2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

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frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 10th, 2014, 9:37 am

DISCLAIMER: sorry for the small flickr images....i blame flickr. CLick on the images for full res version. Thanks

I don't post a lot on here, but I guess I will fill y'all in on my year so far :)

My friend Ali and I decided we wanted to do more than just roadcruise this year, so we spent January and February driving all over the state, setting up flip sites and scouting new areas to herp. Boy would all this time, money, and effort pay off...

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My FOY herps were some Atlantic slimy salamanders and northern redback salamanders
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My FOY snake was a lifer for me...an Orange county, NC Queen Snake. This locale is the furthest east in NC that they are found. We found a couple more, then hit up the local vernals and found a bunch of marbled, spotted, and four-toed salamanders.

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I spent the month of March hunting down in GA with friends looking for an Eastern Diamondback. Alas, we found out we were cursed and on four separate trips we failed to find one (except for a yearling DOR). However, we did turn up a few gorgeous GA eastern hognose and two eastern indigo snakes (lifers)! The indigos were found on public land. Also got my lifer river frog and some 2-toed amphiumas

The larger and more stunning of the two indigos. This big female was every bit of 6 feet. Definitely one of the highlights of my year so far.
ImageDSC_2466 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

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GA hognose
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#2
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GA gator
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Second indigo
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River Frog
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Amphiuma
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GA corn
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Some shenanigans and candids from the GA trips
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After March, the spring rains came and in between snow storms, I occupied myself with birds (pics at the end) and frogs.

Spring peeper
ImageDSC_2850 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 10th, 2014, 9:39 am

It started to warm up and thus it was time to start getting down and dirty in NC. My first sandhills trip fo the year yielded me a pretty copperhead and my lifer (in hand) eastern coachwhip flipped at one of the sites we made this spring.

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I released him and he immediately started to periscope for me

ImageDSC_4174 (3) by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

A quick trip to the Uwharries to check on a timber den produced a mountain corn but no horridus
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Ali and I made a trip to the OBX, and boy did we strike gold. We got us a huge Dare county Alligator on film as well as my lifer getula...an Outerbanks Kingsnake (L. getula sticticeps)!!!!

ImageDSC_3803 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

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Another trip to the coast to look for an elusive rainbow snake produced a bunch of rat snakes, nerodia taxispilota and sipedon, cottonmouths, eastern ribbons (lifers), and 3 DOR rainbow snakes...what a gut wrencher.

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2 more trips to the same spots over the course of a month yielded one more DOR rainbow, some DOR mud snakes, copperheads, cottons, waters, rats, ribbons, a bunch of eastern kingsnakes (after I got my lifer, eastern kings just started falling out of the woodwork), many spotted turtles (my favorite turtle), and my lifer glossy crayfish snake (and a 150 mile range extension+county record)! I ended up seeing another glossy crayfish at the same spot a few weeks later and a DOR.

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lifer NC glossy cray! Wee little baby
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The glossy crayfish would be the start to one of the best weeks of my life. I found that snake on Sunday. The following Wednesday, I was itching to go herping and really wanted to see my FOY canebrake (my absolute favorite species of snake). I got out of work early and headed east to the coastal plains of NC. On the drive over, I got a call from the Dean of Admissions at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, saying I have been accepted into their School of Medicine. This made my year, as I know could achieve my dream of being a doctor :) Giddy as hell, I accepted the seat on the spot and continued my drive east. I stopped at my canebrake spot and on the first past turned up a DOR cane and hognose. A few more passes and nothing. For some reason, I was not feeling it and decided to ditch and head 1 more hour east to a new spot and try there. First past and I came across this BEAUTY. All 5' of her and 15 rattles to boot! I was over the moon!!

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ImageDSC_4359 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

After a few photos, I sent her on her way. I cruised into the night and found a bunch of Nerodia erythrogaster and fasciata. Two days later, Ali and I decided to head down to the Sandhills to try and see if my luck would follow. We found a few coppers and rats the first night and went to bed early. After flipping the next morning and turning up squat, we started roadcruising and on the first past we came across my lifer Southern hognose (and Ali's 4th)!!!

ImageDSC_4639 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

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We continued herping, finding some nerodia, cottons, ribbons, racers, etc. We dipnetted some Sandhills eurycea and Dwarf waterdogs, which is always cool. As night fell, we decided to hit up an isolated wetland. It paid off as the pine barrens tree frogs were calling en masse (about 3 dozen). We caught 2 in 30 min, took some pictures, and went back to the campsite to grab some sleep. On the way, we cruised up my lifer NC barking treefrog. Always good to add to the state list!!!!

