SC Reptiles and Amphibians


September 2008

Gene's Notes:

The rains we received in August did not make the streams flow again, but they did allow the grasses and flowers to burst forth in growth. It is very nice not to hear the lawn grasses cracking underneath one's every step.

On September 2nd, I attended a seminar in Newberry, SC. On my way home I stopped at a boat ramp on the backwaters of Lake Murray. A pair of Gulf Fritillary Butterflies were mating (right). Further along, I found a pasture full of cattle and Cattle Egrets (below).

On Tuesday morning, September 09th, while mowing the lawn, I saw a single Wood Stork fly overhead and alight at the farm pond. Win was still at his home, so I called him to get his camera. Win snapped an interesting image of the juvenile Wood Stork feeding (left).

Wednesday afternoon, September 12th, I spotted a young Black Racer (below) on our garden door stoop. The next day, I found an adult Black Rat Snake near the vegetable garden.

On Friday afternoon, September 19th, I caught an image of a Fire Ant attacking a Velvet Ant(right).

Wednesday, September 24th, my wife and I traveled to Garden City, SC, to spend a few days with a cousin. The weather was nice going down, but the next day a subtropical storm hit the area. All day high winds and rain pelted the beach house. A juvenile Double-crested Cormorant (below, left) tried to dry its feathers on a pier. Friday, the weather cleared and warmed. On the beach, a juvenile Laughing Gull (below, right) rested a few moments.

On Saturday morning, September 27th, I drove inland to Woods Bay State Natural Area to participate in a bioblitz. I joined with about two dozen other members of the South Carolina Association of Naturalists (SCAN). The weather was clear and warm. I found a few interesting herps, but not as many as I had hoped I would. The most interesting observation was of Mud Snake egg nests. Park personnel had found four or five nests located adjacent to the educational building. The nests were scooped out in the sandy soil. When first discovered, a couple of the nests were covered by females coiled atop the eggs. I believe the snakes were slightly below surrounding soil surface level. By the time I saw the nests, all adult snakes were gone and several dozen eggs had hatched. I did manage to get a picture of one baby crawling from its egg (right).

I spent Saturday night in Lake City. On my way from the park to my motel, I did a little after dark road cruising. I found two locations each with two adult Copperheads within a 100 feet from one another. With each pair, one snake was dead from being run over. With one pair, the other snake was alive. With the other pair, the second snake was dying.

I returned to the park on Sunday morning for the wrap up of the bioblitz. On my way back to Garden City in the afternoon I did some more road cruising. I saw a couple more DOR Copperheads and a DOR Canebrake Rattlesnake.

October 31, 2008
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