End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

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brick911
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End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by brick911 » November 13th, 2013, 11:24 am

Hey guys,

I have a list of different threads I'm gonna start, spreading them out every few days. Each one will have a different theme. I would appreciate if you'd follow the rules (more like guidelines) just to keep it fun. eg. Ya know how people put up "Post your favorite picture of the year" threads, and people HAVE to put up like three pictures. Let's pay attention and try to stick to the rules. As winter creeps in, I will keep starting new threads and we can have fun with this while we look out the window at the leafless trees with tears in our eyes. If you have any ideas, feel free to PM me. Of course, I don't care if you start your own "themed" thread, but I was taking it upon myself to plan out these threads over the next few weeks as I have seen the forum die off along with the herping. *Don't let these "End of the Year" threads have any effect on any end of the year summary posts y'all were planning on doing. These will all have specific themes. I'm also hoping this will bring some of the non-posters out of the woodwork to share a photo or two. (You know who you are.). It's an opportunity to just share photos with peers, despite our herping/conservational differences. I don't mean to call you guys out and mean no offense. Just think about sharing here and there if you can with sound mind. I look forward to everyone's posts. Let's make this fun because its getting boring outside!

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Theme 1: Your Favorite FIND of the Year

1. One animal. As many photos as you want. NOT your favorite snake, and favorite salamander, and favorite frog. It's up to you to pick your favorite SINGLE find and post it.
2. Include a story with why this was your favorite find of the year.
3. You could have taken crappy pictures... again, this is not your best photo, but your favorite find (I will have a favorite photo thread upcoming.)
4. Make it interesting and tell a story, but be sure to use proper discretion as far as locality.
5. One more "suggestion" I'd like to make. Let's please try to let the posts start and stop in the thread. Please respect that people may not want to share anything more than what they post in the thread. eg. I may have found an albino coastal that I've been holding out on. Receiving a million PM's after I post it is gonna turn me off from posting in the first place. So please, think before you PM.

...Who's first to bite?

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Mike VanValen
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by Mike VanValen » November 13th, 2013, 1:00 pm

I have to admit that I didn't get in the field that often this year, so when I had a few free days in late August/early September I used that opportunity to visit some new locations. One of those locations was scouted for one species and one species only.

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The Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) has a spotty distribution in Connecticut and they continue to experience an overall decline. However, they can be quite numerous in micro-habitats and on the margins of this particular pond they outnumbered pickerel frogs. It wasn't but a few minutes before I spotted the first metallic green leopard frog (a lifer by the way) darting through the grass. From there I saw many more including brown individuals which are unique to this area of Litchfield County, CT.

I think back to over 20 years ago, and the memory is fuzzy now, but I believe I found a Northern Leopard Frog in an area of Connecticut where they no longer exist. It took me this long to get one because I have focused on other species but I'm glad I took the time this year to find them.

So while a leopard frog might seem trivial to some because it is one of those Northeast species that is abundant elsewhere, in Connecticut you have to put in work to find them.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by ThatFrogGuy » November 13th, 2013, 1:06 pm

As always this is tough...though this year I got to see lots of species probably considered "cooler" most weren't found directly by me. I'm going to go with my lifer Queen snake, because they are a species I've put in a lot of time for yet always come up empty handed. After flipping rocks for a half hour on a hot summer day in June, I finally flipped this old bruiser, and seconds later (of course) I found a juvenile swimming in the shallows.

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Queen Snake (Regina septemvittata) by Zach Truelock, on Flickr

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by MarcLinsalata » November 13th, 2013, 2:17 pm

