Hot Stove Herping Part Two

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Mike Pingleton
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Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » December 31st, 2011, 7:43 am

After getting back from Peru in late January, I didn’t get out in the field again until early March, as February was brutal in terms of ice, wind and snow, and anyway I was busy processing three thousand pictures of Amazonia. In early March, Peter Berg, Marty Whalin and I finally got in a camping trip originally slated for the first weekend of December but thwarted by an early blizzard.
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The spot is in southeastern Illinois, and is a great place to camp and hike and herp.
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We can always count on Eurycea cirrigera, even when little else is out and about.
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Later in March, I made a visit to a local pond:
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Some ambystomids had already laid their eggs:
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One of the odd, all-female hybrid salamonsters, the Silvery Salamander, Ambystoma platineum:
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By late March all of the Thamnophis radix in my yard are out and cruising around:
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I headed over to Indiana with Don Becker, Peter Berg and Raymond Berg, and we met up with Greg Stephens and Nick Burgmeier for some salamandering.
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Later that evening a late snowstorm set in….
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But we still managed to see some cool stuff. Here’s an interesting egg mass:
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Plenty of newts in the ponds:
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Here are some Streamside Salamander (Ambystoma barbouri) larvae, getting ready to drop:
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And an adult A. barbouri:
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Streamside breeding habitat:
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Peter's son Raymond is a pretty good herper.
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Aside from Streamsides, the stream sides are good places for other salamanders. Here’s a Zigzag Salamander (Plethodon dorsalis):
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and another dorsalis, sporting neither zig nor zag:
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Also present are Ravine Salamanders, Plethodon electromorphus:
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Another streamside rock yielded a young Nerodia sipedon pleuralis:
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We moved on to some wet flatwoods to search for more salamanders:
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Like this Hemidactylium scutatum:
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I love the subtle colors on these little critters.
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Four-Toe eggs:
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Don (Psyon) takes data on a creek-side Nerodia sipedon pleuralis:
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First Thamnophis sirtalis of the year:
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The weather in early April can be fickle where I live, but sunny days bring out the Paints and other critters.
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American Toads were calling from the ponds:
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During a wet week in late April I made a crazy swing down to southern Illinois with Marty and Tracey, and then over to southern Indiana to catch some seldom-seen amphibians. Box Turtles were out, and we rescued this one off the road:
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This old veteran with a wonky limb was found stomping around in the woods:
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More rain brought out this Chuck (Anaxyrus americanus charlesmithi):
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The rains made getting back to the car interesting:
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We headed east to some flooded farm fields in Indiana, to see Eastern Spadefoot Toads. Here’s one on the road, freshly emerged from the ground and still sporting a muddy cap:
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The big amplexus event was over a few days past, but there were plenty of latecomers anxious to pass on their genes, even if with a different species:
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And there were other species present, mostly getting their connections right:
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For the life of me I could not get a picture of a calling male Spadefoot. This is as close I could manage.
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I’ll wrap this portion up with a few serpents. There’s nothing like cruising the sand prairies in an open boat, the wind in your hair and your eyes searching for sand serpents…
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Thar she blows!
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That’s no sea serpent, ye landlubber! It’s an Ophisaurus!
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Treasure in the sands – a juvie Eastern Milk Snake!
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that should do it for now - thanks for looking!
-Mike

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Andy Avram
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Andy Avram » December 31st, 2011, 8:10 am

As always Mike I love the Hot Stove series! But, man, those pictures of early spring with breeding Ambystoma and frogs has me ready for spring. No leaves on the trees yet, wildflowers maybe just starting to crack the ground, egg masses in the ponds, peepers calling... best time of year!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by monklet » December 31st, 2011, 8:59 am

Great stuff ...I find this one particularly outstanding.
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by ahockenberry » December 31st, 2011, 9:52 am

Awesome post - love the Milk Snake and the Box Turtles - !!
Also - was that a King Snake after the pic of the boat?

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by walk-about » December 31st, 2011, 10:09 am

Awesome post Mr. Pingleton! Loved the puffed up Anaxyrus.

Rock ON!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Soro » December 31st, 2011, 10:23 am

This is the perfect post for this time of the year-- it gets me anxious for what I will (hopefully) be experiencing in a short few months.

I especially enjoy posts from the veteran herpers: those who have had the time and experience to find many different haunts for many different species. I've only actively been at this for a few years now, and it makes me optimistic for the years to come.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » December 31st, 2011, 10:51 am

Andy Avram wrote:As always Mike I love the Hot Stove series! But, man, those pictures of early spring with breeding Ambystoma and frogs has me ready for spring. No leaves on the trees yet, wildflowers maybe just starting to crack the ground, egg masses in the ponds, peepers calling... best time of year!


thanks, Andy. I've learned to appreciate late winter and early spring for those same reasons.

