SC Reptile and Amphibians


July 2005

Week Ending 07-31-05

Gene's notes

The hot and dry weather ended on Friday (07-29-05) with a cool front and rain.

Saturday (07-30-05) morning, I found a very young, year or two, Eastern Box Turtle crossing the road.

I also took time to identify an insect that has been frequenting my driveway. At casual glance, it appears to be a Bumblebee. A dozen or so would alight on the gravel. Although they had the buzz of a Bumblebee, something about their appearance looked wrong. I captured one, studied it, and looked in my insect field guide. After much deliberation, I believe they are Argrid Sawflies.

Some other things have bugged me this month. One morning my wife called me, saying "Come see this creature in our flower garden." It was like a Bumblebee Moth, but colored green and maroon. It was a Hummingbird Moth. A few days later I pulled five large Tomato Hornworms off our tomato vines. These worms had done a large amount of damage in just a day or so. One evening I heard two thumps against a porch window. Investigating, I found two large Long-horned Beetles.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Been quite a busy week.

Monday (7-25-05), Hot as blazes. It was about 95 and very humid. Hard to do anything outside. Floor guys had the new house sort of locked down, so I went to Home Depot and got some lumber and other things I needed.

Tuesday (7-26-05), Early in the day, my students and I were outside and we heard Blue Jays screaming, along with Warblers and Titmice. We crept into the area they were in and found the source of their annoyance, a Black Ratsnake, climbing along a branch. We caught and released him. Later, close to my big light (on one of the buildings) we found a very large male Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus. The boys were impressed! After work, I built a new set of steps into the basement of the new house. It seemed a good way to use time, since I could not go inside (floor guys). But it was VERY hot. A thermometer in town read 104 as I passed, but I think it was high due to all the concrete and asphalt in that area. I bet it was not a bit over 98! The basement in fact, seemed quite cool with a big fan blowing on me.

Wednesday (7-27-05), Hot again, but again we found a male Hercules Beetle on campus near the big light. There were lots of other beetles there, smaller Scarabs and Carabids, as well as a Royal Walnut Moth. Later in the day a student brought in smaller male Hercules Beetle that he had found dead on the ground outside. My floor guys finished sanding and put down the first coat of polyurethane. Looked great.

Thursday (7-28-05), For the third day in a row, I found a live male Hercules Beetle when I arrived at work. There were also Luna Moths and Imperial Moths at the light. Very nice. Storms were moving in and the heat broke. Nothing much to do at the new house (the floor guys applied their second coat of polyurethane) so I went home. I checked the tin, and found a Black Racer. As I held it, I pondered the fact that it could be last snake I catch on that property. This kind of sentiment lies just under the surface of EVERYTHING I do these days!

Friday (7-29-05), More storms locally. The floor guys applied the third and final coat of polyurethane to the new house and left. They took a hefty check with them, but the floors are beautiful.

Saturday (7-30-05), We can walk on the newly finished floors in our socks, so with a little help from a few strong backs, we started hauling stuff (in light rain) to the new house, 17 miles away from the place we had called home since 1983. Sentiment again. Several trips later we were running out of steam and running out of daylight, but we had enough stuff moved to spend our first night in our new home! To top it all off, I found a Tiger Beetle, Megacephala virginica, in the driveway! That, would seem to be a good sign!

Sunday (7-31-05), We made a couple of trips, bringing stuff to the new house, but still have a lot to do in both locations. You cannot do it all in one weekend.

So in little over a month we have primed-painted, rewired, and refinished almost every floor in the new house and moved stuff (ourselves included) to this exciting new location.

Still tired,

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 07-24-05

Gene's notes

The weather is hot, dry and bright. The most common snake appearing on the roads has been the "mirage" snake. I have seen a few DOR Black Rat Snakes.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

It has been hot. It is July, after all. Yet I have hardly noticed as I seem to have every moment dedicated to our move. The new house is shaping up nicely. The floor refinishing team is due in on July 25, and the pressure is on to get everything painted before they arrive. So I have hardly had time to spend outdoors. The moon has been bright, so morning bugging is not even very good. In spite of that, I still found Royal Walnut Moths, Imperial Moths, and a stroll across campus always seems to flush loads of Tiger Beetles, Cicindela rufiventris. Neat animals.

Monday (7-18-05), Work on the new house continues. I am off work (PWI that is) so I can dedicate about 14 hours to the house.

Tuesday (7-19-05), Off work, so I put in another long day at the new house.

Wednesday (7-20-05), Off work again, so the scrape-putty-sand-paint work continues.

Thursday (7-21-05), Back at the Institute. Work on the house in the evening. The electricians finished and left. The wiring is finally all new (and trust-worthy).

Friday (7-22-05), After a day at the Institute, another long evening at the new house.

Saturday (7-23-05), Hours of work on the new house, but with the heat like it is, I can hardly imagine being outdoors.

Sunday (7-24-05), I worked all day, but the house is finally painted, the carpets pulled up, the pads removed, and the house is ready for the floor refinishing guys.