Every Sunday from about late March to mid September I would drive a minimum 160 + miles from home to herp until Monday night sleeping on the side of the road, rest stops, gas stations and sometimes I would treat myself to a Palm Springs motel looking for Western Diamondback rattlesnakes which are found basically on the other side of California from me. You can seemingly trip over them in Arizona, but I wanted to find one in California. Why? I don't know. But it became an obsession with me. I found lifer after lifer but no Atrox. Finally, after a trip to Vegas for week 1 football where it rained heavily for two days in the whole region I decided to drive home to LA the LOOONNNGGG way down to Laughlin then coming back through Eastern Riverside county to hit a spot I had discovered earlier in the summer. The flooded desert from previous weeks had the county close down this particular road but I bypassed the ROAD CLOSED signs anyway in hopes of finding some critters. The first trip gave me a baby sidewinder about 30 seconds in, some geckos, and a horned lizard. I almost continued home to hit up some more roads but decided on one more pass. After photoing a tarantula I continued on and BOOM I couldn't believe what was before me......
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I hit the brakes and collected myself because my brain was screaming "Holy @&^$!! There it is!!" But I ran down what else it could be although definitely a crote. Red-Diamond? No. Sidewinder? No. Speck? It might be a speck but please let it be my....................

Atrox!!!!
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Definitely my favorite find of the year. To accomplish a goal that you set out to do, and finding your goal by yourself at a spot you found by yourself is really rewarding.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by mike h » November 13th, 2013, 3:11 pm

March 16th... 32° F... we were just out walking through a potential new place that is only about 4 mniles from our back door. We were cold and surely didn't expect to see any herps. Certainly not a reptile.

We had found a deceased Eastern Garter Snake (thamnophis s. sirtalis) near a bulldozed pile. We thought that maybe a den had been upset. Down the hill from that spot, Andrea said, "I hope this one isn't dead". She had found another Garter, and this one was alive!
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DSCN3805 by ZantiMissKnit, on Flickr
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Garter snake at 32 degrees!!! by ZantiMissKnit, on Flickr

I stuck him down my shirt to warm him up. A family was walking by and we showed them our frozen serpent. The young boy named him Sly.

Sly was not only our first snake of the year, but probably my favorite. He was such a wonderful surprise and he warmed my heart on that cold, cold day.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by davhug1 » November 13th, 2013, 3:30 pm

Hadnt found a copperhead all year, finally on a august day, got some help from a friend and i flipped a couple, though i couldnt really count that officially, i hit an area where i found numerous spieces but no coppers, but they are abundant in the area, as luck would have it, i finally hit pay dirt and found one in the rocks. Ended up seeing a few more that day. After that day i found the confidence to lift rocks safely, without harming the snake or getting myself bit.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by davhug1 » November 13th, 2013, 3:30 pm

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ChadHarrison
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by ChadHarrison » November 13th, 2013, 4:09 pm

One of my buddies went out really late to go see if we could possibly see an Eastern Massasauga before I left for my summer internship. With two hours of sleep under my belt, a little bit of a hang over, and the head-high Big Blue Stem and Indian Grasses obstructing our view. I was starting to get discouraged after an entire morning of seeing none. 26 eastern box turtles later, on my last ounce of energy as we were about to call it a day, I look down and see this incredible beast looking up at me.

Eastern Massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus catenatus)
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If you haven't seen my donation to help the endangered snake, read all about it here:
http://www.gofundme.com/5028t8

Thanks!

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kyle loucks
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by kyle loucks » November 13th, 2013, 5:43 pm

I was fortunate enough to add a few lifers to my list this year and I had a great time
finding different things on the NAFHA trip this year. But one of my favorite finds this
year was actually a common animal. One of my quests this year is to find an eastern
earth snake in Pennsylvania. I have spent many hours doing research and field surveys,
and my quest continues. One of the properties I have searched has yielded a county
record five lined skink and several other animals making it one of my favorite destinations,
that I believe will eventually provide me with Virginia valeriae. That being said, one of
my favorite animals at this site was this little Black Racer. Color was unique.

Here it is as found...
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After it discovered my presence, it gave me the big boy posture.

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Then after a few more shots, it curled up on its own under a bush. I was able to get some closeups
without it moving.

Posed on its own...

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Such a cool experience.

