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Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 9:05 am
by frogfish
So a few weeks ago, this southern boy found himself moving to Maryland. Headed north on I95, I soon found myself in gridlocked traffic that I would experience daily for the next four years. Ugh...I have always traveled south on 95 from my home of NC instead of north...now I know why!

Bitchin' aside...it wasn't long before I went out herping :) I met up with my buddy Matthew Sullivan, a great friend of mine and awesome photographer, and decided to hit the PA mountains. At the first stop, I was able to knock out two lifers in short succession...we flipped around an old house foundation and found two juvenile Eastern Milksnakes (Lampropeltis triangulum) and flipped a Long-tailed salamander (Eurycea longicauda) at a nearby seep.

ImageEastern Milk Snake by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

ImageLong-tailed Salamander and habitat by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

After that, we made the trip further up the mountains and hiked some railroad tracks. After flipping several pretty Northern copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen) and an Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis), we finally found our target stretched out across a railroad tie...a beautiful black-phase timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

ImageBlack-phase Timber Rattlesnake in situ by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

ImagePortrait of a Black-phase Timber Rattlesnake by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

I was super stoked, as it was my first black timber. On the walk back to the car, we decided to flip in a nearby stream for salamanders. We turned up several Spring salamanders (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus) and a mountain dusky salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus). As we continued to walk down the stream, I looked up to see a large snake stretched out. We run over to it to find out that it is another large timber rattler that had just swam across the stream (he was still wet)...how cool is that!

ImageSpring Salamander and habitat by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake in a Mountain Stream by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

The next day, Matt and I decided to trek down to the NJ Pine Barrens to do some flipping. It was a pretty overcast and wet day so we decided that flipping would be our best bet. We met up with Ryan Fitzgerald, Dave Fitzpatrick, and Zack Signora. We started off by flipping several northern ringnecks (Diadophis punctatus edwardsii), eastern worm snakes (Carphophis amoenus amoenus), and a redbellied snake (Storeria occipitomaculata occipitomaculata) and eastern garter (Thamnophis sirtalis). We hit a few more spots, and at one of them Dave flips a large tarp...as he is setting it down I glance over to see a snake tangled in the tarp in the one place Dave couldn't see. I run over and grab it...a beat-up looking Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula).

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In a nearby shingle pile, I was flipping tiles and I see a flash of color. I grab it and pull out a stunning juvenile coastal plains milksnake (Lampropeltis temporalis/triangulum)...I was so stoked to see one of these guys, definitely the highlight of the day for me.

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At the next spot, we start flipping boards in a clearing amid the pitch pines, and I almost stepped on this girl....a beautiful NJ "pinebrake" (Crotalus horridus). God I love horridus :)

Image"Pinebrake" in situ by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

ImagePortrait of a "Pinebrake" by santosh_shanmuga, on Flickr

The funny thing is that this snake was out basking in the open directly between two boards that Dave had already flipped...which means he probably stepped right over her without even noticing. And to think, I almost did the same thing! Reminder to all...watch your step!!!

After that we called it a day. I am sure it will not be my last time herping PA/NJ :) Thanks to Matt/Ryan/Dave/Zack for a fun-filled two days!

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Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 9:16 am
by Chaitanya
beautiful photos, especially the habitat shots.

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 10:50 am
by MattSullivan
sweet post dude. glad you came up and we managed to turn up some good stuff :)

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 11:41 am
by Bostaff of Asclepius
Fantastic shots, great stuff!

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 2:00 pm
by infidel
nicely done shots!

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 6th, 2014, 2:51 pm
by tomharten
What? No pinesnake?? Boooring!

Just kidding, what a great post! Welcome to Maryland.

Tom

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 12th, 2014, 8:30 am
by frogfish
Thanks everyone!

Re: Wrong turn on 95

Posted: August 12th, 2014, 12:03 pm
by Zach_Lim
Stunning photography and use of the wide angle shot!

The horridus is gorgeous.