Quick Trip to MD/DE

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

Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by mtratcliffe » August 4th, 2015, 5:17 pm

Hey everyone, my name is Matt and I'm a Florida resident who grew up in Maryland and spent eight years of my live living in Delaware. All of that time predates my passion for herping, so whenever I am up there, I try to make up for that fact. I recently just returned form a short trip up there with my wife and son, and I was able to squeeze in some herping, both intentional and incidental.

We landed at BWI on a Saturday, spent a few hours with my parents in Anne Arundel County, then left for Queen Anne's County to have a small memorial service for my wife's grandmother who passed away back in April. We met her family at a nice park and walked to the beach to conduct the service. My wife told me not to herp while at the park, given the solemn situation. So I didn't. But, it turns out, her family spotted two different herps for me anyway.

While we were waiting around for my father-in-law, my sister-in-law called me over to a fence line where a frog was taking shelter in a gap in a fence post in order to beat the late afternoon heat. This is a Cope's Gray Treefrog, and the ID is based on their range (Gray Treefrog's don't range to where we were).

ImageDSCN8244 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

On the way back from the ceremony, my brother-in-law was the first to see this Eastern Gartersnake that had just been hit, most likely by a park vehicle. The wound to the head didn't look severe, but the snake was definitely in bad shape, and was hardly moving when I relocated it off the path.

ImageDSCN8256 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

The next few days were spent in Delaware, where I turned up a few neat critters around my mother-in-law's house.

Bess Beetle, I believe.

ImageDSCN8258 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Fowler's Toad in the flower bed. My MIL used to have a cat, but she gave it away, and it just so happens that I now find a toad in her yard. Hopefully more wildlife will show up in the future!

ImageDSCN8272 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Slug

ImageDSCN8279 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

These spiderlings must have been laid and hatched in the span of the night, because they were definitely not there the night before.

ImageDSCN8342 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Mama spider

ImageDSCN8344 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

The only deliberate herping I conducted in Delaware was at a park in New Castle County that I've been to several times before. Here's a male Blue-fronted Dancer damselfly.

ImageDSCN8288 - Male Blue-fronted Dancer by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

This Northern Watersnake was out basking next to a foot bridge. I love the coloration on this one. Does it look gravid to anyone, or appear as if it had a recent meal?

ImageDSCN8300 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8302 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Eastern Gartersnake hanging around some logs.

ImageDSCN8304 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8306 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Silver-spotted Skipper

ImageDSCN8312 - Silver-spotted Skipper by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

I snuck up on this small Eastern Painted Turtle that was hanging out on the pond's edge. I love seeing them as they have more color on them than most of the turtles we get in Florida.

ImageDSCN8313 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8314 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

ImageDSCN8317 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Red-spotted Purple

ImageDSCN8322 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Northern Redbellied Cooters with a Painted Turtle

ImageDSCN8331 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

This Green Frog hopped across my path after it was scared up by a nearby snake. I never got a good look at the snake, but it was likely a Northern Watersnake.

ImageDSCN8338 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

After Delaware, we spent the rest of the time back in Anne Arundel County, MD. I didn't turn much up there besides some Toads.

Eastern American Toad - this was a surprise find as Fowler's Toads are more common in the area, and I hadn't seen one of these since I lived in Illinois back in 2013.

ImageDSCN8367 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Male Eastern Amberwing - the smallest dragonfly species you'll see in these parts.

ImageDSCN8397 - Male Eastern Amberwing by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Robber Fly

ImageDSCN8378 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Dessicated Bullfrog in the basement windowsill at my parent's house. Not sure how it ended up there.

ImageDSCN8357 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Fowler's Toad found at night near a retirement complex.

ImageDSCN8360 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Juvenile Common Whitetail (male)

ImageDSCN8387 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Juvenile Fowler's Toad in the neighborhood I grew up in.

ImageFowler's Toad Stewarts Landing 1 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Another one I flipped near a creek in my neighborhood.

ImageDSCN8238 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

Said creek.

ImageDSCN8351 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

I saw this Ebony Jewelwing fluttering about, until it got caught in this spiderweb. The spider immediately pounced upon its prey, immobilizing it. That's not something you get to see everyday!

ImageDSCN8350 by Matthew Ratcliffe, on Flickr

That's all I have to share from my trip. Nothing spectacular, but I was pleased with what I managed to turn up with what little time I had for herping. I hope you enjoyed my finds!

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incuhead2000
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Joined: November 16th, 2010, 11:04 am
Location: Germantown, Maryland
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Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by incuhead2000 » August 14th, 2015, 2:43 am

Nice stuff, love the spiders! MD can be a tough place to herp sometimes but ever now and again you get lucky.

MCHerper
Posts: 443
Joined: September 22nd, 2012, 5:13 pm

Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by MCHerper » August 16th, 2015, 11:24 am

Good stuff! I like that you don't only include herps, and that you have an appreciation for other things as well.

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

Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by mtratcliffe » August 17th, 2015, 11:57 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Nice stuff, love the spiders! MD can be a tough place to herp sometimes but ever now and again you get lucky.
I hope to be able to herp more in-depth there sometime, especially during salamander movements. By the way, if you are who I think you are, I know your brother Chris.

MCHerper: Thanks! I'm a big fan of Odonates, though I still need my field guide to ID most of them.

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incuhead2000
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Location: Germantown, Maryland
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Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by incuhead2000 » August 20th, 2015, 5:34 am

Yes I am his brother. Chris was actually telling me a story the other day that I think involved you and a Swamp eel!

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

Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by mtratcliffe » August 20th, 2015, 5:34 pm

incuhead2000 wrote:Yes I am his brother. Chris was actually telling me a story the other day that I think involved you and a Swamp eel!
Yup, that was me. I thought it was a lightly-colored Amphiuma until he corrected me. He knows his non-herps very well!

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ZantiMissKnit
Posts: 1037
Joined: September 14th, 2012, 8:43 am
Location: Boston area, MA

Re: Quick Trip to MD/DE

Post by ZantiMissKnit » September 9th, 2015, 5:09 am

That creek looks like a good snapper creek!

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