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intermedius
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by intermedius » November 13th, 2013, 7:45 pm

Pretty abundant but still really unique nonetheless

In florida, i never really had much time to go herping since we'd focus on other matters. But i had done my homework and hit a spot right before a t-storm was coming. I was hoping for at least a few watersnakes. It was our fifth round back, we were just about to call it a night when i spotted something slither onto the road. I flipped out in shock then bursted out of the car (not what my parents wanted me to do) only to find this.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by cbernz » November 13th, 2013, 8:28 pm

I grew up in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in the 1980's, in a grungy lower-middle-class neighborhood that is now one of the most expensive and desirable locations in the country. The only herps I saw were painted turtles and green frogs in the pond at Prospect Park, and the garter snakes I found on occasional visits to my grandparents' garden in Massachusetts. My mother had an old hardcover copy of Peterson's Reptiles and Amphibians of the East from the 1960's - it was the first field guide I remember really getting into. I used to read it practically every day. I loved leafing through it and imagining some bright future where I would be a professional biologist, traveling the country and finding every single species in the book. I dreamed of colorful snakes and multitudes of chorusing frogs, but the one animal I couldn't really wrap my mind around was the Hellbender. The fact that such a bizarre animal could exist at all was baffling, but the fact that it existed in my country, within a few hundred miles of my house, was totally unthinkable. I used to stare and stare at that muddy, black-and-white picture like you might stare at a photo of a UFO. There was nothing in the universe I wanted more than to find one.

Eventually, we moved to suburban NJ and bought a car, and I gradually became acquainted with the frogs, salamanders, snakes, turtles, and lizards that I had only ever seen in books. We took family nature trips to VA, NC, FL, and AZ, and saw all kinds of great animals. My obsession with finding a Hellbender, however, never dimmed. I made a list a while back, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, ranking the American herps I most wanted to find. I had a tough time ranking some of my favorites, like Alligator Snapper, Mexican Burrowing Toad, Speckled Racer, and Florida Worm Lizard, but Hellbender was so obviously at the top of my list that it was almost a waste of ink to even write it down. Once I graduated from college and got my own car, I took my own trips to VA, NC, and PA looking for Hellbenders. I put in a lot of hours standing in frigid water, flipping huge rocks by myself until my fingers were numb. As I walked around in Hellbender habitat, I felt both exhilaration and fear: exhilaration at knowing that somewhere, possibly within my field of vision, there were unseen Hellbenders lurking in the rocky depths, and a tingling fear in the back of my mind that I would flip a Hellbender and it would get away - that I would drop a rock on my foot, that I would reach for the salamander and get bitten or lose it in my grasp, or that I would be temporarily paralyzed by the outright shock of finding my lifelong goal. I knew Hellbenders existed, but unconsciously I didn't really believe that I could find one - they still existed in my mind as this quixotic dream-animal I read about in books as a child. I enjoyed every minute I spent searching, but I always felt a degree of relief when it was time to go. Coming home empty-handed was disappointing, but the thought of getting a fleeting glimpse of a Hellbender before it slipped away from me forever was far worse.

So, this May I led some friends down to the southern Appalachians to look for salamanders. Of course, Hellbender-searching was on the agenda, but we were going to focus more on woodland and stream-edge species, and tried to keep realistic expectations. I was so convinced we wouldn't see one that even before the trip I was already planning a subsequent trip to WV later in the summer specifically to look for Hellbenders.

On day 2 of our trip, we were at a stream in far southwestern NC, in the depths of the Nantahala National Forest. This was a spot I had been to in 2005 and searched pretty hard for Hellbenders. Three of my friends were new to the area and to salamanders in general, so I started flipping half-submerged rocks looking for a nice, fat Blackbellied Salamander. I tend to find these under flat rocks that are half on shore and half in the water, and you have to be really quick to catch them before they dive into the torrent. The water this year was really high, so the few good rocks I was finding were fairly big and fairly deep. It wasn't long before I flipped a welcome-mat-sized rock and saw a huge form slink away from me into the muck. I knew what it was right away, and instantly all those fears came into my head - I had just found my Hellbender, and I just watched it get away from me! I sat down in the water, propping the huge rock up with my knee, hyperventilating, as I plunged my hands into the mud and gravel swirling around in the eddy created by the lifted rock. I was breathing so fast I couldn't even say the word "Hellbender," but I managed to simultaneously curse my fate and pray to God that I didn't lose this animal. At one point, I felt it - soft, supple, and slimy - but when I grabbed blindly at it, my hands were too far back on the body and it slipped out. By this time, my friend Chris had come over to hold the rock for me, but I was pretty sure this fight was over. I had discovered already how extremely difficult it is to grip a Hellbender, and I still couldn't see into the water. The one saving grace was that it was a slow-moving animal, and I had it sort of cornered against some large boulders. I made one more desperate plunge into the murk, saw a dim shape moving, guessed where the head might be, and went for it...

