A little ways past that point I got off 80 and headed north into
I didn’t see any elk on my late-May, 2006 trip to Elk, Cameron, and McKean counties, but I did see evidence of them – in the mud impressions of hooves that were definitely bigger than those of the deer I’m used to seeing everywhere.
On May 30th I did see another mammal for the first time – a porcupine. I saw others on the trip, all DOR (I guess they’re about as good at crossing roads as possums), but this one was alive. I was walking on a trail in Allegheny National forest, trying to resist the temptation to go so deep into the woods that nightfall would catch me there – I did have to work, of course, and I was catching my herping/hiking time late in the afternoon (doesn’t it seem amazing how late the sun stayed up in May, now that we’re mired in the middle of winter?). I heard a noise off in the trees to one side, and instead of a squirrel I saw this guy:
Isn't it adorable? It looked like it was having trouble getting up the tree, and I wanted to reach in and either help it up or let it down, but, of course, it was a porcupine.
I saw some herps too. Here’s a garter snake (Thamnophis s. sirtalis) I found under a rock.
A ringneck (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii) snake got away from me before I could take a photo of it, as did a wood frog (Rana sylvatica). The redback salamander (Plethodon cinereus) would have posed for a picture, but sometimes I just don’t feel like getting the camera out for another redback.
The most beautiful part of the hike was around this lake. I didn’t see anything really crazy up there – a bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), a newt (Nopthalmus v. viridescens), and some tadpoles.
The picture of this lake, though, was what got me thinking about the landscapes I get to drive across for work and hike across if I’m lucky enough to have a little time left over.
From around 5pm to 7pm the temperatures were in the low 80s, the sky partly cloudy, and the air was humid.
1 wood frog
1 garter snake
1 ringneck snake
1 redback salamander
1 red spotted newt
100+ mystery tadpoles
15+ calling green frogs (Rana clamitans melanota)