It is currently August 20th, 2018, 5:12 am

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 1:39 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Posts: 790
Location: Belgium
Here's the report of my 4th trip to the USA. Because posting links is frowned upon around here (still don't see why, as long as discussing them keeps the forum buzzing...), I have been a good boy and edited my website report to display here. Hope you enjoy it!

- - -

My better half, Stefanie, wanted to see the lush, green and rolling hills of the Appalachians ever since our first trip to the USA in 2011 (California). After some consideration, we decided to make it a four weeks trip, adding Florida to the route starting in Washington DC. Soon after booking our flight tickets, we were happy to find out that a second child is on its way. After briefly discussing the consequences of this joyful fact, we decided we would still do the trip. In the mean time, stories of a magical, far away land got our son Bas intrigued and excited to cross the Atlantic Ocean as well, so we were all keen to leave.

Stefanie really wanted to do the trip in an RV and this was indeed a very practical means of travel for a pregnant woman. Not so much for herping and especially roadcruising, though. While the Appalachian leg of our trip allowed for fairly easy salamander hunting starting from well-chosen campgrounds, turning up snakes in the summer months without a car was going to be challenging further south.

So, I imagined to do (1) cherry picking in the mountains, while rather (2) “picking up the trash” further south.

On that first account, I wanted to target a shortlist of seven salamander species:
* Hellbender
* Yonahlossee Salamander
* Green Salamander
* Cave Salamander
* Jordan’s Salamander
* Pigeon Mountain Salamander
* Red Salamander
I knowingly did not prepare the trip into every detail, like I am used to. I knew that would tempt me to make the shortlist not as short. Ignorance serves as a way of keeping the family peace. Now, after the trip, I know that minimal effort would have brought several additional species. There’s always the chance of doing a full-on herping trip someday.

Getting back to the "southern trash", that is of course a very unrespectful way of saying that I had high hopes but low expectations given the season and the lack of road cruising. In other words, I was going to be happy with anything that I might encounter. Having never traveled the eastern parts of the US before, even the common stuff was new to me. Luckily, I could at least address the roadcruising problem for a bit because I got to spend two nights cruising with friendly Florida herpers.

I want to thank the people I met along the way: Bill & Jean McGighan, David Gilbert, Michael Freak, Bill Sutton, and Tim Borski. They were all very helpful and allowed me to learn a lot in a very short time. I love getting in touch with local herpers, and the eastern US people were just as nice to meet as their countrymen and –women out west. Also big thanks to some guys who helped with tips, tricks and some spots - Kevin, Brad, Ananth, Cliff and Jimi.

Image
sites of observation

Image
my companions, Stefanie, Bas and our expected daughter; finding Bas’s favourite fruit, raspberries, would turn out to be quite challenging during the trip…

Sunday July 5th – arrival in DC and night in a hotel

We flew directly from Brussels to Washington DC. RV rental requires you to spend the first night in the country elsewhere, so we stayed at a hotel in Manassas, close to the pickup location.

Monday July 6th – starting along the Blue Ridge

The next morning we got our home-on-wheels, did some grocery shopping and headed straight to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, getting our first taste of the Appalachians.

Image
Blue Ridge vista

In the evening we arrived at a campground close to Crabtree Falls.

Image
wise advice

The jetlagged family went to bed early, but I of course had to check the campground to see the first species of the trip. I found nothing too fancy, but I remember appreciating the beauty of my very first slimy salamander. I had no idea that I would be entering the range of another, related species soon.

Image
White-spotted Slimy Salamander (Plethodon punctatus)

Image
larva indet.

Tuesday July 7th – towards Peaks of Otter

The next morning, we started with a short hike to the actual Crabtree Falls.

Image

Continuing further south along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we stopped at an old logging railroad and I flipped some more.

Image
Northern Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)

Image
White-spotted Slimy Salamander (Plethodon punctatus)

We camped at Peaks of Otter, where it was fairly dry, so maybe that is why I failed to find the endemic salamander. It was only later that I realised I actually missed out on a fairly nice species. Did find some more trivial stuff, though.

