Georgia Winter 2015

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
noah k.
Posts: 229
Joined: November 3rd, 2011, 4:27 pm

Georgia Winter 2015

Post by noah k. » March 23rd, 2015, 6:15 pm

Hey guys! I've been busy this Winter, but that certainly doesn't mean I haven't been herping! I have been all over the state of Georgia so far this year, and I'll do my best to get these finds into the database.

The first outing I made after the conclusion of my last post was to the fall line sandhills of Georgia. It was warm enough that Daniel and I hoped to get our first snake of 2015, but only a few amphibians were seen.

Mole Salamander

This was actually my first in Georgia.

Image

Some habitat from the day.

Image

Image

The next few weeks were slow and for the most part very cold. I made sure to take advantage of the warmer days. Here are a few animals seen, mostly Coweta County Georgia.

By late January Spotted Salamanders and their eggs were everywhere.

Image

Image

Image

Southern Red-backed Salamander

Image

I spent quite a bit of time learning to use my new camera, and non-herps made great practice subjects.

Tricolored Bats

Image

Chatahoochee Sculpin

Image

Burrowing Scarab

Image

Southern Unstriped Scorpion

Image

Virginia Opossum

Image

Late early February saw the beginning of Pseudacris breeding.

Upland Chorus Frog. These two clung together as I was photographing them.

Image

Image

Mountain Chorus Frog

Image

Nice spotted found looking for chorus frogs.

Image

Image

Upland Chorus Frog egg mass.

Image

Southern Two-lined Salamander

Image

Image

I was fortunate enough to spend the last day of February up in Northwest Georgia visiting Frick's Cave. This cave is only open one day of the year to protect the Gray Bats that congregate in mass here in the summer. Several species of bats were seen in the cave, and we were careful not to disturb them while taking photos.

Gray Bat

Image

Big Brown Bats

Image

This cave is a known white nose syndrome location and many of the bats inside were suffering from the condition. This tricolor had a particularly severe case. Compare to the Gray Bat pictured above, which has a mild case.

Image

Two of the largest Red Salamanders I've ever seen were found deep within the cave.

Image

I found a lifer in this cave in the form of the Cave Salamander.

Image

Image

When we exited the cave, there was still 2in of snow on the ground from a storm that had passed through a few days prior. Temperatures were in the high 40's and we decided to swing by a local area that I've always wanted to visit. On the way to the spot I looked down at my feet and could hardly believe my eyes! There was an Eastern Garter Snake sitting in a patch of sunlight, Daniel and I's first snake of 2015!

Image

Image

We finally arrived at a rock wall with a waterfall crashing over the top. Those familiar with the area will know exactly where I am talking about! We soon began scouring cracks for our target just as the sun dipped behind the mountain, and temperatures began to plummet. Just as I was beginning to give up hope of finding our target, I spotted my lifer Pigeon Mountain Salamander! A day I'll never forget.

Image

Back home, spring was in full swing as the first of March rolled around. The amphibians were going crazy.

Spotted Salamander eggs

Image

Helgramite

Image

Bufo eggs.

Image

Eastern Newt

Image

Marbled Salamander

Image

I spent a particularly warm weekend exploring some granite rock outcrops in Coweta county. Not many herps were seen but it was fun.

Self Portrait

Image

Red Salamander flipped nearby.

Image

Granite Outcrop

Image

I recently spent 5 days down in south Georgia with friends and family for my annual spring break trip. Weather was extremely cooperative, and we saw more snakes than I have ever seen in one trip and even believed possible in Georgia. It was a fun time as usual, people involved were Daniel Thompson, Saunders Drukker (who has a nice vlog of the trip up on his YouTube), Chance Feimster, and Josh Young.

After a mess of transportation issues delayed us, we finally arrived at our first stop along the Altamaha river in coastal Georgia a little past midnight.

Image

We had a crazy night for shining well after midnight. The first snake of the trip was this little Brown Watersnake.

Image

I also got a chance to photograph some River Frogs and their huge tadpoles.

Image

Image

Spadefoot Toad

Image

Several juvenile Sliders were found sleeping in debris.

Image

Rough Green Snakes were everywhere, here's a few pulled from one tree.

Image

Image

The first of more than 40 Banded Watersnakes seen throughout the trip.

Image

The first of several Cottonmouths to come was also seen.

Image

The highlight of the night for me was this gorgeous Red-bellied Water.

Image

Eventually we had to get a little sleep, as we planned on meeting up with Josh in the morning.

Image

Image

We hit a local spot that morning but failed to turn anything up. We decided to head over to a road I knew of nearby to see if we could have some luck over there. We split up and about ten minutes later Josh called and informed us he found a diamondback just up the road!

Image

Image

Image

After that, temperatures dropped fairly quick so we decided to head over to one of Josh's spots in north Florida.

Barking Treefrog

Image

A few trapped Two-toed Amphiumas we rescued.

Image

Massive Greater Siren, easily thicker than my forearm.

Image

Cottonmouth

Image

Amphiuma

Image

Black Swamp Snake

Image

We crashed at Josh's place for the night, and in the morning headed towards Okefenokee where we'd spend the next three days.

We stopped for a few roadside carnivorous plants.

Image

Sundew

Image

The first day in Okefenokee was slow, overcast and a bit cool. The first find was my first Racer of 2015, always a welcome find for me.

