Friday, November 27, 2009

I could lament the cold weather and limited herping options, or I could do something useful: scout.

This is the time of year to do it, fellow herpers. The leaves are down, not in the way of any views of rocky outcroppings or vernal pools. So I don't want to hear anyone kvetching about not finding rattlers (Crotalus horridus) or wood turtles (Glyptemys insculpta). You should get out and find we're they'll be.

In that spirit I checked out a new mountainside last weekend (November 22nd). "New" for me; I suppose it's been there a few million years and plenty of other people must walk the same trails. But it's a new project for me, at least, walking the trails below, hacking around on the ridge, noting the locations of the rocks...

...seeps (where I turned up two-lined salamanders - Eurycea bislineata - and dusky salamanders - Desmognathus fuscus).

I managed to recruit three buddies to come with - Anthony and Lillian sitting, and Joshua standing in the lime green.

The site looks good; maybe too good, with more than I can manage to actually search once spring rolls around, but maybe it will be a good multi-year project. I just need a neat code name for the spot (like Forbidden Ridge). Tumble Down? Crocodile Rock? Hidden Drive?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

DVHS meeting December 11th at 7:30pm in Maple Shade, NJ.

Our next public meeting will be over on the OTHER side of the Delaware River. Marple didn't work out this time, so we're meeting in Maple Shade, NJ. Our speaker will be Ed Kowalski, the Lead Keeper at the Philadelphia Zoo's Herpetology Department. He will be talking about caecillians. "Caecillians?" you ask. "What the hell are caecillians?" Exactly. Of all the orders of reptiles and amphibians, there is none I (or most of us for that matter) know less about than the caecillians. Basically they're long, eel or snake-shaped amphibians, some of them aquatic, some of them burrowing underground. I'm excited about it, and I hope to see everyone there.

Check out for the full details.