SC Reptiles and Amphibians


June 2009

Gene's Notes:

On June 3rd, Win caught a juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle and a juvenile Yellowbelly Slider. He used the turtles in a herp presentation in a couple days.

On the morning of June 4th, I captured a good image of Barn Swallow feeding her fledglings. In the afternoon, Win brought home a collection of emerging frogs that he found in live fish tanks used for transporting fingerlings to local lakes. Win's four-year-old son, Wolf, got a thrill seeing them. We did not make positive IDs for all, but it looked like a mixture of Barking Treefrogs, Green Treefrogs, Southern Leopard Frogs, and Eastern Narrow-mouthed Toads.

juvenile Eastern Painted Turtle Chrysemys p. picta
and Yellowbelly Slider Trachemys s. scripta
various emerging frogs

On June 6th, Win found a large Eastern (Black) Rat Snake in McCormick County.

On June 7th, I made some photos of local lizards, including a good image of a male Green Anole.

On June 8th, I visited Greenwood State Park. I was hoping to see a Brown Water Snake. However, I only saw a couple of Northern Water Snakes. Brown Water Snakes have been extending their range into the Piedmont in recent years. After leaving the park, I visited the tail race from the Lake Greenwood Dam. I did not see any snakes, but I did get some good images of juvenile Northern Rough-wing Swallows.

That evening, as darkness decented upon my wife's flower garden, we watched the Evening Primrose flowers open. I made a series of images shown below.

On June 10th, I did some heavy mowing around the farm. While mowing around some Blackberry thickets, I flushed a hen Wild Turkey from her nest. The nest contained two eggs. Later, the hen returned to her nest, but much of its hiding cover had been taken away by the mower. A check several days later showed the eggs were missing.

male Green Anole showing dewlap, Anolis carolinensis

On Saturday, June 13th, Win was showing a guest around the farm about 6 pm when he found two large Eastern (Black) Rat Snakes mating in the cut grass near the chicken coop. Driving further on to the tomato garden, he came upon a large River Cooter laying eggs.

On Sunday, June 14th, I took my other grandson, Weston (almost 6), looking for herps on the farm. We found several Fowler's Toads. Under a board we found a small Eastern Worm Snake that was in molt. This little snake had only a stub for a tail.

On Monday, June 15th, during the heat of the day, about 5 pm, I found a large female River Cooter on the road near our driveway. Because it was so large, I decided to capture it for measuring and photographing. It ran so fast that I had to flip it on its back before I could grasp it. Further up the road, under boiling sun, I found a large male Eastern (Black) Rat Snake crossing the road. I captured it also. I called Win to let him know what luck I had. He said he would use them in a herp presentation the next day. I drove around some more but did not find anything else. When I took a look at the Rat Snake back home, I saw it had an injured left eye. The next day I released these specimens.

Snake activity slowed considerably during the second half of the month. The weather was hot and dry. I saw a couple of Black Racers on the road. While cutting my lawn, I found a large shed snake skin (below) by the electrical transformer. Win had another herp presentation for which I caught a couple of lizards. We have many Fence Lizards and Skinks in the flower beds around the house. All of my grandchildren love to catch lizards and toads when they stay over.

Most of my later images which I made were of birds and arthropods. I found a Black Vulture (below) cleaning its beak on the top of a power pole.

July 09, 2009
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