SC Reptile and Amphibians


November 2004

Gene's notes

Friday (11-12-04), as I drove home from work, night was just showing itself. There was a misting rain and the temperature was 59 F. While passing along a section of road near home that is usually good for frogs and salamanders, I slowed to look. I passed a dark squiggle on the road. It was not expecting to see a snake in this weather, but it looked like it could be one. I backed up. Yes, it was a young Black Rat Snake. Alive. It was about 24 inches and halfway to its adult black coloration.

Saturday (11-20-04), I was shifting through clothes and household items that we had loaded in the garage when we first moved into out new house last month. I found an adult Brown Snake.

Tuesday (11-23-04), it was warm and wet as I drove home from work. I noticed frogs on the road in the location where I had found the Black Rat Snake on the 12th. I checked in at home and and returned to look for frogs and salamanders. My first find was an AOR Brown Snake. I caught two Chorus Frogs to feed to the Garter Snake at my wife's school.

Wednesday (11-24-04), after a day of helping my wife clean and prepare the food for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to drive down the road to look for frogs and salamanders. The rain had stopped and temperatures were dropping into the high 50s. In the driveway, I flushed a Woodcock. It flew about a 100 feet down the drive. I kept my head lights on. With my spotlight and camera in hand, I walked down the drive. When I spotted the Woodcock, I was able to keep the spotlight in its eyes as I approached. I made my first pictures of a Woodcock. On the road, I did not see any frogs or salamanders.

My son, Win, opened a second restaurant today, the Mediterranean Grill. It is located in the Cross Creek Mall in Greenwood. He has worked hard and quick to get it opened in time for the holiday shopping season.

Thursday (11-25-04), we celibrated Thanksgiving in our new home with all our family. Later in the afternoon, my granddaughter caught a Ground Skink in the house. This is the second one since we moved in. There seems to be a way into the house that I am not aware of.

Sunday (11-28-04), I found a one of the ever-hardy Green Anoles basking on the patio of our former home. At the new house, an Eastern Phoebe has been trying to fly through the sidelight beside the front door. I don't know whether the bird is fighting its reflection or thinks the inside looks like a good place to live. It sits on our white porch railing and leaves its scat. I placed a large plastic Gecko with suction cups on the glass where the bird has been most active. I thought sure it would be frightened away. It paided the Gecko no mind and perched on its head.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Week Ending 11-07-04

Autumn Greetings to Everyone,

We are definitely cooling off now! Soon I might even have to look through the closet for some long pants! Still it is hard to get through the day on campus without finding Green Anoles, Fence Lizards, or Wheel Bugs, so it is not all bad. Yet.

Monday (11-1-04), The little Copperhead turned slightly to look at me when I lifted “his” sheet of tin.

Tuesday (11-2-04), At work I heard an Upland Chorus Frog calling from the woods. After work, I went to vote. My American duty. At the local polls they had 3 voting machines up and going. The line had 15 people in it, ahead of me. I was back into my car in only 35 minutes! Imagine, 35 minutes in line equals 4 years of stress! I went home and had a visit with the Copperhead in my back yard and relaxed. I also found a Southern Ringneck Snake and several Slimy Salamanders. Then I stayed up half the night to watch the election returns and see if the next four years would stink or just smell.

Wednesday (11-3-04), The “nature” highlight of my day was a visit with the Copperhead in the back yard.

Thursday (11-4-04), The weather has turned cooler. I checked my tin after work and could not find my little Copperhead. There is a thick layer of leaves under that piece and several mammal tunnels so I suppose he went down a little bit escape the coming cold.

Friday (11-5-04), No time for outdoors or nature, we did tend to our critters in the classroom.

Saturday (11-6-04), Holmes Photography worked a local wedding. A beautiful chapel surrounded by colorful autumn leaves, that twisted, spiraled, and fluttered to earth with every gentle breath of wind. While setting up some outside shots, I noticed a large Dragonfly zoom through the crowd. Likely a Swamp Darner. It was great to see him. It was like a little bit of nature came to visit me while I was wearing a suit, working on a Saturday.

Sunday (11-7-04), It was intensely sunny and warmer today. I looked under my tin and the little Copperhead was back! How about that!

Already looking forward to spring!

Week Ending 11-14-04

Lots of leaves on the ground. Lots of leaves still on the trees. Green, red, gold, brown, all in a nice blend. Yes, the forests are still colorful and quite pretty. This time of year certainly has its charm.

Monday (11-8-04), A good day for wildlife. At work, while cleaning cages, we were pleased to find six new Checkered Garter Snake babies in a cage with one of our females (she had gotten chunky, and stopped feeding, so I thought she might be pregnant, but it does seem kind of late in the year). After work, I took the scenic route home and saw a Bobcat, Raccoon, and two Gray Foxes (chasing each other around in the road). At home I checked my tin and found my little Copperhead and later moved a female Opossum off the front porch where she was trying to get the food we had put out for the kitten (no comments please).

Tuesday (11-9-04), It was cooler. Frost on the windshield! Long pants and a jacket!

Wednesday (11-10-04), Still cool/cold.

Thursday (11-11-04), Cool and rainy.