Image
Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)

Image
Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)

Image
Green Frog (Lithobates clamitans melanota)

Image
larva of Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

Wednesday July 8th & Thursday July 9th – Mount Rogers

We carried on, always further southwest, into the Mount Rogers area, a salamander walhalla where we were scheduled to spend two nights. Apart from offering serious brain teasers in the shape of hard-to-identify Dusky Salamanders, the place did not disappoint. Especially the stunning Yonahlossee Salamanders (Plethodon yonahlossee) are exquisite.

Image
Yonahlossee Salamander (Plethodon yonahlossee)

Image
Yonahlossee Salamander (Plethodon yonahlossee)

Image
Northern Gray-cheeked Salamander (Plethodon montanus)

Image
Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Image
Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamander (Eurycea wilderae)

Image
Seal Salamander (Desmognathus monticola)

Image
Northern Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)

Now take a look at an abundant but oh so variable species!

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Some non-salamander species…

Image
Pickerel Frog (Lithobates palustris)

Image
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Image
Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus) – in total, I found five of these snakes crawling around in wet woods at nights, probably looking for an amphibian meal

Friday July 10th – further west in Virginia

We moved further west in Virginia. Along the way, we headed up Whitetop Mountain, making a weak attempt to find Weller’s Salamander (Plethodon welleri). Lack of persistence on my part to try stretching my better half’s patience did not allow to meet that goal, while of course some salamanders were around again.

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

Image
Blue Ridge Dusky Salamander (Plethodon orestes)

After that, we reached our destination for the day rather early in the afternoon. The local riverside campground was either too cryptic or gone, so we decided to just park our RV on a parking in the woods, at the trailhead of where I was hoping to go looking for Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus). Before my dedicated nocturnal hike, Bas and I explored the creek trail. Only minutes into the hike, I snatched him by the collar because there was a familiar sight laying on the trail – a dark-coloured Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). We called out to Stefanie to come and see the snake and the occasion was seized to educate Bas on "good and bad" snakes.

Image
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) as found

Image
careful admiration

Image
Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

After dark, I hiked along the creek once more and careful searched humid and less humid forest floor and rock faces, but no green mander to be found… Of course, there was again other stuff to enjoy, including the trip’s only Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) and a Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum).

Image
? Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) or Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Image
? Cumberland Plateau Salamander (Plethodon kentucki) or Northern Slimy Salamander (Plethodon glutinosus)

Image
Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica)

Image
Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) – as found

Image
Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) – not as found

Saturday July 11th – still further west in Virginia and a quick Kentucky stop

I had decided to hang on to the milk, so Bas could get to meet a "good snake". This was the first snake he really got to handle. He enjoyed it very much, even after a little bite incident. Daddy was very proud.

Image

Father and son released the snake, and then we drove on, still further west, towards another Green Salamander site in the extreme east of Kentucky. We got yelled at for driving too slow, but what can you do with all those Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina) on the road...

Image
Eastern Box Turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina), before I moved it off the road

Very quickly after arriving at the salamander spot, I was very happy to succeed, especially after spending many hours until well after midnight the night before. After the Yonahlossee, this meant my second shortlist salamander target was achieved, yeah!

Image
Green Salamander (Aneides aeneus)

We drove back into Virginia. A bluegrass band was performing on the campground, which all three of us enjoyed. We bought a CD which became our roadtrip’s theme music.

Image

Sunday July 12th - entering Tennessee and mandering with Bill

We entered Tennessee and spent the night in the woods not too far from the home of Bill and Jean McGighan. They gave us a very warm welcome and a lovely family dinner, before Bill and I went out into the woods to look for salamanders. The species composition was fairly comparable to that of the Mount Rogers campground, but the Yonahlossees were certainly out in bigger numbers, so I was having the time of my life. Such a beautiful salamander…

Image
Yonahlossee Salamander (Plethodon yonahlossee)

Image
Yonahlossee Salamander (Plethodon yonahlossee)

Image
Yonahlossee and Slimy as found

Image
Blackbelly Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)

Image
Blackbelly Salamander (Desmognathus quadramaculatus)

Image
Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus carolinensis)

Image
Carolina Mountain Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus carolinensis)

After the hike, Bill showed me a newt spot which was too dry and overgrown. Seconds before we were going to say our goodbyes back at the campground, I asked him to stop the car for a small brightly coloured sausage on the road. There it was, another of my main salamander targets!