My friend Fred was downstream a bit at the time this all happened. He could tell from my body language that I was trying to catch a Hellbender, but when I emerged from the water, screaming at the top of my lungs like a maniac, he thought I had failed to catch it. He, like the rest of us, was pleasantly surprised when he saw this:
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This was not my favorite find of this year. This was the culmination of a lifelong dream, and without any exaggeration the single greatest thrill of my life. The only find that could possibly equal this for me would be a Japanese Giant Salamander, and the only thing that could exceed it would be an Ivory-billed Woodpecker or a Golden Toad. Maybe this seems silly or overly dramatic, or maybe it is totally relatable. All I know is that the Hellbender represents the very core of all that I love about animals, and all that is bizarre and mysterious about the natural world.

Sorry about the long post, but you said you wanted a story...

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by sstaedtler » November 13th, 2013, 9:12 pm

This wasn't my favorite herp, but it might have been my favorite find. On a trip to the Poconos, I took the one free day I had and traveled into New York. I think I drove through 8 or 9 counties herping that day, but on the way home, I had planned at stopping at my Mom's best friend's house for dinner in Susquehanna County. I used to go there as a kid, as they live on a farm, and have a pond on their property. Back then, I found red-backed and Spotted salamanders. I also found a Slimy Salamander and red spotted newts there only one time. Anyway, I hadn't visited them in a long time, at it was 5PM on an early August night. I was exhausted, but decided to make a brief salamander check behind the pond before dinner there, and found this Jefferson Salamander. What made it neat is that this was a county record in Susquehanna County, the first recording of a Jefferson in this county in recent history...(according to PA Atlas project). Anyway, it just was cool because it was completely unexpected and on private property of someone I know well - it's hard to even find where they live on a map!


Image

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by SAGlines » November 14th, 2013, 4:34 am

Great finds everyone!!
My favorite find this year was a mother Timber with her babies (lifers). I took a trip down to PA with some friends purely to go herping. It was 6+ hour drive. I left my house at 3:30 am and got home the next day at 2:30 am. It was a long ride and a long day, but it was totally worth it. We were on a rocky hillside looking for timbers. I was looking in crevices and flipping rocks, when I saw a little baby timber back in between two rocks. When I flipped it, there was a beautiful yellow phase Timber with about 10 babies. Image

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by incuhead2000 » November 14th, 2013, 4:58 am

Oh boy flipping timbers....this thread is about to get nasty. :crazyeyes: I strongly recommend against flipping dens, it's not only bad for the snakes but could be really bad for the flipper.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by incuhead2000 » November 14th, 2013, 5:11 am

Well there are a lot of things that make the Oak toad one of my favorite finds. It was such a great experience to herp with my Mom, Dad, Twin Brother and his girlfriend on this warm Florida evening. The fact that these little toads are so tiny, cute and they were calling like crazy just made it a cool experience and reminds me why I love herping and seeing these animals do what they do, rather than just flipping them.

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I tried to get the spider in the pic just for a size comparison.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by snakemastermyke » November 14th, 2013, 1:54 pm

Favorite Snake find of 2013: Black File Snake (Mehelya nyassae)
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Favorite Lizard find of 2013: Juvenile Pachydactylus vansoni
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The Jake-Man
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by The Jake-Man » November 14th, 2013, 2:41 pm

This is my lifer wehrle's salamander, flipped during a downpour under one of the flagstone steps up to the porch of our cabin in Northern Pennsylvania. Before this year I had almost no experience finding salamanders, and I chalked this one up as a species I probably wouldn't find unless I spent a lot of time looking. When I found it, I actually thought it was just a large lead back, and I released it without a photo before looking at my peterson field guide, realizing it wasn't a lead back, and flipping it again under the same rock for a voucher.

