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Hiking the DC Metro Area

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by Shrike, May 22, 2012.

  1. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

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    I figured I'd share a few pictures of different things I've seen hiking the DC Metro area. I'm always amazed at what you can find close to home. If anybody is interested in this sort of photography, I'd be curious to know what camera/lens you use. I have a Nikon D3100 which I know nothing about. Admittedly, I just point and shoot. I'll try and add more pictures as I get them. Thanks for looking.

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    Latrodectus variolus, Great Falls National Park, VA

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    Mating pair of Thamnophis sirtalis, Great Falls National Park, VA

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    Nerodia sipedon, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Thamnophis sirtalis in need of a shed, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Nerodia sipedon, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, VA

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    Anaxyrus fowleri, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, VA. I'm a bit confused when it comes to the Bufo/Anaxyrus reclassification. I understand this was controversial in some circles? All comments on this are welcome.

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    Eumeces fasciatus, Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, VA

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    Terrapene carolina, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Chelydra serpentina, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Chelydra serpentina, Huntley Meadows Park, VA. These snapping turtles were not getting along.

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    Clemmys guttata, Huntley Meadows Park, VA

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    Pantherophis alleghaniensis, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA. There is an old stone foundation on this property which rat snakes use as a hibernaculum. When the weather warms up in the spring, they emerge en masse. During this hike I counted seven snakes of varying size basking in trees and shrubs. Believe it or not these pictures were taken on March 9.

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    Eumeces fasciatus, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Diadophis punctatus, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA

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    Nerodia sipedon, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park, VA
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2012
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  2. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker Staff Member

    Love the pics, especially the northern water snake! Do I want to know what those 2 snapping turtles were doing though?
     
  3. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Water snakes are very underrated! The coloration on some specimens is extremely vivid and as you can see, they've got attitude.

    Those snapping turtles seemed to be fighting pretty fiercely. I watched them go at it for about about 20 minutes and they still hadn't settled their differences when I left. The two garter snakes, on the other hand, were definitely getting frisky.

    Some of the parks I've been to have healthy copperhead populations. I've been searching high and low but haven't had any luck so far. It would be nice to add all three of VA's venomous species to this thread by the end of the summer. We'll see if that happens ;)
     
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  4. Shell

    Shell ArachnoVixen AKA Dream Crusher AKA Heartbreaker Staff Member

    Yep, the water snake does seem to have attitude, I love the pic of him telling you off. ;)

    Fighting, ok, so the pics are PG and I just have issues lol. Seriously though, they're cool pics, catching them in the middle of their argument.

    Good luck finding a copperhead, I will be keeping an eye on this thread from now on. :)
     
  5. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    many nice finds there! Take time to learn how to use your camera if you want to get the best out of your DSLR. The body is not so relevant, it will be the optics that you will put on it that will make more of a difference (and your ability to use it properly).

    Take care

    Martin
     
  6. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks for the advice! Looks like I have some reading to do. And after taking a look at the pictures in your thread (amazing) I've got something to aspire to.
     
  7. arachnidsrva

    arachnidsrva Arachnoknight

    You're good at "pointing and shooting" - don't discredit yourself ! It's great to see so much wildlife in our wonderful state. The copperheads I can't be so excited about, I have a horrible problem with them in my backyard. It makes yard-work and owning a dog a bit scary when I have to let him out or pickup dead limbs in the back. Our shed is a copperhead magnet, which I have to be cautious about when I enter it - but I do look forward to you finding them in the "wild".

    There are so many water snakes that are confused with Water Moccasins which is sad because general consensus says "kill them" in fear.
     
  8. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks! Since you're a VA native, if you now of any good locales, let me know! What you said about water snakes is sad, but true. Unfortunately, I witnessed this in person a few years ago when I came across a group of teenagers bashing "water moccasins" with rocks and then cutting their heads off. I corrected their mistake and then called the cops :)
     
  9. Christoffer

    Christoffer Arachnosquire

    Simply awesome man!! Now I want a Diadophis punctatus!
     
  10. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    I hope my comment was not misleading, you really done great on these BTW!
     
  11. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Not at all. Thank you! Honestly, I'm not an experienced photographer. I'll always be open to advice. Do you use some type of macro lens for your pictures of insects and spiders? I've got a macro setting on the camera but there seems to be limitations on just how close you can get and how small the subject can be.
     
  12. Formerphobe

    Formerphobe Arachnoking Arachnosupporter

    With all the rain we've had recently, copperheads (and other fauna) can be found outside their normal bounds. This would be a good weekend to be out and about, and careful.
     
  13. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I was out and about earlier today, carefully of course ;) While I didn't find any copperheads it was still a good day:

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    Carphophis amoenus, Fountainhead Regional Park, VA

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    Narceus americanus, Fountainhead Regional Park, VA

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    Does anybody know what species this is? Same locale as all the other pics.

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    Anaxyrus fowleri, Fountainhead Regional Park, VA

    And last but not least:
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    Latrodectus variolus, Fountainhead Regional Park, VA

    Zoomed in:
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  14. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    well your shots are coming out nicely and most of them are in proper focus, which is already more than what a lot of people can achieve. The macro fonction on a DSLR is bogus, no sense to use it. I presume you are using a kit lens right now, I do not know about the Nikon one, but if it is anything like the Canon one, you can take decent close-up photography, like you are doing right now.

