Saturday, January 24, 2009

Scouting does help. I can't say it's completely satisfying to hike around in the mid 30s through marshy creeks and bushwhack through briars and saplings to vernal pools in the middle of the woods, but it was a hell of a lot better than sitting around at home staring at the rain or snow. I think some part of what I get out of herping is the enjoyment of the outdoors, hiking through something besides concrete and asphalt, smelling something besides car exhaust or whatever my apartment smells like, seeing trees and other vegetation all around me.

This was a spot I had initially scouted back in the summer. This came of some satellite image scanning. I had spotted what I thought were vernal pools and a marshy creek running through forest and some fields on Google Earth. I wrote down the coordinates, and while on another trip this summer I had taken a quick walk out to check it out. At the time I found it not quite worth the effort to hack my way around for a better look, so I put it on the winter back burner.

Scott and I made it back out recently, and although the cold temperature and time of year meant that we wouldn't see any herps, they also meant we had less vegetation to hack through and we could see farther through the forest than we could in the middle of summer.

We wandered around a little, but I checked my GPS unit against the coordinates I had written down, declared that we would walk "That way!" into the forest, and sure enough we popped out a couple minutes later at the edge of a large vernal pool. We repeated this a few times. Not all the pools were so big or so promising, but we now have a great network of pools and a stream to check out in the spring.

I feel better, although of course now I want to do it again the next weekend.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Here's a quick notice that the website for the PA Herp Atlas Project has changed. It looks fabulous, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to Tim Maret and Jason Poston for the change and the ongoing website and surveying project. Here's the notice from Tim about the change:

Hi Everyone,
I’ve got some exciting news about the PA Online Herpetological Atlas. Jason Poston, a visual designer and frequent contributor to the atlas project, has done a terrific job at revamping the entire webpage. He’s also given it a much user friendly address at Please check it out. You might also want to check out Jason’s herp identification website at There is still a lot of updating to do – I’m working on more user friendly maps, Jason has been working on some brochures, etc., so keep checking back. Please let us know what you think of the new website and send us your suggestions. You will find our e-mail address and a comment submission form under the Contact link.


Monday, January 19, 2009

I posted about the upcoming GPHS meeting a few weeks ago, but now it's right around the corner and I'd like to remind everyone about it. See below for the details.


The Greater Philadelphia Herpetological Society and the Marple Township Environmental Advisory Board present a free lecture on

Wetland Buffers and Amphibians

by Robin Mann,

VP, Sierra Club,

President, Darby Creek Valley Association

8 PM, 23 January 2009

Marple Township Building, Springfield and Sproul Roads

From the East or West: PA Rte 3 (West Chester Pike) to PA 320 (Sproul Road), South to the "T". Enter parking lot just past police station or turn left on Sproul and take your next left to get to the other parking lot (on the right).

From the North or South: Either take I-476 (Blue Route) to Exit 9 (Broomall) and go west on PA Rte 3, then south on PA rte 320 or take PA Rte 320 from wherever you are.

There is a parking lot around the Township/Library Building and one just to the east of the building. Street parking is possible on Sproul Road from the Police Station north.

Refreshments will be served. While there is no admission charge, there will be a voluntary collection to cover the speaker's fee and other expenses.