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ImageDSC_4604_1 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

The next morning, we started cruising around 0900. First 100 yards on the road and we came across a big rat snake. A mile down the road we see another big black snake. As I get out of the car, Ali yells "PINE" and all madness breaks loose. I run over, see that it is indeed a pine, then start hugging Ali and jumping up and down. We both couldn't believe it...this snake has been #1 on our list and we had finally got one!!! We bagged it to be tagged for Nate Shepard's research and continued cruising. 30 min later, we see another large silvery snake crossing the road. No doubting this one. I basically jump through the window of Ali's car to get this snake....Pine #2. We were on cloud 9....a simus and 2 pines! WOW!

Pine #1 in situ
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Pine #2 in situ
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Both
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Tagging (both snakes were released where found afterwards)
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ImageDSC_4878 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

We cruised into dark in hopes of a carolina pygmy. This wasn't prime time, but we were cruising hard on a mile long stretch of road. As we were contemplating leaving, we saw this little guy making a bee-line for the solid white line. YES, pygmy!!!

ImageDSC_4921 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

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What a weekend, we ended up with 11 different species of snakes (including 2 pines, a simus, and a pygmy), and a bunch of amphibians including andersoni, gratiosa, and waterdogs! The sandhills of NC can kick your ass, but trips like this make all the blanking and time and effort worth it!

frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 10th, 2014, 9:39 am

The following weekend, we decided to hit up the OBX again for king snakes. We had a banner day, finding 7 different outerbanks king snakes...including a stunner!

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We also found my lifer eastern glass lizard and some corn snakes
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The next day we headed inland and had an insane day, turning up a few more kings and 3 "elaporalis" (coastal plains milks/SKs).
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The following weekend we went back to the Sandhills, turning up a coachwhip and this stunning little Scarlet Kingsnake

ImageDSC_4974 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

We decided on a whim to head back down to the coast to look for a rainbow. We found another DOR, and a canebrake, saltmarsh king, and some rats/ribbons/waters/cottons

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frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 10th, 2014, 9:40 am

Ali and I decided to shake things up, and do a mountain trip for sallies. In 2 days with the help of our friend Steve, we ended up finding 16 different species of salamanders, 8 species of snake, and 5 species of frog/toad. We failed finding our primary snake target, the eastern milk, alive...instead finding 3 DORs including one that was still writhing. :(

Our salamander highlights included hellbenders, green salamanders, Weller's salamanders, Yonahlossee's, Bat Cave Yonahlossee's, and Spring salamanders. Ali also added Wood frog to his life list and I added it to my state list.

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Green sallie
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This wraps up my mid-year update. I would like to thank everyone who has herped with us and shared some of these awesome finds. I'd also like to thank those that have helped us tremendously...without you, most of these finds wouldn't be possible. The list is too large to type, but you know who you are and I am eternally grateful :)

Now some birds and other stuff...lol

ImageDSC_3795 by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

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Flintdiver
Posts: 16
Joined: June 22nd, 2010, 5:27 am

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by Flintdiver » June 11th, 2014, 5:28 am

Thats a Big Bear ! Thats all I have to say...because I am speechless. You guy's rocked it for sure !! The OBX kings and CP milks rule. No mole kings , even DOR ? Nice job guys !

frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 11th, 2014, 5:00 pm

Mole kings are my nemesis snake. I turned up some DORs last year but nada this year so far. All my herping buddies have found a few this year already, either cruised or flipped....

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Noah M
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Location: Gainesville, FL
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Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by Noah M » June 11th, 2014, 7:50 pm

Yeah. This post is unbelievable!

You should put your finds in the HERP database. You have several nice finds. I'm still looking for a rainbow snake, but they are harder to turn up in Florida.

Philrezin1
Posts: 87
Joined: October 11th, 2012, 1:11 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by Philrezin1 » June 13th, 2014, 5:58 am

Damn, thats the kind of stuff that I dream about. Really don't know where to start. Eastern indigos, hellbenders, that coachwhip...... Seriously you guys are my heros! Makes me wish I wasn't going back to northern Illinois tomorrow :( If any of you are ever around IL or WI, or want to see snake road, message me! Phil

frogfish
Posts: 57
Joined: June 28th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Re: 2014 NC (and GA) mid-year update

Post by frogfish » June 30th, 2014, 1:46 pm

Thanks guys! Hard to imagine, but my last two weeks have been even better!!!!

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