Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

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cherper
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Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by cherper » March 25th, 2015, 7:49 pm

2015 didn't waste any time in producing snakes as I took a day trip to South Georgia on New Year's Day (none of the bowl games interested me). We were able to walk up a few snakes with temps in the 60's.

Corn Snake
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Eastern Hognose Snake
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Dusky Pigmy Rattlesnake
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So a few days later I decided to try my hand at salamandering. I've wanted to find an adult tigrinum so a famous herper who's name everyone would recognize, sent me a Maps picture of a few Carolina Bays in Jefferson County. When I realized that this spot was right across the street from a close friend's farm I easily obtained permission to check out the area and did so with Josh Holbrook who drove down to join the hunt. After crossing a field under the awkward stares of curious cows we found the first pond which was muddied by the cattle. Most of the logs and dipnets produced no tigrinum but a few Mole Salamader larvea. Just before heading to the next pond I flipped a log to find this.

Tiger Salamander
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The next pond turned up only a couple of adult Mole Salamanders under logs and Mole larvea in the pond, however, a knoll next to the pond revealed a few nice size logs which when the first was flipped I found this nice Tiger.

Tiger Salamander
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Part of the log still remained unturned and Josh turned it over to produce a nice femaie Tiger. Another log produced a nice Marbled Salamander and Josh joked that all we need to find the Abystoma Grand Slam was a Spotted. That was prophetic as he would find his Spotted later that night on his way home to NC. Later we connected with Kerry Nelson at a WMA to continue looking for tigrinum. Kerry was able to find his lifer Tiger that night as he chased down the only other specimen found that night. I now realized what I have been missing not taking salamandering seriously. I'm hooked! Another trip to the WMA with my son produced two more tigrinum AOR during a shower.

Tiger Salamanders
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One spot that I can always count on finding snakes during the winter months if the temps are favorable is the local swamp. Pretty much the usual subjects again this Winter and early Spring were out basking.

On certain days in December through February it is not uncommon to stop counting these Mocassins at 40 or 50 or so.
Eastern Cottonmouth
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Eastern Ribbon Snake
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Banded Watersnake
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Brown Watersnake
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Rough Green Snake
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American Alligator
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Eastern River Cooter
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One of my goals for 2014 was to find my lifer Indigo Snake. I was fortunate to accomplish this in December when I walked up two nice females within 30 minutes. This by no means satisfied me. I decided to take up Dirk on his offer to allow me to tag along with him on one of his research trips. Finally in February our schedules merged and I wsa able to accompany him to a fantastic spot along with Brian Hudson, who I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know and have to re-connect with sometime this year. I was the only one in the group who didn't actually find an Indigo myself but I thorouly enjoyed the experience and the expert training. Brian actually found a very nice juevenile Indigo which is not an easy find.

Brian with the juvie Indigo
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I took a work related trip in February to South Texas and decided to extend my trip for two extra days to do a little herping. My hopes were to find an early season Speckled Racer or an Indigo or whatever I was lucky enough to find. The weather could have cooperated better so the Racer was out of the question. I was able to find my lifer Texas Indigo Snake on a warm day basking, but a far from worthy photo was taken with my Iphone. You'll just have to trust me on this one. Here are the only other finds from this trip.

Rough Earth Snake
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Brown Snake
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Gulf Coast Toad
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I just started getting out during the past two weeks to flip tin and now the real herping begins! Bring on Spring!

Southeastern Crowned Snake
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Black Rat Snakes
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Corn Snake
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Smooth Earth Snake
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Noah M
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Noah M » March 26th, 2015, 1:08 pm

Great pictures. The lighting and presentation of all of the animals are nice. That juvi indigo is something else. Was it not small enough to be considered a hatchling? It looks really small to me, but then again, I am surprised at just how small it is.

Do you mind if I ask what state/county the crowned snake and earth snake was in? I'd love to find both, especially here in Florida.

cherper
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by cherper » March 26th, 2015, 8:00 pm

You know, according to Dirk, Indigos hatch in the Spring so it had to be at least 9 months old. I'm not the expert on juevie size though.

The Crowned Snake and Smooth Earth Snake were both found near where I live in East Central GA. There is an area where tantilla are pretty common. I see one or two a year there. Earth Snakes are probably more common but also more secretive than other fossorial snakes. I've been finding more of them in recent years.

