Another week already gone by. My how time flies. I requested this week off quite some time ago, and it was a good move, as Mrs. Holmes had a major, week-long job in the photography business and I was needed, and fortunately I was able to help.
Monday (4-11-05), It was beautiful and warm. I found a DOR Mole Kingsnake about a mile from home. At home I checked my tin and found a Southern Ringneck Snake, Redbelly Snake, Eastern Worm Snake, and the old male Mole Kingsnake that I have seen before.
Tuesday (4-12-05), Cool and rainy, it was very different from the previous day. I still checked my tin and found a Southern Ringneck, and found that the Mole King had moved, and was under a piece of tin about 15-18 feet away from where he had been on Monday.
Wednesday (4-13-05), Again it was cool and rainy, and again I checked my tin, and once again I found a Ringneck Snake. It is likely that I have seen this same animal MANY times this year already and he may be there for some time to come. He is not marked, so it is difficult to tell him as an individual.
Thursday (4-14-05), Mrs. Holmes needed something picked up in Columbia by 6 PM. She had help at her photo shoot, and I had a day, or most of it, to ramble a bit. It turned out to be 340 miles worth of rambling. The day started cool and damp, but I figured it would be a good day to look under "stuff". Stuff like natural cover (bark, logs, rocks, etc) as well as artificial cover like tin, plywood, boards, carpet, and other debris, such is found around old stores, barns, house-sites, down dirt roads and dead end roads. Many people are calling this stuff "AC" which is short for "artificial cover" and I suppose that is a pretty good term.
I made my way to Aiken County and visited several spots I knew. Nothing. On to Barnwell County where I made several stops with no results, except a DOR Armadillo. By "no results" I do not mean that I saw nothing. I did see Cottontail Rabbits, Wood Rats, Cotton Rats, Skinks and Anoles. "No results" simply means "no snakes or Tiger Beetles".
In Bamburg County I made several stops without results (I did enjoy seeing an Anhinga at the Edisto River just north of the City of Bamburg) but then my luck changed, when down some lonely dirt road I found good “AC” and scored two Eastern Coachwhips. The first was a decent sized snake but was pre-shed and crusty, and most of his tail was missing (kind of ruins that whole “flagellum” concept) but the second was pretty. Smaller (4 feet), he was clean and un-scarred, making him a much prettier animal.
On into Orangeburg County, I marveled at the “UFO WELCOME CENTER” in Bowman. I had seen it on TV but it is much more impressive in person. It is a full sized, non-functional flying-saucer that a local man has built out of scrap boards, tin, aluminum foil, and Christmas lights. It looks like he just picked up stuff lying around his yard/trailer (and it looks like he has enough stuff still there to make several more flying-saucers) and made this thing, then proclaimed it the official welcome center for UFOs visiting Earth! It is worth the trip! Back to herping. I made a few more stops and by some little roadside building I found a dead pine with loose bark. I peeled a few pieces and out popped a baby Corn Snake, which is exactly what I expected! I peeled a little more and out popped another! Looking like litter-mates I left them enough bark to hide under as they continue to live out their little lives as predator and prey.
I made it to Columbia, picked up the supplies, and made it home without further excitement. Then I visited the pond. There I found a small Eastern Worm Snake. Back home I checked my tin and found the expected Ringneck Snake.
Friday (4-15-05), Clear, but still rather cool and a bit windy. I did succeed in finding two Southern Ringneck Snakes here in the yard, under tin, as expected.
Saturday (4-16-05), Another big photo shoot keeps us busy. Then we retreat to Columbia for an overnight get-away. I did notice lots of Tiger Beetle larval burrows along the river. Large holes, I assume that area will be busy with Megacephala later in the year.
Sunday (4-17-05), I got up, and since we were still in the Columbia area, I went for a morning drive. I visited some "AC" I know and found a small, pre-shed, crusty little Ratsnake but nothing else of interest. We got home after lunch, and I tinkered around the yard, checked the tin, and found the Ringneck (again). A late-afternoon drive found me checking some local "AC" where I found a medium-sized female Eastern King. Good musker too.
Back at work early Monday morning, but hey, the Sabbatical begins soon!