Unfortunately, just a cell phone pic.

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by herper1 » November 14th, 2013, 6:52 pm

Every year I get stumped on this question. I added 8 lifers this year that included some really cool and fairly rare stuff but I keep coming back to one find. I took a trip in July to coastal NC. My main goal was a Redbelly Water snake. I had seen pictures of them and they just looked really cool. I was only going to be in their range for a short time and (I think I told this story before but I will tell it again) I hiked down a trail in 90+ temperatures. The trail did not go as close to the swampy areas as I had expected so because of the heat and the lack of water i decided to turn around and go to the beach fpr a swim. After turning around and starting back I found a Redbelly stretched accross the path I had just walked down. It was just that easy! The snake was friendly and cooperative. I just think it is such a cool snake after spending a lifetime seeing Northern Waters.
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davhug1
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by davhug1 » November 14th, 2013, 6:54 pm

herper1 wrote:Every year I get stumped on this question. I added 8 lifers this year that included some really cool and fairly rare stuff but I keep coming back to one find. I took a trip in July to coastal NC. My main goal was a Redbelly Water snake. I had seen pictures of them and they just looked really cool. I was only going to be in their range for a short time and (I think I told this story before but I will tell it again) I hiked down a trail in 90+ temperatures. The trail did not go as close to the swampy areas as I had expected so because of the heat and the lack of water i decided to turn around and go to the beach fpr a swim. After turning around and starting back I found a Redbelly stretched accross the path I had just walked down. It was just that easy! The snake was friendly and cooperative. I just think it is such a cool snake after spending a lifetime seeing Northern Waters.
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i hope to see more varities of nerodias when i hit nc in the spring

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kyle loucks
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by kyle loucks » November 15th, 2013, 1:24 pm

I hope to do NC in the spring as well.

davhug1
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by davhug1 » November 15th, 2013, 2:59 pm

kyle loucks wrote:I hope to do NC in the spring as well.
Cool, I have a target list already, number one being the cottonmouth

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Tim Borski
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by Tim Borski » November 16th, 2013, 7:57 am

Excellent, excellent stories/encounters of favorite finds! :thumb:

I particularly liked cbernz/Hellbender and Mike H/garter...the rest are really great too!
I'm enjoying them all, thanks for sharing.

Tim

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by Tim Borski » November 16th, 2013, 2:05 pm

wow, 'killed another thread here. :oops:

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Jared Cain
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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by Jared Cain » November 16th, 2013, 9:04 pm

My favorite find so far this year was this Spotted Salamander. They were a lifer for me last year in Maryland and since I was not working in MD this year I really wanted to find them near where I was working, living and grew up in WV. I went road cruising a couple of times in the early spring when conditions were right and the Wood Frogs started coming out with no luck. My dad had told me they unearthed this huge salamander years ago out in the country near the first house I lived in. Of course the size was exaggerated and the description vague but I kept it in the back of my mind. So one night I am tossing a few back with a friend and the conditions outside start getting good for the early amphibians to come out. We ended up giving my friends mom a call and getting her to go ridge running. She is a cool, backwoods lady so she was totally down :D Now that we found a sober ride we packed up some provisions ;) and started heading out to the area my dad was talking about. We were checking all the little pools we heard Spring Peepers in but no Spotted Sals. We finally get to the road we need to be on and start creeping down it. We hear some peepers in a very small pool that down a small hill along side of the road. This pool/pond is really small, few cattails and just doesnt look that great. It was too far away to get a good look in it from the jeep so we start walking down to it. I get up near the edge and a Spotted dives for it! I am absolutely thrilled and really happy we didnt decide to skip this "not so great looking" spot! We saw five and ended up being able to catch this one for a super crappy photo since I left my camera batteries at home :cry:
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408774_10200824727409300_137392709_n by Cain304, on Flickr

After we found those we kept looking for other spots. We found a lot of other nice looking spots but no Spotteds.

