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On April 4th, I had planned to meet Mike Cravens and Eitan Grunwald to look for Massasaugas. The day before the trip, I decided not to make the four hour drive to meet them.  I guess Plan B would have to do, and I went out for a day of local herping instead.

I started off the morning by finding a few frogs.  Western Chorus Frogs to be exact.  There were many of them calling from a small pool.

Pseudacris t. triseriata

 

 


I only expected to find amphibians, but it got to around 70, and the reptiles came out of hiding.

First, it was this snapping turtle.


 


Right after the snapper, I found this Chicago Garter Snake, my first snake of the year.

Thamnophis sirtalis semifaciata


At another spot down the road, I found three Northern Water Snakes.  All were found basking on branches over the water.

Nerodia s. sipedon


At the same spot, a saw a few of these Midland Painted Turtles.



While searching the area for herp life, I ran into another guy looking for herps.  He had just caught the painted turtle pictured above, and was nice enough to let me photograph it.  Thanks, Doug!

At my last stop, I happened upon a Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii.) My camera was in my bag, and when I got close to it, it dove into the water, so I wasn't able to get a photo. Bummer! This turtle is threatened in Illinois, and was a lifer for me.

So for the day, I saw:

3 Northern Water Snakes

2 Chicago Garter Snakes

1 Common Snapping Turtle

1 Blanding’s Turtle

 

And many of the following

Green Frogs

Western Chorus Frogs

Midland Painted Turtles

 

A great day for this time of year in Northern Illinois. I am happy with my finds, but I really wish I could have gone to see a Massasauga.

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