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 Post subject: 2016 Review Part 1: January-May
PostPosted: December 21st, 2016, 6:59 pm 
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Joined: November 15th, 2014, 8:54 am
Posts: 45
Location: Lexington, KY
Hey guys,

Evidently I haven't posted much this past year, and since I finally have free time, I decided to do an end-of-year post. In the next couple days I'll post my finds from summer and fall, but for now here's late winter and spring.

During winter in central Kentucky, there are still several interesting salamanders to be found. The most obvious target is the streamside salamander. Central Kentucky in winter is just about the best possible time and place to find them. We found quite a few.

ImageStreamside Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageStreamside Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageStreamside Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageStreamside Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Another winter-active species we like to target is the Kentucky spring salamander.

ImageKentucky Spring Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Southern two-lined salamanders are ubiquitous in central Kentucky streams in winter. Many are in breeding condition during this season.

ImageSouthern Two-lined Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Two-lined Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Two-lined Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In some places northern dusky salamanders also show up in winter.

ImageNorthern Dusky Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In eastern Kentucky, seal salamanders are common enough that you can usually find a couple in winter:

ImageSeal Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Stream habitat:

ImageBluegrass Region Stream by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

As long as the temperature is above about 40 degrees, we can usually find northern zigzag and southern ravine salamanders in winter.

ImageNorthern Zigzag Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Zigzag Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Zigzag Salamanders by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Ravine and Northern Zigzag Salamanders by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Ravine Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

By driving about 45 minutes south of Lexington, we can find southern zigzag salamanders.

ImageSouthern Zigzag Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Zigzag Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Zigzag Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Habitat:

ImageEastern Kentucky Stream Valley by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Occasionally slimy salamanders also turn up in winter:

ImageSlimy Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Jefferson's salamanders can be found in the vicinity of breeding ponds in late winter in central Kentucky. We began to search for them in winter this year, and had positive results.

ImageJefferson Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageJefferson Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageJefferson Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Warm snaps also allowed us to find spotted salamanders as early as the end of january!

ImageSpotted Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Salamanders by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

On one February day, my friend Kevin, his dad, and I decided to check out a couple vernal ponds in south-central Kentucky. To our amazement, we flipped up almost 30 spotted salamanders!

Habitat. The log in the foreground produced 5 spotted salamanders. Kevin's dad had found 6 before Kevin and I had even gotten out of the car!

ImageSpotted Salamander Habitat by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Salamanders by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Salamander #2 by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Salamander #3 by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

The warm snap also led to frog breeding in January and February.

Wood frog:

ImageWood Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Mountain chorus frogs:

ImageMountain Chorus Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageMountain Chorus Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageMountain Chorus Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Upland chorus frogs:

ImageUpland Chorus Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageUpland Chorus Frogs by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Miscellaneous winter finds:

ImageEastern Bluebird by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Leopard Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageRed-spotted Newt by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In late February, during a heavy rain event, we drove an hour west of Lexington and cruised up my first ever eastern tiger salamanders.

ImageEastern Tiger Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageEastern Tiger Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Other species seen that night:

Streamside salamander

ImageStreamside Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Spring peeper

ImageSpring Peeper by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Pickerel frog

ImagePickerel Frog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Bullfrog

ImageBullfrog by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In early March we spent a day in the Red River Gorge area, finding double digit salamander species.

First we visited a couple vernal ponds:

ImageEastern Kentucky Vernal Pond by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Spotted salamander:

ImageSpotted Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Four-toed salamanders:

ImageFour-toed Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageFour-toed Salamander Guarding Eggs by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Newts:

ImageRed-spotted Newts by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Spring peepers:

ImageSpring Peeper by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageSpring Peeper by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Next we visited a ridge top. I don't know why, but this high, somewhat xeric ridge is a surefire spot for red salamanders.

ImageRed Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageRed Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In a moist rock face, Kevin found this allegheny mountain dusky salamander, a very rare find in this part of Kentucky:

ImageAllegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

While I found a green salamander, a locally abundant but awesome species:

ImageGreen Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In the stream valley below the ridge, we found tons of seal salamanders:

ImageSeal Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

And a few black mountain dusky salamanders:

ImageBlack Mountain Dusky Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Other species seen included two-lined, slimy, and ravine salamanders.

ImageRed River Gorge Vista by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

My first reptiles of the year were snapping turtles, garter snakes, queen snakes, and northern water snakes in my neighborhood.

ImageEastern Garter Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageQueen Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

During our spring break (end of March and beginning of April), Kevin, his dad, my dad, and I embarked on a trip to Arkansas and Missouri. I never got around to making a forum post about it (I think Kevin did), but I'll put some highlights into this post. I should mention that we received tons of help from a couple of very knowledgable people; thanks so much to everyone who helped us out!!!

Mississippi map turtle and red-eared sliders:

ImageMississippi Map Turtle and Red-eared Sliders by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Southern painted turtle:

ImageSouthern Painted Turtle by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Lesser siren:

ImageWestern Lesser Siren by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageWestern Lesser Siren by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Scissor-tailed flycatcher:

ImageScissor-tailed Flycatcher by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Many-ribbed salamander:

ImageMany-ribbed Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Razorback musk turtle:

ImageRazorback Musk Turtle by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Caddo mountain salamander:

ImageCaddo Mountain Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Fourche (pronounced "foosh") mountain salamander:

ImageFourche Mountain Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Rich mountain salamander:

ImageRich Mountain Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Western milk snake:

ImageWestern Milk Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Flathead snake:

ImageFlathead Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Western pygmy rattlesnake:

ImageWestern Pygmy Rattlesnake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Smooth earth snake:

ImageWestern Smooth Earth Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Rough earth snake:

ImageRough Earth Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

The rest of spring I didn't get to herp as much as I usually do, but we still saw some cool stuff.

Black mountain dusky salamander:

ImageBlack Mountain Dusky Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Queen snake:

ImageQueen Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Brown snake:

ImageBrown Snake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Cave salamander from a storm drain in my neighborhood:

ImageCave Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

I did get to do some birding this spring. I'll spare you most of my mediocre pictures, but here are some anyway:

Black-throated green warbler:

ImageBlack-throated-green Warbler by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Palm warbler:

ImagePalm Warbler by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Rough-winged swallow:

ImageRough-winged Swallow by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Chestnut-sided warbler:

ImageChestnut-sided Warbler by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

In May we got to visit one of my favorite places in Kentucky, a very thin, deep gorge in the northeastern part of the state. I already made a post on this outing (viewtopic.php?f=11&t=23551), but here are some highlights:

Black king:

ImageBlack Kingsnake by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Allegheny mountain dusky:

ImageAllegheny Mountain Dusky Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Longtail:

ImageLongtail Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Cumberland Plateau salamanders:

ImageCumberland Plateau Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageCumberland Plateau Salamander by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

The beautiful scenery:

ImageEastern Kentucky Stream by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageEastern Kentucky Stream by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageEastern Kentucky Gorge by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageEastern Kentucky Gorge by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

ImageEastern Kentucky Cascade by Ananth Miller-Murthy, on Flickr

Happy herping everyone!

-Ananth


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