Snake activity has increased greatly in our local area these final weeks of April.
Win and Hope, while doing their fish surveys, have continued to see much mating activity in Northern Water Snakes. Win reports observing the females staying on shore in the riprap while the males cruise the shoreline looking for action.
Numerous Racers and Black Rats have been seen DOR. More unusual, this April we are finding more Kingsnakes, Eastern and Mole. Win has found several DOR Eastern Kings. One was 4.5 feet long and found near home. I have found 3 DOR Mole Kings. We usually do not see any Mole Kings until May. The last one I came upon was still writhing from just having been run over. I was traveling to home after work. It was about 5:30 pm. Because of the level of traffic on the road, I had to pass by the snake and find a turnaround a but a quarter mile away. By the time I got back to the injured Mole King, it had stopped moving and assumed a familiar death stance with the head and neck held upward at approximately 45 degrees from the road. Mole Kings dying in this stance look like still living snakes long after death. Earlier that same trip I had seen a large (4 feet +) DOR Corn Snake.
Both weeks we received a little, much needed rain. Temperatures cooled the last few days of the month. One morning, it was 41 F.
Sunday (04-23-06) was warm with a hint in the feel of the air of rain to come. Returning about 6 pm, I spotted a Chickadee carrying an insect to its nestings in a rotting fence post at the farm. After supper, but before dark, I headed out for a short cruise around local roads. In the driveway, I found a large Bullfrog. As the light faded, I spotted a small snake in the road. I passed over it and stopped. It surried into the grass before I could get to it. If I had to guess, I would say it was a Garter Snake. About a quarter mile further down the road, I came upon a male Coopers Hawk in the road. It flew away clutching a small furry creature in its talons.
Thursday (04-27-06), Win and Hope planted some seedlings in our vegetable garden. We thought they were going to receive a soaking rain. The next day we had to turn on the branch pump to water the plants.
Friday (04-28-06), while doing a fish survey on Lake Russell, Win was able to explore several small islands in the lake. One island held a communal nesting location for Canada Geese. On another island, he found Slimy Salamders under most every log. The third island was very rocky and held little vegetation. On this island, he found centipedes under many of the rocks.
Saturday (04-29-06), Win and I repaired erosion damage to the culvert under our driveway and rebuilt the poolig dam in the branch for the pump. We thought we might scare up a snake, but no such luck. I was able to snap a good image of a Turkey Vulture resting on a fence post.