Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

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Matt Arnold
Posts: 174
Joined: August 14th, 2011, 5:26 pm
Location: North Alabama

Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by Matt Arnold » July 28th, 2015, 7:46 pm

Last post: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=21918

I've been able to get out herping quite a bit this spring / summer. Also, in the middle of my year I got a promotion at my job which has limited my time but the increased pay helped me to splurge a bit and finally buy a nice DSLR and macro lens. So in the middle of this post, my photography gets a little bit better, but I still have a ton to learn.

During early may, I took a trip to up to the mountains to see if I could catch any horridus upon emergence. Only one was found, but it was a beauty. Still very thin from winter.

ImageTimber Rattlesnake in it's natural habitat. by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


A very pretty Northern Copperhead was found as well:

ImageCopperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


A few days later and back at home, my good herping buddy called me and said a Timber was crossing right in front of his driveway. I drove over to take a look and see this little guy:
ImageLittle Canebrake found crossing a road in early May. by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


We decided to head out and cruise figuring some things were on the move. We didn't turn anything up except this Black Kingsnake in a tin pile we discovered on the side of a road.

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

The next day, I headed up to Dekalb County, AL to cruise for Hognose and Northern Pines. Struck out on both, the only snake seen was this Southern Black Racer
ImageBlack Racer by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

Around mid may I started cruising more, mostly down at the Bankhead National Forest in NW Alabama. That's when stuff started gettin good.

ImageEastern Garter Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageCopperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageCopperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr



A couple days were spent hiking in the forest with some friends that came to visit:

ImageCottonmouth by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageGreen Salamander by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageCottonmouth by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


We left Bankhead and herped a little bit closer to home one afternoon. Turning up a few Timber Rattlesnakes on my favorite power line cut, including this one that had just consumed a rather large meal

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


After that, later in the afternoon we visited the swamp. I believe this to be a Painted Turtle we found out basking. It allowed us to get very close to take some photos.

ImagePainted Turtle by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

The coolest find was this Ribbon Snake we found feeding on a Leopard Frog (I think). I got some video and this shot.



ImageRibbon Snake feeding on a Leopard Frog. by Matt Arnold, on Flickr



I wasn't lying when I said I went to Bankhead a lot. Here's a big corn found one night cruising.

ImageCorn Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

Back in Huntsville, I went out one afternoon when it wasn't blazing hot and saw this Timber out basking on the power line:

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


In late May I went back to see if anything else had emerged at a few sites in the mountains. Only saw 1 horridus that got away before a picture, as well as a few Coppers

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


On the way home I stopped at a spot in hopes to flip a Mole King with no success, but I did manage this Racer.

ImageBlack Racer by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


One lucky June day I got to participate in some trapping for Flattened Musk Turtles, a very rare animal only found in the Upper Black Warrior River System. I got my lifer and we scored 2 of these beauties! A male and a female.

ImageMale and female Flattened Musk Turtles by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


At this point, I finally upgraded to a DSLR. I started out with the kit lens but quickly added on a 100mm macro and speedlite to go with it. Here's a rat snake found in early June:

ImageMidland Rat Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


And another, different Rat Snake
ImageMidland Rat Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

and a Yellowbelly Water Snake

ImageYellowbelly Water Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


ImageYellowbelly Water Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

I've found a lot of Red Milks this year:

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Timbers, too. I never tire of them though, they are by far my favorite snake.

ImageTimber Rattlesnakes by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


oh, and Kings

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageEastern Garter Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageEastern Garter Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Here's a massive 4.5 foot female Timber found crossing a road in early June. A very rare find, normally on the road you only see males.

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


and more milk

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Copperheads started showing up a bit late this year. After their initial spaz and freak out, they are a pleasure to photograph.

ImageSouthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


I don't get out and look for Salamanders as much as I should.