I had went back to that spot other times throughout the year trying to see if I could find anymore or possibly see this small pool absolutely filled with them. The newts definitely loved it after it warmed up a bit but didnt see any spotteds again in the pool or flipped around the area. There were some egg masses one night but not really many of them. I am guessing they are probably breeding elsewhere in that area. I hope at least. It would be a shame if this mini pond was once large and now the population in that spot is declining because of the breeding site getting really small. Anyway, I am just "thinking out loud".

Ive had a pretty good year in WV and FL and this is definitely the find I got the most excited for!

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by MattSullivan » November 18th, 2013, 7:50 am

im holding out posting here hoping i can still get a tiger sal...haha :thumb:

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Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by ZantiMissKnit » November 18th, 2013, 11:57 am

Okay, there is no way I could ever have posted anything else but this.

In July 2011, Mike and I were photographing some small toads by the shore of a pond. We both saw it at the same time; coiled under a bush, dark brown and orange/yellow markings, thick body, keeled scales...WTF. There were only two things it could have been...nope, not really. The habitat isn't right for timbers.

Then it disappeared, and we were left saying, "OH, FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF..."

We kept returning to the area, which, in addition to not giving us our target, was barely giving us ANY snakes at all. We swore off the place a couple of times. Every time we went there, we would leave defeated. We even found a different spot in the same park that we thought would be PERFECT, but found nothing but a recently disturbed hives of bees that chased us out of there.

We learned of another spot for this target species, two hours away from us, and left THAT spot several times, defeated.

We kept asking why we were DOING this to ourselves. Okay, I was. I can't speak for Mike. He was just despondent.

Late summer, we tried again. We looked, of course, under the same bush we saw the first one under and found nothing. We roadcruised the park a bit, and found a DOR hatchling racer and a DOR smooth green.

We went back to the spot where the bees had chased us before, for the first time since 2011. We were, in fact, on the same path in almost the exact spot the hive was (and we discussing that), when we both stopped in our tracks.

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HOE.
LEE.
SHE.
IT.

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A few things I remember from the encounter: Mike asking me, "What is your heart doing right now?" and me answering, "I -- I think it's beating" and me telling the snake, repeatedly, "You're beautiful!".

As you can see, it wasn't impressed with us. However, it did not play dead and poop, so I have that going for me.

I know we're supposed to only pick one individual animal, but you know what? This is too crazy to not post. After finding that hognose, we went and got some lunch (Subway FTW), and came back to hit a few more spots in this park. About four hours (almost EXACTLY) after that first hognose, we were walking along a sandy path, and Mike yelled, "I almost stepped on this hatchling hognose!"

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This is the polar opposite of "Lamest lifer". I think it would be "MOST EPIC LIFER EVER".

davhug1
Posts: 125
Joined: November 30th, 2012, 1:12 pm
Location: lackawanna county

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by davhug1 » November 18th, 2013, 6:15 pm

ZantiMissKnit wrote:Okay, there is no way I could ever have posted anything else but this.

In July 2011, Mike and I were photographing some small toads by the shore of a pond. We both saw it at the same time; coiled under a bush, dark brown and orange/yellow markings, thick body, keeled scales...WTF. There were only two things it could have been...nope, not really. The habitat isn't right for timbers.

Then it disappeared, and we were left saying, "OH, FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF..."

We kept returning to the area, which, in addition to not giving us our target, was barely giving us ANY snakes at all. We swore off the place a couple of times. Every time we went there, we would leave defeated. We even found a different spot in the same park that we thought would be PERFECT, but found nothing but a recently disturbed hives of bees that chased us out of there.

We learned of another spot for this target species, two hours away from us, and left THAT spot several times, defeated.

We kept asking why we were DOING this to ourselves. Okay, I was. I can't speak for Mike. He was just despondent.

Late summer, we tried again. We looked, of course, under the same bush we saw the first one under and found nothing. We roadcruised the park a bit, and found a DOR hatchling racer and a DOR smooth green.

We went back to the spot where the bees had chased us before, for the first time since 2011. We were, in fact, on the same path in almost the exact spot the hive was (and we discussing that), when we both stopped in our tracks.

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HOE.
LEE.
SHE.
IT.

