Locally, we continued to receive good rains during January. We are not drought-recovered, but
the last two months have returned the surface to normal wetness. In December, I installed a small water
pump (<0.5 hp) in a branch and have been pumping into the small farm pond continuously. With some
rain runoff and the pumping, the pond has reached about 80 percent full.
The most notable herp observation so far is the absence of any frog singing. We have had the
usual cold to warm daily temperatures. Upland Chorus Frogs are normally very actively calling
by the end of January. Not a peep so far. I fear the fall drought has severely hurt the amphibians.
I was able to use a dip net to find a Red-spotted Newt in one of the pools that has collected some
water since drying in the fall.
Win found an Eastern Box Turtle crossing a road in early January. I cannot remember ever seeing
a local Box Turtle about in January.
On January 11th, Win, his 2-year old son Wolf, and I joined Joey Holmes and his son, Hunter, looking
for salamanders in a river bottomland that has a known population of Spotted Salamanders.
We did not find any Spotteds, but did find Marbled Salamanders, Red Efts, and an Upland Chorus Frog.
Joey also pointed out to us some Dung Beetles and very small snails.
On January 26th, Win and I attended the annual meeting of the
South Carolina Assiociation of Naturalists
at the State Museum in Columbia. We met a lot of fellow naturalists and heard interesting presentations.
This organization has monthy field trips to natural areas in SC and nearby.
If all goes as planned, Win and I will be attending the annual meeting of
Southeast Partners in Amphibian
and Reptile Concervation (SEPARC) in February. Also,
in March, I am scheduled to speak to the
Coastal Carolina Herpetocultural Society's
monthly meeting in North Charleston.