Image
Red Salamander (Pseudotriton ruber)

Monday July 13th – Smokies (1)

On this day, we reached the famous "salamander capital of the world" – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Smokies. While Stefanie and Bas were still in the visitor centre shop, I went outside to find a bunch of people screaming at the sight of a black snake. It was in shed and there was a ranger preventing me from touching it, but I took some pictures anyway.

Image

Image
Eastern/Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis spiloides)

Image
Eastern/Black Rat Snake (Pantherophis spiloides)

Tuesday July 14th – Smokies (2)

We started the day driving the Cades Cove loop. Heavy rain, so only a few deer and no stops for salamanders.

Prior to the trip, I had gotten in touch with Dr. Michael Freake from Lee University. Together with Prof. Dr. Bill Sutton from Tennessee State University, he is leading a crew researching a certain special salamander, the Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). The first day they were occupied with a group of high school kids, so we just said hello and decided to meet again later in the evening for a nocturnal salamander hike, postponing hellbender searching until the next day. I decided to go for a refreshing swim with Bas. Heavy rainfall again in the late afternoon, so the night hike was productive, including 100+ Jordan’s Salamanders (Plethodon jordani), another great species.

Image
Jordan’s Salamander (Plethodon jordani)

Image
Jordan’s Salamander (Plethodon jordani)

Image
Jordan’s Salamander (Plethodon jordani)

The variability in the lookalike Imitator Salamander (Desmognathus imitator) is as confusing as it is fascinating.

Image
Imitator Salamander (Desmognathus imitator)

Image
Imitator Salamander (Desmognathus imitator)

Image
Imitator Salamander (Desmognathus imitator)

I was particularly fond of the tiny Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus wrighti) and its hopping locomotion mode.

Image
Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus wrighti)

Image
a Pygmy Salamander and two Blue Ridge Two-lined Salamanders as found

Bill added another impressive creature to our findings – a Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus).

Image
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

Image
Spring Salamander (Gyrinophilus porphyriticus)

Interesting was to find a couple of jordani without the orange cheeks, making them look like a gray-cheeked salamander species which is not supposed to occur in the area we were at.

Image
Jordan’s Salamander (Plethodon jordani) without the trademark cheek colour

Wednesday July 15th – Smokies (3)

After the night hike it had started raining heavily once more, causing the creeks to be fast-flowing and dangerous to venture in to, so that spoiled the plan of looking for hellbenders. We decided to do another Cades Cove loop drive.

Image
Bas trying to spot a bear

A mother and cub caused a bear jam, so we hopped out of the car and cautiously admired them.

Image

Image

Image
no hellbender today, daddy...

Image

Next, we drove up to the Clingmans Dome mountain top. Cloudy at the top.

Image

Image

Image

Back at the campground, the heavy rains of the day before still caused a little frog activity.

Image
Cope’s Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysocelis)

Image
American Toad (Anaxyrus americanus)

Thursday July 16th – bye to the Smokies featuring the main attraction + Pigeon Mountain (1)

Fortunately, water levels had dropped and the water flow had calmed down, so the hellbending was finally up! I only spotted a larval Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) that I lost in the current, but the combined efforts of eight people delivered an assortment of hellbenders of different sizes. Fantastic creatures! The family was getting anxious to move on, so I quickly snapped some pictures.

Image
yours truly looking for benders

Image
investigating a smallish adult

Image
larva vs. big guy

Image

Image
Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

Image
Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis)

A couple of hours of driving had us entering Georgia, with our first stop being Pigeon Mountain in the northwest of the state. A fairly famous cave delivered several Cave Salamanders (Eurycea lucifuga) and many slimies.

Image
family at cave entrance

Image
Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)

Image
Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)

After that, it was time for another cozy campfire evening.

Image

Friday July 17th – more Greens and the Pigeon Mountain endemic

Stefanie was not feeling up for any hiking, so the boys hiked the mountain for a bit.

Image

Image

Image

I spotted three Green Salamanders. I really wanted to show the more approachable one to Bas, but I was too confident I could get it out and got it retreating out of reach into its hiding place.

Image
maybe a rather typical Green Salamander photograph – out of reach and out of focus...

The area was really dry in comparison with the woods we had visited so far, but a valuable hint led me to an impressive sheltered rock face with some moisture where I could see the local endemic as my final salamander of the trip. A good-looking species with nice eye colour and a chocolate/coffee-coloured back.