-Mike

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » December 31st, 2011, 10:59 am

Monklet, thanks - that one is one of my favorites.

Walkabout, thanks as always!
ahockenberry wrote:Awesome post - love the Milk Snake and the Box Turtles - !!
Also - was that a King Snake after the pic of the boat?
Oops, sorry - that's Pituophis catenifer sayi.

-Mike

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by ThatFrogGuy » December 31st, 2011, 11:02 am

Great post! :thumb: I love the spades!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by joeysgreen » December 31st, 2011, 12:50 pm

Super excellent Mike!

Ian

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Josh Holbrook » December 31st, 2011, 4:07 pm

Awesome! Spring herping is certainly a beautiful thing - seeing the firstfruits of the new year. . .

RobK

Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by RobK » December 31st, 2011, 5:44 pm

First pic looks like a great winter camping spot.
Surprised you didn't throw in a snorkel shot.
Cool to see a diff kind of spadefoot.

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Don Becker
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Don Becker » December 31st, 2011, 6:15 pm

Wow, that glass lizard actually has a nice full original tail.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Carl Brune » December 31st, 2011, 7:12 pm

Nice post, Mike. I really like the shot of the calling American Toad.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Nigel Smith » December 31st, 2011, 7:29 pm

Awesome post! Your salamandering skills are commendable. :) This thread has my mouth watering for spring. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by mikemike » December 31st, 2011, 10:55 pm

Very nice post, Mike!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » January 1st, 2012, 8:05 am

The Hot Stove stuff is so much fun! I love the spadefoot in amplexus with the non-spadefoot.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by peterknuteberg » January 1st, 2012, 12:16 pm

Mike, this was an excellent post highlighting some of the herping aspects of Spring which are unique, like those egg masses hanging above the pond with snow on top or those barbouri larvae clinging to the rocks just above the stream.

I love this photo and think I recall when you took it in the flooded hole created by a huge tree that had become uprooted. Uprooted trees can create cool little ecosystems.

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I also like the Spring comments, like Andy's--I am already looking forward to Spring, although I am enjoying this mild winter. The seasons make herping interesting here in the midwest. As the snow shot suggests, the weather is unpredictable, but nature endures. Great post Mike. I would love to see some more Bull snakes and a Spadefoot has yet to be found for me. Thanks for taking the time to document what you are seeing and for sharing it with us. :thumb: :thumb:

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by justinm » January 1st, 2012, 7:04 pm

Super cool stuff Mike. I'm hoping to be more available this year. I really hated to miss the Snow Dawgs this year. Keep the sallies coming, great shots.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 1st, 2012, 7:23 pm

RobK wrote:First pic looks like a great winter camping spot.
Surprised you didn't throw in a snorkel shot.
Cool to see a diff kind of spadefoot.
It's a great spot. I suspect humans have been camping there for 4-5 thousand years at least.

New Years Resolution: More submarine shots in 2012!
-Mike

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 1st, 2012, 7:27 pm

Shouldn't you be practicing not getting any sleep, Papa J? :beer:

Let's go get some eagles soon.
justinm wrote:Super cool stuff Mike. I'm hoping to be more available this year. I really hated to miss the Snow Dawgs this year. Keep the sallies coming, great shots.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 1st, 2012, 7:31 pm

thanks for the comments everyone. Peter, you are correct about the newt coming from the tree hole. Lets go find some bullies this spring.
-Mike

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Ross Padilla » January 1st, 2012, 10:47 pm

Great post, Mike. :thumb:

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Daniel D Dye » January 2nd, 2012, 7:05 am

Another great "Hot Stove" Mike, I particularly like the glass lizard. I found a full-tailed mimic in 2011 that looked a lot like that one. Was yours a slender?

