heavy storms in the lowcountry. No big deal here in the upstate. Holmes Photography works a large local wedding. I know that I am not supposed to get sweaty, muddy, bloody or musked on when we have a wedding........but..........while going to the store to gas up the car, I found an AOR Black Ratsnake, right in front of my house. I stopped and helped him off the road. He had a little blood on his mouth and may have been hit by a car. I hope he will be alright. Much later, we took a break at the (wedding) reception and stepped outside with a little plate (of wedding food). I glanced about while snacking and noticed that we were not alone. There were two Green Treefrogs on the building there by the back door. It was refreshing to see herps on a night so full of celebration. I took a minute and shot some video of them, just to test the lights/camera. I am sure Mrs. Holmes will edit them OUT of this nice couple’s wedding video!

Sunday (8-29-04), Jeff and his wife were in the upstate. My sister also had a gathering planned at her house. The occasion? Mother’s birthday. Family and good food on the grill. A nice evening. Happy Birthday Mom!

We have had 3 tropical storms/hurricanes influence our weather this month and another is heading towards the southeastern coast right now. Hurricane Frances is a category 4 storm with winds 140-150 mph! Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, or North Carolina, somebody is going to get hammered hard. Be careful and good luck to all!

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 08-22-04

Gene's notes

I saw a couple of DOR Black Rat Snakes on the roads while commuting. I cruised a little at night without success.

Late summer flowers are beginning to bloom. Crows and Wild Turkeys are gathering. A number of this year's crop of Turkeys can be seen daily around the farm.

Gene Ott

Joey's notes

A lot of my outdoors time this week was somewhat unproductive. But any time outdoors is time well spent, even if you do not find any of the animals you seek.

Monday (8-16-04), Work. I have 3 more Corn Snakes hatched, from a less-than-stable clutch of eggs. These 3 babies all look fine. After work, I go rambling. I am in need of a Copperhead for an up-coming snake talk with a Rescue Squad. I venture into Union County. A road that produces regularly on warm summer nights. Nothing but a couple of White-tail Deer fawns. Back in my neighborhood, I visit local stores and pick up a few Beetles (Female Hercules and Xylorctes) and Moths. I did expect more on a new moon.

Tuesday (8-17-04), Work goes as usual. By sunset, I still need a Copperhead so I cruise some more. Local in southern Spartanburg County. A road that has produced many a snake. Nothing.

Wednesday (8-18-04), I flipped a little debris on the way home from work and did find a Redbelly Snake AOR. Cool. Again I hit the roads at night. Laurens County. Good locations. Again, nothing.

Thursday (8-19-04), This particular evening (without a live Copperhead) I went to the nearby town of Whitmire, SC and did a snake-invertebrate safety talk to the local rescue squad. Nice folks, attentive, and it was good to meet them. On the way home I saw a Copperhead, AOR.

Friday (8-20-04), Work as usual. Mice, herps, bugs, kids.

Saturday (8-21-04), Holmes Photography worked a local wedding. This means I need to stay clean/indoors. Oh well, I did see a Fairy-Ring Mushroom formation on the lawn of the Church. Pretty cool.

Sunday (8-22-04), I piddled around the yard. Found an Eastern Kingsnake and Red-bellied Snake under my tin. When checked, the King did not match any snakes I had records of from my yard.

Seasonal changes are apparent. The swarms of Tiger Beetles, Cicindela rufiventris, that were so common just a few weeks ago, are dwindling. You can still find them, but not in great numbers. Sumac is turning red and the nights are cooler. Orb-weavers spin their nocturnal webs. Summer is vanishing before our very eyes.

Enjoying what is left of the year,

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 08-15-04

Gene's notes

Another week without herping. While commuting, I saw a couple of live Box Turtles and a few DOR turtles of various species.

Tuesday evening (08-10-04), when I returned home from work I found our cat had left us a present in the driveway, a Meadow Jumping Mouse. This was the first time I had identified one of these mice.

Gene Ott

Joey's notes

Jimmy Buffett did an album in 1972, called A1A. On that album was a song , “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season.” That song seems to be in my head quite a bit this week! I also spent a lot of my time working on the new LAURENS ARTISTS COOP gallery. Trim, putty, prime, paint, etc.

Monday (8-9-04), Off work, I work at the Coop. No time outdoors.

Tuesday (8-10-04), Off work, I work at the Coop. After dark I happened by the local gas station. There was nothing major scurrying about, but I did spend a few minutes watching a Ground Beetle, Calosoma, as it ate a dead Imperial Moth. It was pretty neat.

Wednesday (8-11-04), I made a evening run to the local gas station. I found a male Hercules Beetle and a small Southern Ringneck Snake.

Thursday (8-12-04), Hurricane/Tropical Storm/Tropical Depression Bonnie had come ashore in Florida and came through SC causing us to have a cool /soggy/rainy day. I went to the SC State Museum and took some spare insects from my collection boxes. I enjoyed my visit with Jim Knight (Collections Curator) and Jan Ciegler (Entomologist) who was there working on, you guessed it, insect specimens.

Friday (8-13-04), Friday the thirteenth was indeed an unlucky day in parts of southwest Florida. Hurricane Charles made landfall and tore up Punta Gorda. He crossed the peninsula and went out to sea around Daytona. Amidst my focus on CNN and the WEATHER CHANNEL, The Holmes family turned off the TV and traveled into North Carolina to the Winston-Salem area for a family reunion (my wife’s family is from that area). We had pleasant driving conditions and little influence from the storm raging just south of us. Local temps were cool.

Saturday (8-14-04), Fed up with life on the Atlantic, Hurricane Charley made landfall again in South Carolina. The Georgetown area. He was less intense than he had been when he hit Florida. Less damage. Florida had at least 19 confirmed dead. We had no loss of life here and very little structural damage. Lucky. Local temps were still cool.

Sunday (8-15-04), We came back from Winston-Salem. The three-hour drive was a little tedious due to rain. It was cool. I did see a Box Turtle trying to cross I-40 in the rain. There was a good bit of traffic. I am sure he did not get across. At home, I checked my tin, found a Skink, nothing else.

Not a major week for herping or bugs. I do believe the activity levels will pick up soon. Theirs and mine.

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 08-08-04

Gene's notes

This week ended with morning temperatures dipping to the low 50s F. Felt like late September.

Friday evening (8-6-04), I saw a large moth flitting about one of the night lights. I netted it. It was a beautiful female Imperial Moth.

I spent most of my free time this week working on our new home. We hope to move in September. It is located on the farm, just further up the hill.

Gene Ott

Joey's notes

More heat. More summer.

Monday (8-2-04), Another day at work. The female Mole Kingsnake from Edgefield County was worse, so I put her down, freezing her for a specimen. The kids had found a female Hercules Beetle on campus over the weekend. The highlight of the day was finding two Smooth Earth Snakes under some debris on campus.

Tuesday (8-3-04), An Eastern Worm Snake was under debris on campus.

Wednesday (8-4-04), Our female Bullsnake started laying her eggs. She had five. Huge eggs! October 13 will be day 70 and the expected hatching date.

Thursday (8-5-04), Found a male Hercules Beetle at the gas station near work as I stopped to get my morning coffee. It was slightly damaged but still living.

Friday (8-6-04), Another Eastern Worm Snake on Campus (likely the same one from Tuesday).

Saturday (8-7-04), No time outdoors.

Sunday (8-8-04), No time outdoors.

Need to get outside and catch something good. A few miles on a dark road and a nice Copperhead or two would be fun.

Joey Holmes

September 1, 2004
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