Image
Pigeon Mountain Salamander (Plethodon petraeus)

We continued to the northeast of Georgia, staying at the least attractive campground of the trip, also in terms of herps (only Green Frog, Bullfrog and American Toad).

Saturday July 18th – lazy day and finally a water snake

It was time to do some laundry, so that took up half of the day. We then moved to a campground outside Athens. Also not too eventful in terms of herps, but this was a stop to allow us to visit the State Botanical Gardens in the morning of the next day. Did finally find my first ever Nerodia, though.

Image
Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)

Image
Fowler’s Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri)

Image
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon)

Image
Northern Water Snake (Nerodia sipedon) sneaking up to Green Frog (Rana clamitans)

Sunday July 19th – a horticultural visit & to the coast

Stefanie wanted to visit the botanical gardens, so we started the day with that.

Image

Then, we did a somewhat longer drive towards the coast and spent a night on Skidaway Island.

Image
Bas sneaking up to tons of baby crabs

Image

Monday July 20th – Savannah and to Jekyll Island

Another activity to please the family – a visit to the lovely city of Savannah.

Image

Image

We moved on to Jekyll Island. Heavy rain made a terrapin cross the road. It was coming down so heavily that I only snapped a voucher shot from inside the car.

Image
Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)

After dark, a couple more of the common species.

Image
Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii) emerging from its daytime retreat

Image
Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii)

Image
Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

Image
Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) – a more familiar find for a European herper

Image

Tuesday July 21st – more Jekyll Island and to Okefenokee

Bas was very enthusiastic about a visit to the sea turtle rescue centre.

Image

Some time at the beach cooled us down.

Image

We continued to Okefenokee. The eastern entrance facilities were unavailable, so we stayed at Stephen C. Foster State Park. A night hike, partially teaming up with a grandfather and his grandson I ran into, delivered mainly amphibians but also my first ever Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus).

Image

Image
Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis) – far less often spotted than its Brown alien relative

Image
Pine Woods Treefrog (Hyla femoralis)

Image
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Image
Eastern Narrowmouth Toad (Gastrophryne carolinensis)

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Image
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Image
Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

Image
Pig Frog (Lithobates grylio)

Image
Banded Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata)

Wednesday July 22nd – Okefenokee boat trip & Osceola NF

We did a little boat trip into the wetland, spotting numerous American Alligators (Alligator mississippiensis).

Image

Image

Image
American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

Image


Image

Image
Yellow-bellied Slider (Trachemys scripta scripta)

Then, we crossed the state border and stayed not too far away in the Osceola National Forest in Northern Florida. Again, a number of creatures worth a photograph after dark.

Image
Striped Crayfish Snake (Regina alleni)

Image
Southern Cricket Frog (Acris gryllus)

Image
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Image
Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) - the tiniest thing!

Image
Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

Image
Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata)

Image
probably a Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus), but with colours I have never seen in the Old World; hybrid with mabouia?

Thursday July 23rd & Friday July 24th – Anastasia SP and St Augustine

We headed east to the coast again and stayed for two nights in the Anastasia State Park near Saint Augustine. Like everywhere else, I tried but failed at hiking up an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (<>Crotalus adamanteus[/i]), but enjoyed the presence of a healthy population of Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus).

Image
even under that paved walkway, a tortoise had its burrow

Image
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Image
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Image
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Image
Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Image
Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

Image

Especially the second night was rich in amphibians, after a thunderstorm.

Image
spadefoots in action – part 1

Image
spadefoots in action – part 2

Image
Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

Image
Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

Image
Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis)

Image
mismatch

Image
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Image
Greenhouse Frog (Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

Image
Eastern Legless Lizard (Ophisaurus ventralis)

Saturday July 25th & Sunday 26th – Manatee Springs SP

A beautiful small coastal island delivered no rattler.

Image

Image

Image
Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carolenesis bauri)

After that, we headed west to Ocala National Forest. The campgrounds either were too busy and ‘resort-like’ to our taste or did not have electricity, so we decided to skip Ocala and rather spend two nights at our next stop, Manatee Springs State Park. A beautiful place, but very crowded on our first day.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Night hikes of course gave some more herps.

