Make your own free website on Tripod.com
Home
Life List
Field Notes
Herp Photography
Other Photography
Links

Previous                                                  Next
Go to page:
1  2  3  4

Following the mornings finds, the heat of the day set in and it really showed in the productivity of the hillsides. After the two kings, a few ringnecks and earth snakes, and the box turtles, not a thing was found for several hours. We must have lifted hundreds of rocks to see the same thing underneath… nothing. Not even ringnecks! We were sort of discouraged by the lack of finds, after all, we were in the promised land of herping so to speak.

Beleive it or not, we found no snakes on the hillside below!


We were forced to head to a different locale which led us a bit farther to the south. Along the way the heat afforded us time to explore some rocky creeks. We turned up a Ribbon Snake, and a couple of Pickerel frogs, which was a lifer for me. I also turned a rock to see a Red River Mudpuppy disappear into the silt which was stirred up when I moved the rock. I searched the area, hoping to see it again, but the mudpuppy was gone. This was also a lifer.

Pickerel Frog (Rana palustris)
Taney County, Missouri

Western Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis p. proximus)
Ozark County, Missouri


By the middle of the afternoon the four of us were once again walking uphill, stopping every several feet and hunching over to lift the slabs of limestone and other various rocks that snakes like to hide under. Of course, we were all careful to put the rocks back in their original position to the best of our ability. This glade wasn’t showing us what Missouri had to offer either, and after turning pretty much every damn rock on the hill, all we had found were wasps, a tarantula, and Adam found a black widow which I spent some time with.



The gang was growing weary, but as we assembled, my dad was holding something in his hand. He showed us all a Flat Headed Snake, which was a welcomed sight. This individual looked like it got in a fight with a tarantula or something, and was scabbed over and several places, but I took its picture anyway. This was its good side...

Flat Headed Snake (Tantilla gracilis)
Ozark County, Missouri

Although at this point we had seen a good sampling of what these Ozark glades had to offer, my friends and I knew that conditions were not ideal for the type of habitat. It seemed that in addition to us arriving too early in the year, the season had also been dry, which was evident by the level of some of the lakes and creeks we had passed by. We made the decision to try another type of habitat. “Plan B” was to try some night road cruising that evening, and head east the following morning, into the southeast Missouri lowlands. This would be a complete change of scenery, and we couldn’t wait to get into the cyprus swamps to see what creatures we may come across.

We ate a quick pizza dinner and by nightfall our eyes were scanning the road for snakes in the headlights. This was a road that I have cruised for years, and seen hundreds of copperheads on. I had never visited the area in the spring though, and no one knew what to expect. After a few miles the snakes started to show themselves. First it was a Dekay's snake, followed up by two earth snakes. Eventually we saw the familiar shape of a copperhead illuminated in front of the car.

Osage Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix phaeogaster
Carter County, Missouri


At one pond the familiar call of spring peepers emenated into the car, and I was able to get photos of a calling spring peeper, despite the efforts of an unfriendly local earlier in the trip.

Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
Carter County, Missouri

Up until this point we hadn't found many salamanders, but that was about to change. The third morning of the trip was spent in an area with vernal pools everywhere, and salamanders were found in abundance. At one area we found Marbled, Spotted, Smallmouth, and Mole salamanders. All four of these species could be found within 20 yards or so of each other. One of the spotted salamanders was all black except for a pair of spots on its head.

Spotted Salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum)
Wayne County, Missouri


Marbled Salamanders (Ambystoma opacum)
Wayne County, Missouri


Smallmouth Salamander (Ambystoma texanum)
Wayne County, Missouri

Mole Salamander (Ambystoma talpoideum)
Wayne County, Missouri

At this point we has seen all the salamanders we intended to, so we headed to an area where a south facing limestone bluff borders a swamp.

Cyprus swamp in Stoddard County, Missouri

Near the bluffs

Previous                                                  Next
Go to page:
1  2  3  4

dsc_0037.jpg

ILherps.com
All images displayed on this website are copyright Scott Albert and cannot be copied, saved, or used in any way without written permission. All content on this site is protected by federal and international copyright law. All rights reserved worldwide.