Cary

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Stohlgren
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Stohlgren » March 27th, 2015, 5:02 am

Excellent stuff, Cary. Certainly a great start to the year.

Indigos lay their eggs in spring but they don't hatch until mid-summer. By next winter, if that individual is lucky enough to survive, it will be about 4 ft. long.

-Kevin

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Berkeley Boone » March 27th, 2015, 5:44 am

Stohlgren wrote:Excellent stuff, Cary. Certainly a great start to the year.

Indigos lay their eggs in spring but they don't hatch until mid-summer. By next winter, if that individual is lucky enough to survive, it will be about 4 ft. long.

-Kevin
Agreed. That little one must have had a rough time with meals or gotten a late start on the hatch. But I would guess it looks to be around 2.5 feet from the picture.

Great photos, and nice selection Cary! I am sorry to have missed out on indigos this spring. I'll have to see about trying later in the year.
--Berkeley

HerpMan ATL
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by HerpMan ATL » March 27th, 2015, 12:39 pm

Great start and really nice photos.

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Greg Theos
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Greg Theos » March 28th, 2015, 8:17 pm

Good stuff, Cary.

Were the Indigos from a reintroduced population?

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Josh Holbrook » March 29th, 2015, 12:27 pm

Great stuff Cary, hopefully there's much more where that came from this year.

cherper
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by cherper » April 13th, 2015, 4:12 pm

Were the Indigos from a reintroduced population?
I don't believe so, Greg. We were on some private land. I hope you are doing well. Finding any EDB down there?
Great stuff Cary, hopefully there's much more where that came from this year.
Josh, come on down again! Already things are heating up. Finding Muds and Timbers right now.

Cary

cherper
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by cherper » April 13th, 2015, 4:16 pm

Thanks, Kevin and Berkeley! Next Fall and Winter I'd like to join you guys in the field to find more drymarchon.

Cary

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Josh Holbrook » April 13th, 2015, 5:06 pm

cherper wrote:
Were the Indigos from a reintroduced population?
I don't believe so, Greg. We were on some private land. I hope you are doing well. Finding any EDB down there?
Great stuff Cary, hopefully there's much more where that came from this year.
Josh, come on down again! Already things are heating up. Finding Muds and Timbers right now.

Cary

Baby in 8 days - might be a while, but I can't wait!

cherper
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by cherper » April 14th, 2015, 6:15 pm

Baby in 8 days - might be a while, but I can't wait!
Oh, yes, I forgot, Josh. I guess I can give you a pass on this one! :lol:

i'll keep you guys in our thoughts and prayers.

Cary

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Stohlgren
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Stohlgren » April 15th, 2015, 5:36 am

Greg Theos wrote:Good stuff, Cary.

Were the Indigos from a reintroduced population?
So far, indigos have only been reintroduced to Conecuh National Forest in AL.

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Greg Theos
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Greg Theos » April 16th, 2015, 3:05 pm

Indigos have been reintroduced in many different areas other than Conecuh.

Cary, I haven't seeny any EDB yet. But I haven't been out in the field THAT much, either.

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Stohlgren
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Stohlgren » April 16th, 2015, 6:08 pm

Greg Theos wrote:Indigos have been reintroduced in many different areas other than Conecuh.
Ok, well yes, Dan Speake released indigos at a number of locations throughout the southeast in the late 70's through mid 80's, but none are believed to have been successful. The only place that currently has reintroduced indigo snakes is Conecuh.

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Greg Theos
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Re: Good start to 2015 in East Central Georgia!

Post by Greg Theos » April 19th, 2015, 7:46 pm

I have found a few in an area that were, according to Pierson Hill, from a reintroduced population. This was just a few years ago and it was not in AL.

We cannot be certain that none of the other Indigos from repopulation efforts did not survive and reproduce in places where those attempts were made, either. There could be small numbers lingering. It is very possible.

Indigos were not documented on or near Eglin AFB for over a decade until recently. I also know of an area where Pine snakes are believed to have been extirpated for 40+ years, yet a friend finds them there regularly. Just because they are not detected with drift fence surveys, dogs, cameras, etc., that does not mean none survived.

Regarding Indigos (and pretty much everything else), the literature is far from absolute.

-Greg

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