Image
Florida Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris)

Image
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa) - my 'most wanted' anuran

Image
Barking Treefrog (Hyla gratiosa)

Image
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Image
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea)

Image
awoken Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

Image
not a Florida Green, but a dull Florida Water Snake

Image

In the daytime, I tried to sneak up to some turtles, although light conditions were lousy for pictures.

Image
Loggerhead Musk Turtle (Sternotherus minor)

Image
Suwannee River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna suwanniensis)

Image
skink sp.

Right next to the swimming masses, Gordian knots of Brown Water Snakes (Nerodia taxispilota) were present.

Image
Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota)

Image
Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota)

Image
Brown Water Snake (Nerodia taxispilota)

Monday July 27th – Crystal River & near Lakeland

We left Manatee Springs SP and did a manatee spotting boat trip in the King’s Bay at Crystal River. No underwater gear, so no worthy shots of the animals, but the important thing is that I did get up close with one of those friendly giants.

Image

Image

Image

After that, local herper David Gilbert took me along for roadcruising in the area north of Lakeland, which added the lovely little Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) to the list, as well as plenty of other cool critters including tons of frogs and toads.

Image

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus)

Image
Florida Water Snake (Nerodia fasciata pictiventris)

Image
Squirrel Treefrog (Hyla squirella)

Image
Southern Toad (Anaxyrus terrestris)

Image
Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus) – this one was coiled up near a tree amidst a noisy bunch of frogs and toads

Image
Oak Toad (Anaxyrus quercicus) - depositing eggs solo?

Tuesday July 28th - Highlands Hammock SP

Highlands Hammock State Park was the next stop along our way further south. Beautiful small park. Surely, there were herps here too, but nothing new or really exciting.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)

Image
Southern Leopard Frog (Lithobates sphenocephalus)

Image

Image

Image
Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia)

Image
Eastern Coral Snake (Micrurus fulvius) - too late...!

Wednesday July 29th – Everglades NP (1)

A four hour drive south to our final destination, the Everglades National Park. First an unexpected alien at a random stop along the way.

Image
Brown Basilisk (Basiliscus vittatus)

Then, we drove the main road until Flamingo, where we were going to spend the night.

Image

We reached Flamingo at 4pm, but the promised American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) was not around (yet). We could see three manatees coming in and make their way to a small tap that was leaking freshwater into the dock.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Also a crested specimen of the Brown Anole.

Image
Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei)

Camping at Flamingo was a rather interesting experience. I covered as much of my skin as possible before starting a little hike after dark. Before my face was covered in mosquito bites and I was exploding from the heat underneath too many clothing, I spotted only some alien species and a single garter snake head peeping out briefly of the vegetation.

Image
Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

Jumping back into the RV as quickly as possible still resulted in a family session of mosquito smashing. Five seconds of opening that door had us smashing well over a hundred of them.

Thursday July 30th – Everglades NP (2)

After a night filled with buzzing, we checked the Flamingo visitor centre. By 10 or 11am, a crocodile finally made an appearance. I tried to approach it slowly, but didn’t get any satisfactory pictures.

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) laughing at my louse pictures

Stefanie was feeling rather unwell, so we decided to spend one night in a hotel. A bite to eat on Key Largo and a swim in the hotel pool were the only events of the rest of the day, until the evening. Local herper Tim Borski kindly picked me up at 7pm and we set out towards the Everglades. The night couldn’t have been picked worse in terms of moonlight, but at least there’s a lot of species and the temperature and humidity were OK. I was happy with what we found for just a single night of cruising and a little bit of night hiking. I can only imagine what a top night must be like in this species-rich place...

Image
Tim photographing legless lizard

Image
Island Legless Lizard (Ophisaurus compressus)

Image
Florida Green Water Snake (Nerodia floridana)

Image
Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Image
American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus)

Image
Scarlet Snake (Cemophora coccinea)

Image
Knight Anole (Anolis equestris)

Friday July 31st – getting ready for home & a short zoo visit

We spend the last day cleaning the RV (although nobody bothered to even check when we eventually returned it the next day) and visiting the Miami Zoo. A final alien lizard species closed the herping.