When we get the house finished , move, and sell our place here in Spartanburg County, I am going to need a good herping-bugging trip to cleanse my mind and soul.

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 07-17-05

Gene's notes

I cannot remember any herp related observations worth noting this week.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Even with all the work on the new house, I am still visited daily by the beauty of nature. I try to balance my focus and attentions, and never neglect the beauty that crawls, scrambles, flies, flutters, and hops around my feet. I continue to appreciate the blessings of my wonderful family and the new home that we will move into soon. I must also remember that some kids have it rough, and my work at PWI is an important mission, that must be done to the best of my abilities.

Monday (7-11-05), At work I found a female Giant Stag, Lucanus elaphus, when I arrived and checked the big light. Later in the day we uncovered a Smooth Earth Snake on campus. Later (after work), same as usual. We work on the new house. Scrape, putty, sand, paint.

Tuesday (7-12-05), Another female L. elaphus under the big light at work. Another evening of work on the new house. Scrape, putty, sand, paint.

Wednesday (7-13-05), I had to do a project off campus with some students, and after we finished we took some time to visit some outdoor locations. At the pond we saw GREAT Dragonflies: Green Darners, Comet Darners, Whitetail Skimmers, Slaty Skimmers, Golden-Wing Skimmers, Widow Skimmers, Spangled Skimmers, Blue Dashers, Eastern Pondhawks, Eastern Amberwings, Carolina Saddlebags, and more! There were also good numbers of Wood Ducks and Tiger Beetles. I think the students enjoyed it and I know I did! At one spot we collected some small toads as feeder items for our baby Checkered Garter Snakes. When offered food, we again noticed one "lingual luring"! Caudal luring is well known and documented, but what makes more sense, attracting food to your tail or to your mouth? Why else should Garter Snakes have such brightly colored (red and black) tongues? Makes perfect sense to me. After work, again, we work on the new house. Scrape, putty, sand, paint. I worked some on the kitchen cabinet doors.

Thursday (7-14-05), Work on the new house. Scrape, putty, sand, paint. A floor guy came and did some carpet and linoleum work in the kitchen/den area. Looked real good.

Friday (7-15-05), Found a female Dorcus parallelus (tiny Antelope Stag Beetle) when I arrived at work. After work, I work on the new house. Hung some cabinet doors and picked up the mess we continually make as we work.

Saturday (7-16-05), Holmes Photography worked a local wedding. It was very hot, and I sweated heavily in my suit!

Sunday (7-17-05), This is a special day. It was on July 17, 1983 that Mrs. Holmes and I married. It was her birthday, so that made it extra special. We were wed at the alter where my parents spoke their vows, with the very same pastor that they had officiate at their wedding in 1956. July 17 is indeed a special day. So, to my dear wife, Happy Birthday! and Happy Anniversary! I Love You VERY much! We spent the guessed it, scrape, putty, sand, and painting!

Joey Holmes

Week Ending 07-10-05

Gene's notes

Tuesday (07-05-05), I drove to Aiken County to look for snakes and other herps. On the way down, I saw DOR snakes: a Copperhead, a Redbelly Water Snake, and a Black Racer. I also saw two DOR armadillos. I encountered AOR a Box Turtle, a Yellowbelly Slider, and a Chicken Turtle. Driving around the loop at the Aiken State Natural Area, I found a young Canebrake Rattlesnake. Heading back home I found DOR a large (4-foot) Canebrake. Its rattles had been removed.

Thursday (07-07-05), we all awoke to the terrible news of the bombings in London. In late afternoon, I found DOR a Rough Green Snake and AOR an adult Black Rat Snake.

Early Saturday (07-09-05) morning, I accompanied Win on his creel survey in the tailrace waters below the Lake Russell dam. It was beautiful weather and great to be out on the lake. We saw Ospreys, Great Blue Herons, Fish Crows, Canada Geese, and Cormorants. We saw the expected basking turtles, but no snakes. While on an errand into town in the late afternoon, I found DOR a Rough Green Snake.

Gene Ott


Joey's notes

Monday (7-4-05), I took our new friend Kenichi to the airport very early. I drug myself into work around noon.

Tuesday (7-5-05), After work, we worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint.

Wednesday (7-6-05), Tropical storm Cindy dropped over 4.5 inches of rain in nearby Greenville, SC in just a few hours. More rain in a few hours than we usually see the whole month of July. They had local flooding/property damage. We got nothing here. I was off so........we worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint. The electrician had shut off power to the AC so we worked in the HEAT .

Thursday (7-7-05), I was off so........we worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint. The air was back on, but the electrician had to shut off a lot of the lights so we did not work late into the evening.

Friday (7-8-05), I was off so........we worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint.

Saturday (7-9-05), We worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint.

Sunday (7-10-05), After lunch......we worked at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint. Hurricane Dennis comes ashore on the Gulf Coast.

I said it would be a major time-eater. Still treefrogs, toads, skinks, loads of beetles, cicadas, and other treats come my way almost daily. Keeps me sane.

More (work at the new house. Scrape/putty/sand/paint) to come.

Joey Holmes

August 4, 2005
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