Friday (11-12-04), Cool and rainy. New moon, but road cruising seemed to be a waste of time!

Saturday (11-13-04), Brevard College was having open campus. My son Hunter (currently a high school senior) has had an interest in this school for quite some time. We (the Holmes family) went to Brevard, NC to tour the campus. They had told us to bring grades, applications, references, etc and prepare for an interview in the admissions office. They would also give an answer, on the spot. Everything went well and Hunter was ACCEPTED! He plans to take WILDERNESS LEADERSHIP & EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION. Makes a dad proud! A great day! The mountains are still pretty and it was nice to enjoy their beauty for a few hours while we were in town. I will say it again, A great day!”

Sunday (11-14-04), Cool, but bright and sunny, I spent a little time outdoors. At the pond, I saw a pair of Geese, nine Hooded Mergansers, and a pair of Wood Ducks. At one point, a Coopers Hawk swooped on the Mergansers (trying to get them into the air so he could grab one), but they stayed low on the water and were safe. I noticed a Dragonfly, likely a Meadowhawk, and enjoyed seeing Cricket Frogs, Anoles, and Ground Skinks. On to the River Pasture where I had a nice walk, and found a Marbled Salamander, Leopard Frog, Bullfrog, Anole, and River Cooters. It is late in the year I know, but I am still enjoying the local Herps.

Week Ending 11-21-04

Last week I neglected to wish my sister, Dr. Jackie Burns, Happy Birthday! Her birthday was on Tuesday (November 9) and I will not bother anyone with the number. I also neglected to mention Veteran’s Day (November 11). Those brave men and women of the armed forces who have served this country bravely have my total respect and thanks. We owe so much to YOU! THANK YOU!

We have had some warmer weather this week. The autumn leaves are still very pretty. It really has been kinda nice/

Monday (11-15-04), Warm, we enjoyed temps in the low 70s. I even let the Caiman spend a few hours in his outdoor pen, soaking up some UV rays.

Tuesday (11-16-04), Had a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers foraging on a tree right outside the dining room at work. I had never seen these birds so close and they are absolutely beautiful! Later, a friend stopped by and bought some frozen mice and a baby Bullsnake. At home I checked my tin and found a Southern Ringneck Snake, Ground Skinks, and Slimy Salamanders.

Wednesday (11-17-04), At work, we checked tin, and found a snake! An Eastern Worm Snake. Later, another friend stopped by campus, bought some mice, and a baby Bullsnake.

Thursday (11-18-04), I made a stop by the pet store and bought some feeder fish (goldfish and guppies) for some of my snakes. Watersnakes and Garters. The baby Checkered Garters all ate their guppies. Neat little snakes and the boys like them a lot.

Friday (11-19-04), Warm.

Saturday (11-20-04), Happy Birthday to ME! I gave myself a nice present, some time outdoors! I walked around the pond and enjoyed seeing Belted Kingfishers, Hooded Mergansers, Cricket Frogs, Bullfrogs, Green Treefrog, and Green Anoles. Spring Peepers were calling from the forest near the pond. Beaver trails and chewed sticks were everywhere. It was great to be outside! I got some nice birthday cards and my dear sweet wife and son bought me a new watch (the old one had died after about 15 years) and a neat little MONOCULAR for use outdoors with nature. Really a cool gizmo! I also got some tools I had been needing. THANKS!

Sunday (11-21-04), At 11:30 AM it was intensely sunny and very warm outside. At 12:30 it was cloudy. At 1:30 it was rainy. The rest of the day was rainy. Rainy. Rainy. Warm and rainy. I should have gone Salamander hunting but had too much to do.

Another week has passed. It will be 2005 in about 6 weeks!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Week Ending 11-28-04

Not as much time outdoors this week, but then, herp activity is low and few insects are moving.

Monday (11-22-04), It was sort of warm and rainy. Good Amphibian weather, but I was unable to get in any time outdoors.

Tuesday (11-23-04), Still warm and rainy. Still no time outdoors.

Wednesday (11-24-04), Happy birthday to my brother Jeff. It was warm and rainy and I celebrated his birthday by checking my tin and finding a Southern Ringneck Snake. Nice to see anything at this point in the year.

Thursday (11-25-04), Thanksgiving! As usual, I worked, thankful for employment. It turned out to be a very pretty day. Clear, cool and windy. After work, I went to the pond for a few minutes of solitude. I enjoyed seeing Mallards Ducks and Hooded Mergansers. Belted Kingfishers were also noticed. Great birds. However, I am already missing the herps and bugs that make the place so special to me!

Friday (11-26-04), It was pretty, clear, and in the mid 50s. The evening brought on a full moon and bright skies.

Saturday (11-27-04), The morning was cool and clear. By late afternoon we were getting doused in a cold rain.

Sunday (11-28-04), Bright, clear, and sunny by mid morning.

Laurens (SC) is busy now with the TV crews from the series “TOWN HAUL”. It is a make-over show where small towns get a bit of a face-lift. The next few weeks will be quite busy with the holidays coming up, much less this TV show thing going on. Hope to keep my reports regular (and interesting) but it may be difficult.

Take care,

Joey Holmes

December 01, 2004
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