ImageSouthern Two-Lined Salamander (Eurycea cirrigera) by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


So... yeah. more Timbers. I think im up to 30 or 40 so far this year. This one does have a special story though. A good work buddy of mine from the Phillipines has never seen a rattlesnake before, and one day our schedules lined up and I got to take him herping. We hit my favorite powerline and scored this beauty.

ImageTimber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

we also turned up a huge Black King

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Late June and early July featured more road cruising

ImageCottonmouth by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageRed Milk Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageDekay's Brown Snake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Then, my most recent trip, I went back to the mountains to visit a few of the gestation sites. 19 Timber Rattlesnakes, over 50 Northern Copperheads, and 7 Eastern Garter Snakes were found across 2 and a half days. It was a hell of a trip and super exciting.

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageEastern Garter Snakes by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


First rattlesnake was this beatiful golden female

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Real nice Copper from later in the day:

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Massive yellow phase Timber

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


+ more


ImageTimber Rattlesnakes by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


This ancient snake was probably the 2nd most exciting find for me. It amazes me to find snakes that are probably much older than me.

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


...more timbers were then found

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber RattlesnaketimbeTr7-20-15 by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


On the hike back down from one of the sites, the prize of the trip lay their, right next to the trail. This massive male, by far the prettiest and most unique looking horridus I have seen.

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


Also, on the trail, I heard some slithering in the leaves and saw these 2 Copperheads

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


After scanning the leaves (since the above 2 were not in the leaves) it led me to Copperheads 3 and 4

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


which then led me to copperheads 5, 6, and 7


ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Copperhead by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


.. a pile of 7 Northern Copperheads. Sweet!


After some lunch, I headed up to another site close by. By then it was scorching hot, but I did manage this juvenile

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


The last day in the mountains, I was quite tired from all the hiking but i hit my final site in hopes to find 3 more Timbers (I was up to 17 by this point, my goal was 20). I checked the first rock and saw the coils of this snake. I looped around to the front, and found her watching me from inside her lair:

ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


The next rock revealed something awesome! Crotalus horridus hanging out with a few Agkistrodon contortrix mokasen. As found

ImageTimber Rattlesnake + Northern Copperheads by Matt Arnold, on Flickr


All and all, an amazing trip. I didnt quite hit 20, but 19 will definitely do.



Back at home, work has been keeping me pretty busy, but I got out one day and got 2 kings in the middle of July heat. Sweet.

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Matt Arnold, on Flickr



After not getting out much in 2013 or 2014, this year has really made up for it. It's been nice to spend more time in the field as well as work on my photography. Hope yall are having a good summer out there!


Matt

User avatar
John Martin
Posts: 515
Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:57 pm
Location: North end of Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Re: Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by John Martin » July 28th, 2015, 10:15 pm

Matt Arnold wrote: On the way home I stopped at a spot in hopes to flip a Mole King with no success, but I did manage this Racer.

ImageBlack Racer by Matt Arnold,
Matt
And its scorpion pal :D .

Great post, I never get tired of horridus and Agkistrodon, having grown up in Ohio and seeing many of both in the southern portions of the state. Good job on all of the in situ shots, and yes, your photography has improved much with that new camera gear. :beer:

User avatar
reptologist
Posts: 80
Joined: July 28th, 2013, 6:56 am

Re: Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by reptologist » July 29th, 2015, 7:40 am

Really nice pics, thanks for sharing.

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

Re: Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by Noah M » August 1st, 2015, 6:15 am

DSLR + Macro = many more keepers.

Great stuff!

User avatar
JEDDLV
Posts: 69
Joined: April 28th, 2013, 12:54 pm
Location: Las Vegas, Nv.

Re: Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by JEDDLV » August 2nd, 2015, 2:03 pm

Just great stuff man, thank you for sharing

Tamara D. McConnell
Posts: 2249
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:42 am

Re: Late spring / early summer in North Alabama

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » August 3rd, 2015, 6:51 am

Wow, Matt...just stunning images. Thank you for a truly beautiful post.

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