European herper looking for FL help

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

European herper looking for FL help

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » June 30th, 2015, 12:58 am

Hi,

I am a European PhD biologist and avid herper. You can see reports of my trips on my website ( http://www.hylawerkgroep.be/jeroen ). I also have some show-and-tell on FHF - here's just a few examples.
Malaysia - http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=21999
Peru - http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=17282
AZ - http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=13526
I also showed about all European herps in a couple of posts but enough with the introduction!

Starting next Sunday, I will do a road trip through the eastern US. Although the family won't allow me to turn it into a real herping trip, I am hoping to see some stuff. It’s hard to narrow it down to a single target, but I would love to see an eastern diamondback, but I'm up for any lifer, really. The trouble is that I will be travelling with my wife and kid in an RV, so I would be particularly interested in teaming up with a local herper, in exchange for me paying for the fuel, of course.

I will most likely enter FL from GA around the 23rd of July and we're flying back home on 1st of August.

g's,

Jeroen.

simus343
Posts: 566
Joined: March 30th, 2014, 12:16 pm
Location: Okaloosa ca, Fla.

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by simus343 » June 30th, 2015, 1:50 pm

Keep this in mind with Eastern Diamondbacks, me and many others here find them, but just be chance. It is a very difficult species to target because of the extremist persecution is faces here in the southeastern US. Not to mention it has a darn near perfected camouflage for the habitats it utilizes.

Getting on low-traffic dirt roads in the early morning and late evening are your best shot to find them with the time of year you will be here.

Overall herping for snakes, at least in Florida, is rather challenging for non-aquatic species during July and August. I may find only a few "dry" species during those months combined. I have never really tried night herping, but I'm going to be doing that in a couple hours here for the first time.

The best success I've had for herping the first two weeks of August was in the ANF area. I did find a single Eastern Diamondback maybe about an an hour before sunset crossing hwy 98. All my other snakes were aquatics and semi-aquatics.

If you kayak a river here in Florida (which can be a fun for all trip, not just a herp trip) you can cross off several herp species including snakes, frogs, salamanders, and turtles. If you visit a highly active river or creek, try getting on the water in the early morning before everyone else does. I took a 15 mile trip on a tributary to black water river last year and had the water to myself for half the day. No other people to scare the herps off.

Good luck with your search for a Diamondback while here in the US, and I hope you have a great trip! :beer:

Jimi
Posts: 1867
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by Jimi » June 30th, 2015, 2:38 pm

Jeroen, have your plans advanced to the point you know where you're crossing the state border? I-75 or I-95? Or Okefenokee/Osceola?

I think you might have better EDB odds at the beach, than inland, in the summertime. Also less of a sweat-fest. Your timing is actually pretty good for dispersing neonates and adult males hunting females. Try for one in the dunes or at the marsh edge, coiled up, on the crawl, or sitting in a tortoise burrow entrance. There are some pretty decent spots in the NE corner of the state. Simus' time of day advice is spot on; marsh gnats are worse in the AM, the wind can be annoying in the PM - pick your poison. Both screw up your hearing, which is too bad. EDBs can hiss as much as rattle, until you really piss them off. Ha ha, I'm sure you won't do that. Their camo is good though, it's easy to get closer than you meant to...

Hopefully some of the Jax and Gainesville crowd give you a shout. If they've seen your posts they know what a good field hand you are.

Good hunting,
Jimi

User avatar
mtratcliffe
Posts: 533
Joined: January 19th, 2014, 4:34 pm
Location: Springfield, VA

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by mtratcliffe » June 30th, 2015, 4:02 pm

Being that you will be in an RV, roadcruising at night does not appear to be much of an option for you. It's one of the more productive means of herping during the summer, when every single day is hot and humid. Face it - you won't be able to beat the heat. If you want to hike, mornings can still be productive in some habitats. Find a park with a boardwalk and you can turn up a decent bit near water.

As simus suggested, Florida is great for kayaking/canoeing. Set out in the morning, but not too early, and you should turn up turtles and gators out basking. You may even see some snakes on the waterways. Plus, it's a great way to see some of the natural beauty of this state. During hotter hours of the day, I suggest visiting one of Florida's many natural springs and taking a dip in the refreshing waters. Just be sure that you are allowed to do so first!

User avatar
PrimitiveTim
Posts: 154
Joined: September 8th, 2013, 8:05 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by PrimitiveTim » June 30th, 2015, 5:53 pm

You should kayak the silver river. You will see turtles water snakes and alligators and monkeys. Then you should go to the northern indian river lagoon and go kayaking in the bioluminescence at night. Florida has a lot of awesome kayaking to be done.

User avatar
Noah M
Posts: 2289
Joined: November 3rd, 2012, 6:00 pm
Location: Gainesville, FL
Contact:

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by Noah M » June 30th, 2015, 6:30 pm

PM sent - I think you've seen it by now.

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » June 30th, 2015, 10:19 pm

Thanks for the replies!

The route is not fixed at this point, but here's some places I have in mind:
Osceola NF
Apalachicola and perhaps St Marks WR
Lower Suwannee NWR
Anastasia SP
(Ocala NF)
Everglades NP

simus343
Posts: 566
Joined: March 30th, 2014, 12:16 pm
Location: Okaloosa ca, Fla.

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by simus343 » July 1st, 2015, 6:12 am

As far as Osceola NF, I friend of mine did some studies on Flat-woods Salamanders there years ago to assess their conditions in the park. The colleague that he worked with on this project has visited since. All of the ponds they found with the endangered Ambystomid salamander are now gone due to continued fire suppression. According to this friend of mine (that is a seasoned patron of state and national parks/forests in the US) Osceola is one of the worst managed in the nation. However, if you have never been through the Eastern US on a road trip and visited some of our forests, I know you'll be able to cross 5-10 lifers off your list that are just about everywhere at Osceola. Mostly in the amphibian arena.

From the pictures though, I think it may have been a while since he has been, as some of the spots look promising. Then again, Black Water, a spot not on your list, look very promising and is boarder to the amazing Eglin Reservation, and yet is terrible for snakes.

All of your other spots are amazing though for herping from what I have heard, seen from others, and my own experience. Good luck!

User avatar
Berkeley Boone
Posts: 878
Joined: June 8th, 2010, 3:02 am

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by Berkeley Boone » July 1st, 2015, 6:34 am

Jeroen- I got your message. I'll try to respond to it this afternoon. Solid advice from the other responses above, too.
--Berkeley

User avatar
Jeroen Speybroeck
Posts: 822
Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Location: Belgium
Contact:

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » July 1st, 2015, 10:11 am

Thanks, guys!

User avatar
regalringneck
Posts: 562
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:20 am

Re: European herper looking for FL help

Post by regalringneck » July 1st, 2015, 2:42 pm

... i for one appreciate a call for help, from one who has given so freely & so often / thankyou / : ]

... so id look @ parking that rv @ a state park ; crystal springs ? n. of orlando & seeing if you cant get a rental car to drop off to you (uber driver ?) & cruise the main roads of the Ocala
.. id buy the DeLorme Florida book of maps
.. id also use the search feature here, because alot of good stuff has been posted previously

... i too am overdue for another florida fix .. mebbe this fall ... when the indigloes intertwine : ]

good luck / rxr

Post Reply