Image

Image

Also saw a more fasciata, these little ones were absolutely everywhere.

Image

We didn't have much time before dark, and like I said before it was cool so not much was on the road after dark. We got a few garters and waters.

Image

Cottonmouth

Image

Little Grass Frog

Image

Things got much better on Saturday! The sun came out for periods and the overall temperature was much higher. We visited one of my favorite spots in the Okefenokee region and were able to turn up quite a few awesome animals.

Pinewoods Treefrog

Image

Racer

Image

We found two gorgeous juvenile Corn Snakes, a species Saunders wanted to see in the wild for the first time.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Even better than the above was this Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake, the first one I've seen from the swamp. From what I hear they're very hit or miss in the area, we were lucky enough to find two.

Image

Another highlight of the day was getting to meet some fellow forum members! Daniel and Michael Dye, Ashley Tubbs, Dale Wilson, and Justin Oguni were also spending the weekend in the swamp. It was awesome to meet them, and I wish we would've had more time in the field together.

That night turned up the usual assortment of garters and waters along with my first Georgia Ribbon Snake (har har laugh away). Meanwhile the others were busy finding BOTH species of crayfish snake on the same road as us! Congrats on those guys, our group was super jealous!

Image

Image

Sunday was our last day of the trip, and even though we had already had some great finds, I still felt unsatisfied. Did I have an inner sense of what was to come? Or was I just being greedy?

Anyways, we headed to one of the most beautiful places in the Georgia, maybe even the world, in hopes of turning up our last rattlesnake species and a Scarlet Kingsnake. Only accessible by boat, this special place has a rich history and an even richer natural history. Some of the oldest trees I'll likely encounter are found here, along with some of the biggest and most drool worthy stumpholes and hurricanes I'll ever encounter.

Image

The first find was none other than the reason we came here and the snake to complete the southeast rattlesnake slam! As found to start.

Image

Image

Image

While we were all photographing the Canebrake, my Dad was able to turn up a Racer, a Rough Earth Snake, and an Eastern Glass Lizard! Talk about a hectic 5 minutes! (Racer and RES were individuals found later)

Image

Image

Image

Another awesome find was this Racer, photographed as found perfectly perched atop a plametto.

Image

As if we hadn't been spoiled by this location already, I turned up this gorgeous Scarlet Kingsnake.

Image

Image

Unfortunately our time in the swamp had come to a close, and it was time to head north. However the swamp was not done with us, as this anerythristic beauty graced us with its presence not five minutes after a juvenile Cottonmouth had us thinking surely we had found our last snake.

Image

Image

Stunning animal.

Image

That's what I call a proper goodbye!

Image

And I'll end this post with a few things from around home, SPRING IS HERE!!! Sure hope it can keep up!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Thanks for looking,

Happy Herping!!

User avatar
mtratcliffe
Posts: 533
Joined: January 19th, 2014, 4:34 pm
Location: Springfield, VA

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by mtratcliffe » March 23rd, 2015, 6:48 pm

Awesome finds, Noah! Thanks for sharing - seems like you had a very productive winter.

User avatar
Mike VanValen
Posts: 2073
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 3:41 pm
Location: Connecticut
Contact:

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by Mike VanValen » March 23rd, 2015, 7:55 pm

Sweet post. You guys tore it up, great job. That's a gorgeous EDB.

simus343
Posts: 566
Joined: March 30th, 2014, 12:16 pm
Location: Okaloosa ca, Fla.

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by simus343 » March 23rd, 2015, 8:34 pm

What?! That was your WINTER?! I envy you! haha. Superb post with great variety and some amazing photographs, it seems to me that you have had quite a bit of practice!

That first black racer is a looker. It seems to have more black on its jaws than a typical racer. Also how many Rough Greens was that you were holding? I counted two heads, were there any more in that bunch?

Carl D. May
Posts: 362
Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 3:17 am

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by Carl D. May » March 25th, 2015, 3:39 am

Noah...super photos! Those corn snakes will be real stunners when they are full grown and that part of the country produces (and has produced for decades) some of the most beautiful animals ever. Excellent poses and backgrounds too.

Was that aner pigmy found in the ANF? Or near it? I'm beginning to wonder just how common those things are.

User avatar
noah k.
Posts: 229
Joined: November 3rd, 2011, 4:27 pm

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by noah k. » March 25th, 2015, 12:11 pm

Thanks everyone!
simus343 wrote: That first black racer is a looker. It seems to have more black on its jaws than a typical racer. Also how many Rough Greens was that you were holding? I counted two heads, were there any more in that bunch?
I think there are 3 there, maybe even 4.
Carl D. May wrote:Was that aner pigmy found in the ANF? Or near it? I'm beginning to wonder just how common those things are.
It was found just outside of the Okefenokee Swamp on the west side. I didn't even know we had anerys in Georgia until I found it.

HerpMan ATL
Posts: 84
Joined: August 30th, 2014, 11:36 am

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by HerpMan ATL » March 25th, 2015, 5:22 pm

Noah you're the herping Ninja. Awesome finds and photos. I love the juvi Corn Snakes and that Scarlet.

User avatar
Noah M
Posts: 2289
Joined: November 3rd, 2012, 6:00 pm
Location: Gainesville, FL
Contact:

Re: Georgia Winter 2015

Post by Noah M » March 26th, 2015, 2:01 pm

Your winter is as good some peoples' entire seasons.

Post Reply