    If these are the types of animals you seek, than you might be just fine for the moment with what you got. Of course, if you want to start shooting smaller bugs, a dedicated macro lens will be usefull. All my shots are taken with macro lenses, but I have 4 different ones that I use for different purpose. I also work a lot at higher magnifications that a regular dedicated macro lens will not achieve on it's own, so it can be misleading to think that by buying one you could get some of the same close-ups (specially insects portraits with great eye details).

    You can achieve higher magnifications also by adding extension tubes (to your kit lens), which can be a cheaper way of doing it. You can also reverse lenses (usually better done with older lenses that have the aperture ring on the lens) or you can buy diopters, which are clip-on magnifying lenses, but when you start stacking glass, you generall start degrading picture quality, although I am told the Raynox are quite good and for websize images, it might not be so critical.

    BUT, dedicated macro lenses are more convenient and less frustrating to work with (but more expensive). Look used, you can save a great deal of money and generally the item will be in good shape anyway. A lot of people get macro lenses and realize it is not for them, so you have a lot of used one available usually.

    Martin

    ---------- Post added 05-26-2012 at 09:03 PM ----------

    love that armoured millepede BTW, great colours!
     
  15. zonbonzovi

    zonbonzovi Creeping beneath you Staff Member

    Nice worm snake! That colorful milli is Apheloria virginiensis corrugata.
     
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  16. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Excellent, thanks for the ID!
     
  17. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Time for a few more...

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    I already posted this one but accidentally deleted it on my Flickr account so here it is again. I love this species!
    Pantherophis alleghaniensis, Eleanor C. Lawrence Park

    I made it out to Great Falls National Park yesterday (VA side of the river). After hiking the river trail I went out to the overlook platforms and took the following photos. Although you can't see him, a kayaker got stranded on the rocks in the middle of the river. He was trying to shoot the falls when his kayak went nose down and became submerged. He managed to get out and scrambled on top of the rocks where he was rescued by helicopter. He's lucky to be alive! On average, seven people drown at these falls each year.

    Honestly, I'm kicking myself that I didn't stick around to take pictures of the helicopter rescue. When I got to overlook one I saw somebody out there and wondered how the hell they'd gotten there. Other people made it sound as though they had intentionally landed they're kayak there (it didn't seem like a good idea, but hey, some people are adrenaline junkies). I went to hike another trail and didn't put two and two together until I heard the helicopter circling overhead.

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    The rocks in the middle right before the falls are where the kayaker got stuck

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    These kayakers paddled upstream as opposed to shooting the falls. Smart :)

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    The view downstream

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    Good advice!

    Here's what I found on the hike:

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    Narceus americanus

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    More Narceus

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    Making a break for it!

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    Can anybody identify the above spiders? Is the first one Dolomedes?

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    Leucauge venusta

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    Latrodectus variolus. The black coloration on this specimen's abdomen had a vague reddish tint to it. I know that slings and juvies aren't solid black so does this occur as widows molt to maturity or is it something unique?

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    Another Eumeces fasciatus...hanging out near everybody's favorite plant

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    Unknown species of dragonfly

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    Can you spot the baby Nerodia? Sorry, I don't have a good zoom lens.

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    Nerodia sipedon....a very well fed snake

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    Carphophis amoenus
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
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  18. tarcan

    tarcan Arachnoking Old Timer

    great shots! Love the spider shots!

    That waterfall is gorgeous... if you go back, you should try to slow down your shutter speed (with tripod of course), the result would really spectacular (1/10th sec or slower).

    Martin
     
  19. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Thanks! Those orchard spiders are literally all over the place at Great Falls. I'll have to take your advice on the waterfall shots. It really is a spectacular vista. Wish I'd been able to catch the helicopter rescue :(
     
  20. Shrike

    Shrike Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I spent the day at Huntley Meadows Regional Park in Alexandria, VA. So far this season I've been blanked by the three species I really want to find: Agkistrodon contortrix (not recorded at Huntley Meadows), Heterodon platyrhinos, and Opheodrys aestivus. Believe me, it's not from lack of effort! Nonetheless, I still turned up a few things.

    If you're ever in Alexandria, I highly recommend Huntley Meadows.

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    Chrysemys picta

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    Lithobates clamitans melanota

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    Lithobates catesbeianus

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    This deer (I wish I could have gotten closer) wanted to munch on some wetland plants

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    Anaxyrus americanus

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    Narceus americanus

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    Carphophis amoenus

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    Chelydra serpentina, lurking in the water

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    Plethodon cinereus

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    Ambystoma opacum, a great find

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    A nice looking wolf spider. Anybody know the species?

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    This dragonfly had a deformed wing

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    A happy family. I tried to get a bit closer but Mom and Dad didn't approve :biggrin:

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    The resident architects have been busy

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    Nerodia sipedon, although I thought this individual was a bit skinnier than most

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    This trumpet vine is a VA native, but I pity the fool that plants it in their yard

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    A robber fly

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    Eristalis tenax?
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
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