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A few things I remember from the encounter: Mike asking me, "What is your heart doing right now?" and me answering, "I -- I think it's beating" and me telling the snake, repeatedly, "You're beautiful!".

As you can see, it wasn't impressed with us. However, it did not play dead and poop, so I have that going for me.

I know we're supposed to only pick one individual animal, but you know what? This is too crazy to not post. After finding that hognose, we went and got some lunch (Subway FTW), and came back to hit a few more spots in this park. About four hours (almost EXACTLY) after that first hognose, we were walking along a sandy path, and Mike yelled, "I almost stepped on this hatchling hognose!"

Image

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This is the polar opposite of "Lamest lifer". I think it would be "MOST EPIC LIFER EVER".
outstanding photos and narrative, I was real happy for you guys when you first posted.

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AndyA1031
Posts: 9
Joined: November 19th, 2013, 11:19 am
Location: Maryland

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by AndyA1031 » November 25th, 2013, 7:29 am

Hi everyone - just joined the forum and this is my first post! I had a lot of really great finds this year but one that stands out and was unique for me was actually out in New Mexico. Although I had been out to the Southwest before, this was the first time that I could really get out and do some hard herping. I was hoping for rattlesnakes, but they had eluded me for the whole trip (although I did get some great snake species). I real diversity, however, was in the lizards - most of the spots I had visited was chock full of them. My favorite find had to be the Eastern collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris). I had wanted to see one of these guys in the wild for a very long time and they quickly became one of my favorite lizards that I've found. They're fairly large with great coloration, pose well for the camera, and have unique personalities. My favorite individual was this male (the largest I found) that gave me a run for my money before I was able to grab him. Then he expressed his sentiment by grabbing me.

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AndyA1031
Posts: 9
Joined: November 19th, 2013, 11:19 am
Location: Maryland

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by AndyA1031 » November 25th, 2013, 7:35 am

So I guess my images didn't get onto the post - is there a specific file or website I need to use for my pictures?

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Jared Cain
Posts: 221
Joined: September 18th, 2012, 6:39 pm
Location: FL/WV

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by Jared Cain » November 25th, 2013, 8:04 am

AndyA1031 wrote:So I guess my images didn't get onto the post - is there a specific file or website I need to use for my pictures?

Welcome to the forum! You can upload your photos on flickr.com or photobucket and then copy the IMG code into your post :thumb:

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paturtlelover
Posts: 79
Joined: December 5th, 2010, 10:23 am

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by paturtlelover » November 26th, 2013, 1:45 am

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This year I found 10+ lifers and Copperheads were my favorite

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BashHarris
Posts: 19
Joined: June 3rd, 2012, 3:21 pm

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by BashHarris » December 2nd, 2013, 9:09 pm

There was a thread on here a while back where we listed our goals of the year. Although I ended up finding many lifers (such as hoggies, milks, smooth greens, musk turtles, etc.), I put a "lehigh county brown snake" as my goal. They hadn't been found in my home county in over a decade. But I researched it a whole lot, read reports over and over, but kept coming up short all year. Back in October, I found two Lehigh County Browns, but they were dead. One was a relatively fresh DOR, probably just minutes before I got back to my car... Fast forward a few weeks, I was taking a walk with my lady around the park, and I spotted a Garter. Then another, and another, and another. 5 Garters all together. As we were wrangling them all, Katie told me she found another, a "cute baby snake". I looked over while taming the ball of garters for a photo, and to my surprise, it was more than a cute baby snake. It was a live Lehigh County Brown snake... I'd take any November serpent, but to think my goal of the year was accomplished this late, it was a real treat!
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axeman2729
Posts: 445
Joined: November 5th, 2012, 2:10 pm
Location: Cranberry township, PA

Re: End of the Year 2013... #1 - FAVORITE FIND

Post by axeman2729 » December 3rd, 2013, 8:24 am

eastern spadefoot
Okay this was not in the northeast but it is still my favorite find of the year. I found this guy in Beaufort county, South Carolina, at the resort I was staying at, which I thought was a little odd as you would think a rare herp would be found where less people were at.
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