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Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by Shrike, May 22, 2012.
Thanks, I appreciate it!
Very nice pictures!
The following pictures were taken yesterday somewhere in Fairfax County, VA. Unfortunately, I don't have the lens to get close enough to some of the birds I saw. They're not the best quality, but hey, I'm trying to diversify.
bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Synchronized Canada geese, Branta canadensis
red eared sliders, Trachemys scripta elegans and painted turtles, Chrysemys picta
A group of blue winged teal (two males and two females), Anas discors
red backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus
An odd couple, found under the same log
A closer look at the wolf spider (I'm not sure what species this is)
ribbon snake, Thamnophis sauritus
spotted turtle, Clemmys guttata
female red winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
Fairfax County, VA. Amazing day in the field:
Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina
Eastern Garter Snake, Thamnophis sirtalis
As I was hiking back out, I found the same snake. It had just caught a marbled salamander, Ambystoma opacum. I was a bit sad to see the salamander getting eaten, as its only the second one I've seen in VA. That's nature for you.
Another morbid shot. I found this bird covered in carrion beetles. Nature's clean up crew, hard at work.
Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus
I saved the best for last. The Eastern hog nosed snake, Heterodon platirhinos has been on my bucket list of VA herps for quite a while. On this hike I found two! One was sunning itself in a wet meadow and the other was crossing a bike path in the woods. These are beyond a doubt two of the most beautiful snakes I've ever seen in the wild. Their threat display was really impressive. As you can see they like to hood out and puff themselves up. They also made quite a racket with their hissing. It's all for show though. Bites from this species are rare.
I've read about amphibians and spiders cohabitating. Cool picture!
Love the hognoses doing their cobra imitations!
Looks like a productive day in the field.
Are Eastern boxes and hogs always so vibrantly colored? Cool to see the rough green in it's native environs...indeed, a good day!
Eastern Hogs will also play dead but these guys didn't. They just acted tough.
---------- Post added 04-14-2013 at 07:31 AM ----------
The pattern on the box turtle was much more intricate and continuous than the others I've seen. It was sitting in a flooded field and the colors immediately popped out at me.
As far as hogs go, I don't think so. The background color can very widely from yellow to orange to brown, etc. Some are a patternless, solid color. The only other hog I've found was a road killed specimen in South Carolina and it was solid black. I'm lucky in that the local population has some intense orange background color. It really made my day!
I have to admit finding that green snake was just dumb luck. It stood out a bit on the dark branches. Once things really green up around here they'll be next to impossible to spot unless they move.
wow, amazing... that turtle is absolutely gorgeous and of course the hognose snakes are equally as nice. Thanks for sharing! We had snow last Friday... looks like I have to wait some more!
Thanks Martin. We had some great weather for reptiles and amphibians this past weekend. Morning rain and then sunny and 70 degrees. Can't wait to see some Spring updates to your thread.
Love the new pics! The hognose are absolutely gorgeous.
One day I will come check this thread to see that you have found that elusive holy grail you're still after though.
It will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine
Shrike, ive been having some great luck up here north of baltimore. Ill post pics in a new thread soon.
Looking forward to it! This is a great time of year to be outside.
Tell me about it! Unreal colors.
Headed to loch raven tomorrow to a marshy area. Any tips? Looking for snakes
Nice! I used to always fish Loch Raven!.
Awesome shots and finds as always Matt! Those hoggies are unreal! Keep the pics coming!
Loch Raven--that looks like a cool place. I always keep an eye out for basking snakes. Rustling noises as snakes try to slither away are also a good give away. I really like to search along ecotones. If there are any open, grassy fields adjacent to water or woods, that would be great place to look. And of course, check under any cover objects. Good Luck!
---------- Post added 04-24-2013 at 09:15 AM ----------
Thanks Chad! Are you from this area?
We did OK. Loch Raven all we got were frogs. Couldnt get close enough to the turtles but saw some big ones. Went back to our usual little pond and I saw a toad struggling on the bank of a stream, i looked closer and it was in a garter snakes mouth! It got away and we grabbed the snake, he was a good sized fella. Our net broke so we didnt get any turtles. They were all there though, staring at us haha. Got a baby bullfrog before the net broke. Cute little female.
A trip somewhere in Fairfax County, VA:
Except for this one...
Can you guys help me identify these true spiders? I know the bottom one is a wolf, but what species?
It's a little known fact that Narceus americanus are Phillies fans.
A sweet looking armored millipede, Apheloria virginiensis corrugata
Northern Ringneck Snake, Diadophis punctatus
Common Water Snake, Nerodia sipedon
Six Spotted Tiger Beetle, Cicindela sexguttata
Pickerel Frog, Rana palustris
What is this stuff?? It reminds of that scene in the movie Creepshow where Stephen King gets consumed by alien green moss. I didn't touch it.
A bizarre abandoned concrete structure by the river.
Eastern Fence Lizard, Sceloporus undulatus
American Toad, Anaxyrus americanus. Speaking of toads, the Virginia Herpetological Society sent me a really useful key for distinguishing between American and Fowler's toads. They're both very common around here:
Great day for box turtles. I found three:
Eastern Box Turtle, Terrapene carolina
Broadhead Skink, Plestiodon laticeps
A stumpy five lined skink, Plestiodon fasciatus, sharing a log with a six spotted tiger beetle, Cicindela sexguttata
Northern Brown Snake, Storeria dekayi
Eastern Worm Snake, Carphophis amoenus