Sunday, February 13, 2011

Not much of a post - just a brief scouting report. The streambed/side salamanders have been pulling me away from the real reason the herping gods gave us four months of miserable, cold, nearly-lifeless weather: scouting.

On Sunday I decided to check out what I hope is my new spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) spot for 2011. It was a slightly embarrassing revelation: that one of my oldest herping spots in the Delaware Valley, where I have focused on upland habitats over the years (it was here I fell in love with black rat snakes - Pantherophis obsoleta, found my first Delaware Valley racer - Coluber constrictor, my first worm snakes - Carphophia amoenus), features an absolutely enormous stretch of what looked on the satellite images like flooded forest.

Sure enough, after leaving one of the trails and hacking my way through the underbrush and greenbriar for fifteen minutes, I found myself in a stretch of half-frozen marsh with trees here and there and that went on forever.

It isn't quite the same as finding a real, live critter, but I could imagine them starting to stir beneath the ice all around me as I pictured the landscape another twenty degrees warmer and with strong sunlight.

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