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by dickbartlett » January 2nd, 2012, 8:23 am

As always, a great post, Mike. But my favorite pic is the Bufo americanus in the alga shrouded copse of trunks.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 2nd, 2012, 10:16 am

Daniel D Dye wrote:Another great "Hot Stove" Mike, I particularly like the glass lizard. I found a full-tailed mimic in 2011 that looked a lot like that one. Was yours a slender?
Thanks, D. Yeah, that was a Western Slender from my home state. I sure would like to see the Mimic and Island glass lizards some day.
-Mike

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 2nd, 2012, 10:18 am

dickbartlett wrote:As always, a great post, Mike. But my favorite pic is the Bufo americanus in the alga shrouded copse of trunks.
thanks, Dick, that's one of my favorites from last year. Sometimes the coolest stuff is close to home!
-Mike

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Tonia Graves » January 2nd, 2012, 1:37 pm

Nice post! I especially like the box turtles & the eastern gartersnake!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Dell Despain » January 3rd, 2012, 7:40 am

Nice Mike, it looks like, from your first photo, that you've found a defendable position. Interesting to see you've got good herping available in cold conditions.

-Dell

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Kent VanSooy » January 3rd, 2012, 12:30 pm

Very cool, and I too love that campsite in the first shot! It's interesting how the pattern on your legless lizards is very similar to the Anniella here in CA.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by DaveR » January 3rd, 2012, 2:54 pm

Very nice. I too liked the box turtle shots. Also...no lifejackets? Remember...safety first.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 3rd, 2012, 5:26 pm

It's an extremely defensible position, reachable only via a dicey bit of cliff hopping (we lower most of our gear with a rope). Why, we could hold off the whole Persian army, unless they have automatic weapons.
Dell Despain wrote:Nice Mike, it looks like, from your first photo, that you've found a defendable position. Interesting to see you've got good herping available in cold conditions.

-Dell

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 3rd, 2012, 5:28 pm

Kent VanSooy wrote:Very cool, and I too love that campsite in the first shot! It's interesting how the pattern on your legless lizards is very similar to the Anniella here in CA.
I hadn't thought of that, but you're right - perfect pattern for hanging out in grass. I'd like to see Aniella one of these days.
-Mike

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 3rd, 2012, 5:29 pm

DaveR wrote:Very nice. I too liked the box turtle shots. Also...no lifejackets? Remember...safety first.
We have a 'damn the torpedoes' attitude when hunting the Great Bull of the Sands....

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by moloch » January 4th, 2012, 2:33 pm

Excellent report as always, Mike. I am amazed at what you guys find when it is so cold. You guys are tough! It would be hard for me to be motivated and search for herps when it was snowy/icy in the woods.

Regards,
David

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Carl Koch » January 4th, 2012, 4:05 pm

Awesome selection of sals and eggs, including a splendidly colored normal zig-zag, and I agree 100% on the beautiful complexity of the hemis. Love the Scaphiopus, especially the confused one! The calling male looks a little like a head-on view of a mudskipper. Heckuva tail on that glass liz, too. Thanks!

Carl

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Cole Grover » January 5th, 2012, 7:47 am

Hot Stove posts are cool! I think we all look forward to them this time of year. How is it, though, that you're able to make winter camping/herping look fun in JANUARY?! That, Mike, is some acomplishment!

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Marty Whalin » January 5th, 2012, 11:25 am

Based solely on the fact that I love seeing my name and likeness in "print", this is the best installment of HSH to date.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by justinm » January 5th, 2012, 11:30 am

Marty I could use your name and likeness a lot more if you'd like that?

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by JAMAUGHN » January 5th, 2012, 11:41 am

Great post! I liked all of it, but esp. the poor, confused Spadefoot.

JimM

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by David O » January 6th, 2012, 6:33 am

Great stuff, per usual. Especially enjoyed the sand prairie stuff and the barbouri shots.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by mfb » January 15th, 2012, 7:58 am

Looks like some great herping!

All the photos were great, but I really liked the newt photo. Did you take it with an underwater housing? I just got an underwater housing for my slr, and am looking forward to trying it out this spring.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by BillMcGighan » January 17th, 2012, 8:11 am

Super
Maybe better yet is that it's right around the corner again, with a little help from a warming trend!!! :)

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 18th, 2012, 6:27 pm

thanks, everyone.

I have a Canon D10, which is waterproof to 30 feet and shock resistant to four feet. It does a pretty good job, but I'd like to come up with a light rig for low-light aquatic situations.
-Mike
mfb wrote:Looks like some great herping!

All the photos were great, but I really liked the newt photo. Did you take it with an underwater housing? I just got an underwater housing for my slr, and am looking forward to trying it out this spring.

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by chad ks » February 2nd, 2012, 7:53 pm

Nice post Mike, thanks. Hope to see you out there. :)

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Re: Hot Stove Herping Part Two

Post by Mike Pingleton » February 4th, 2012, 12:37 pm

chad ks wrote:Nice post Mike, thanks. Hope to see you out there. :)
thanks, Chad. backatcha.

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