Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Yesterday I did take a shot at finding salamanders. I tried out Fairmont Park above the east bank of the Schuylkill around and northwest of the art museum. I found nothing. I’ll admit I only gave it about an hour of effort. I think the temperature was in the high 30s, and it was mostly sunny while I was out in the afternoon.

I spent the morning and much of the afternoon volunteering at Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center (http://www.cobbscreek.org/) for the Martin Luther King Day of Service. The CCCEEC is a great institution that works to educate kids from the surrounding urban and suburban neighborhoods about the environment and what they can do to help it. We basically cleaned up piles of wood and construction still debris left from the floods in the summer of '04. I had my camera with me in case we uncovered anything, but I guess all the herps were well underground.

Here are some photos from an October 10th trip I took to a State Game Land on Blue Mountain. It’s a large area, so don’t worry that I’m giving away any specific sites. This was one of the last trips for my film camera. I went out with only a few pictures left on a roll, so I didn’t take any pictures of the 30+ redback salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) I found, and I took no habitat shots, which I now regret since it is beautiful country.

Here is a green frog (Rana clamitans melanota) that greeted me from a puddle next to the parking lot. I had one closer-up photo, but I like this one better with the frog peeking out from among all the pine needles and leaves.

Here is a photo of a young slimy salamander (Plethodon glutinosis) I found.

The last picture is of a northern ringneck snake (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) that I found. You’ll notice it looks kind of dirty. Ringneck snakes don’t bite when you pick them up, but they do crap all over you and mix it all with a really powerful musk. They're gorgeous snakes, but you don't smell right for a while.

One last note - Eitan Grunwald (http://www.eitangrunwald.com/herptrips/) emailed me to let me know this blog has been put on his list of herping links. In case you're not already familiar with his wonderfully photographed accounts of herping adventures and the most comprehensive herping links page on the net (for real), go check it out. Be prepared to spend a few hours between his herping accounts and the websites on the links page - I know that every time I visit I spend a lot longer than I plan!