Image
Bark Anole (Anolis distichus)

Saturday August 1st & Sunday August 2nd – the least agreeable part

Back home from Miami through Frankfurt. We missed our connection, so asked the Lufthansa staff if there was a place where a pregnant woman could lay down for the 7 hours of waiting, but to our disappointment we were told that was absolutely out of the question. As a consequence Stefanie suffered a lot and when we got back to Belgium, the entire trajectory from airplane to taxi was completed in a wheelchair. Fortunately, she started to feel better soon after we got back home, so we can all look back on another memorable trip in the amazing US outdoors.

Species list

A dedicated herping trip would surely have delivered a lot more, but I am very happy with the result. I may very well return some day if my herping friends would be up for it. Other than that, I think I have sampled the US herpetofauna quite nicely over four trips. Madagascar and Australia are now on top of the wishlist of herping destinations. But first let's see how the new addition to our little family affects our lives :).

Image


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 5:03 am 
User avatar

Joined: September 12th, 2010, 1:20 pm
Posts: 220
Location: Jersey, UK
Great trip report Jeroen, thanks for sharing. You really cleaned up on the salamanders - very jealous. Also, I have a first child on the way so I am pleased to see it isnt necessarily a barrier to herping trips!


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 5:45 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:23 am
Posts: 2227
Location: Unicoi, TN
You took us all right along with you, Jeroen. :thumb: :thumb:


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 5:52 am 

Joined: June 17th, 2010, 4:51 am
Posts: 360
Location: CT
Great report! Glad to see you found a bunch of your targets.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 6:37 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Posts: 3430
Location: Illinois
Thanks for posting this. You didn't miss much on your trip. I've been meaning to do a similar one for years. I'm stealing the RV rental idea since I have boys the age of Bas. This was a great post, made me smile all the way through. I hope you guys enjoyed the US.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 9:32 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Posts: 971
Great post, certainly an amazing trip. I'm envious of all those salamanders, you really did well for yourself.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 9:58 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:12 pm
Posts: 1468
Location: Orange County, CA
WoW, what a spectacular adventure. :beer:


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 11:07 am 
User avatar

Joined: March 16th, 2011, 11:28 am
Posts: 547
Location: New Jersey
Nicely done! In case you come back, one trick I've learned for Green Salamanders (might work for other crevice dwellers) is to carry along a plastic spray bottle, so if a salamander disappears into a crack, you spray water into the crack, drenching it, and come back to the same spot in 10 or 15 minutes, and often the salamander will have worked its way out again. I think this simulates a rainstorm soaking the rockface, which triggers more surface activity.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 11:22 am 
User avatar

Joined: July 28th, 2013, 6:56 am
Posts: 80
Thanks for taking the time to post. There are some great pics and more than a few species that I want to see.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 1:13 pm 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Posts: 8025
Location: Hesperia, California.
awesome post. Jer... :thumb: jim


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 11th, 2015, 5:21 pm 
User avatar

Joined: January 19th, 2014, 4:34 pm
Posts: 532
Location: Springfield, VA
Jeroen,

You killed it on your trip! Very nicely done. I'm not sure you could have done any better for a summer trip. Looks like your son had a blast as well! I'm glad David was able to show the Green Swamp to you - it is an excellent place for herping.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 13th, 2015, 1:37 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Posts: 790
Location: Belgium
Thank you all for your kind replies! Herping the States always feels so much easier than herping Europe. Looking back on four US trips, the scenery out west was more appealing to me (or rather, more un-European), but the abundance of animals and the tranquility of the places were (again) hard to beat around here.

Although it's not cheap, I can definitely recommend the convenience of travelling with an RV through salamanderland, but further south & switching to snakes, it's hard not to miss having a car.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 14th, 2015, 1:47 am 
User avatar

Joined: December 26th, 2012, 11:48 pm
Posts: 639
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Great trip report, Jeroen.

Love those salamanders, especially the colorful ones. Still jealous that we don't have any here :P


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 14th, 2015, 10:03 am 
User avatar

Joined: November 3rd, 2012, 6:00 pm
Posts: 2282
Location: Gainesville, FL
Glad you enjoyed your time here in the states. From what I know in Florida, you did quite well, and got several salamander species from the north that I think many of us would be happy to have on our own lists.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: cherries and trash - from DC to Miami
PostPosted: August 21st, 2015, 6:27 am 
User avatar

Joined: June 29th, 2011, 12:56 am
Posts: 790
Location: Belgium
Here's a little leftover from my trip. St Augustine, FL.



Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 28 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: