It is currently February 25th, 2017, 9:30 pm

All times are UTC - 8 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: December 24th, 2016, 9:24 am 
User avatar

Joined: February 18th, 2015, 11:11 am
Posts: 110
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
2016 has been my best year of herping ever. I moved to south Florida for work in the middle of 2015 after living in Canada for 12 years. I had herped a bit growing up in the states, but didn't do it much throughout college and for the last several years living in Canada (regretting that now because there's some good herping in Ontario). Needless to say, I had a lot to learn. Road cruising was a new skill to learn as well as I had never really done it before.

The year started with an incredible day filled with lifers in extreme southern Florida. 4 EDBs and 1 Brooks Kingsnake were the highlights.

ImageEverglades Racer by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageBrooks Kingsnake, Miami-Dade County by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Huge EDB, easily 5+ feet
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, in shed by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

February was my first trip to the Canefields and turned up a gorgeous rat snake and a couple Florida Kings

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Image"County line King" by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida King by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Another hike in the Everglades yielded a very grey EDB

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, Miami-Dade County by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

I didn't do too much herping in March due to a course I was trying to finish up. But a morning trip to the Everglades yielded a Yellow Rat Snake, a huge Cottonmouth, and a gorgeous Corn Snake.

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageCottonmouth Concentration by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageMiami Phase by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageContrast by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

April got off to a great start with my first real foray into the Devil's Garden of SW Florida. Things were looking up when two Yellow Rat Snakes were spotted on a dirt road within 30 minutes of getting there. But the real fun started after dark and we finished with a total of 20 snakes, a new personal best for me.

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Lifer Mud Snake!
ImageEastern Mud Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEverglades Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageCorn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Two weeks later, we descended on the area again. We had found some photos of EDBs from the area and we wanted to see some for ourselves. Neither of us and seen one in those counties before. On our second pass down a dirt road, we were greeted by this incredible sight on the shoulder:

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

After the obligatory photoshoot, we took off down the road. We had almost reached the end and were so busy talking that we nearly missed this big beauty that was just barely sticking into the road:

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Super nice Devil's Garden Corn Snake and Anery Corn Snake from the end of April.

ImageCorn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageAnery Corn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Early May yielded both my lifer Eastern Coral Snake as well as my lifer Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.

ImageEastern Coral Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Coral Snake, Okeechobee County by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageRed-Shouldered Hawk eating Striped Crayfish Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageDusky Pygmy Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Two more Corns from the Devil's Garden

ImageCorn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageAnery Corn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A trip up to Ontario, Canada in June yielded my lifer Eastern Fox Snake plus three more in the same day.
ImageBaby Eastern Fox Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Fox Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Fox Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageGetaway by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A pretty Eastern Garter Snake from my in-law's place in SE Michigan

ImageEastern Garter Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

We returned to south Florida via Osceola National Forest. My search for Canebrake Rattlesnakes came up empty, but still turned up a couple cool snakes despite the weather.

ImageGray Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageDusky Pygmy Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageCorn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

My young brother-in-law who came back with us to south Florida said he wanted to see a rattlesnake in the wild, so we headed to the Everglades to see what we could see.

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageAmerican Crocodile by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageHybrid by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida Cottonmouth by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

July started with a bang.....a yearling EDB in the Devil's Garden. My third from that area, which is always a treat.

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Less than a week later, I went with some friends down to extreme southern Florida, and within 10 minutes of getting to our first location, this chunky buzztail was just crawling off the road. I was getting spoiled......3 EDBs in just a couple of weeks!

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

That same night, we got a Florida Cottonmouth and an Eastern Coral Snake, but missed the grand slam for lack of a pygmy. But I made up for it 48 hours later with my first Canefields Pygmy. So I'm calling it my 48 hour grand slam......that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

ImageSouth Florida Grand Slam by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

The rest of July was rather slow, but I did get to see some baby American Crocodiles

ImageAmerica Crocodile hatchling by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

August 1 began a herping trip that I'll never forget. You can read about it in my post that I put up in the forum around August 2 or 3. Needless to say, we got our target baby Burmese Python despite a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageBurmese Python neonate by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A Devil's Garden run to search for more EDBs later in the month missed my targets but still produced lots of common species. I ended up with 22 snakes for the night, breaking my previous personal best.

ImageCorn Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageYellow Rat Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

September rolled around, and with it, Hurricane Hermine. Though it wasn't a hurricane when it went by south Florida, it dumped tons of rain and it got lots of snakes moving after. I hadn't been getting much in the way of target species in the month of August, so hopes were high for September 1. We saw several snakes before sunset and then the sun went down and the fun began. We were racking up numbers quick and I had already surpassed my previous record by 10:30pm. And then lightning struck.....Brooks King! And if that wasn't enough, lightning struck twice and we got a second Brooks King for the last snake of the night to finish with a total of 31.

ImageBrooks Kingsnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageBrooks Kingsnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida Scarlet Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida Cottonmouth by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

The next night, I went back with another friend and got a Burmese Python and a gorgeous Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.....still the nicest I've seen! 14 snakes on September 2 made for 45 in two days.

ImageBurmese Python by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageDusky Pygmy Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A couple weeks later, we tried again for diamondbacks and were rewarded with this adrenaline-pumping sight crawling onto the road.

ImageSunset Diamondback by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

The month was more than half over, and things had been going really well, but one of my top targets was still eluding me: the Scarlet Kingsnake. Thankfully, a trip to south central Florida produced a Rough Green Snake and this stunning redhead.

ImageRough Green Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageScarlet Kingsnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A trip up to north Florida at the end of September to target Canebrake Rattlesnakes came up miserably empty, but we did manage to turn up this beauty. An Anery Eastern Mud Snake!

ImageAnery Mud Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageAnery Mud Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A brief trip to the Canefields the night before Hurricane Matthew yielded a gorgeous Mud Snake and a big Pygmy Rattlesnake.

ImageEastern Mud Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageDusky Pygmy Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

After the hurricane passed by, I took off to the Everglades with a buddy of mine.......things started out really slow before sunset, though we did turn up my first neonate EDB. Things started to pick up after sunset, and then got really interesting when a 7 foot snake turned up in my headlights. And not an hour and a half later, two more Burms!

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageBurmese Python by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageBurmese Python by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A week later, I turned up a gorgeous little neonate EDB on a road through a mangrove forest.

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

Less than two days later, I went with a buddy to hunt Florida Pine Snakes. The location was great, the weather was perfect, everything was lining up........only no snakes were moving. We cruised for a painfully long time and then decided to finish the day at another location in central FL where we could probably at least find snakes of some kind. We got there and cruised a pygmy within 15 minutes. And then, on the way up a paved road to get to some dirt roads, we passed a snake, slammed on the brakes, sprinted back, and stood in awe of my first Florida Pine Snake!

ImageFlorida Pine Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida Pine Snake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

November was mostly a bust for herping......every time I went out, I was coming up empty. But a warm evening at the end of November proved successful and yielded 18 snakes.....the exact number I needed to achieve my goal of 400 snakes for the year!

ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

A brief foray to the Canefields yielded this tiny Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake basking on a log next to a canal under completely cloudy skies......and it was only 63F and really windy!

ImageDusky Pygmy Rattlesnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

I was planning to head to the frigid north for the holidays to visit family, but I had one more chance to herp before leaving. The evening wasn't that warm, but herping is better than not herping, right? I drove down a Canefields road that I reached after dark, wondering if I would see anything at all. But then the shadowy form of a snake appeared in the headlights and I could see that it started to turn around and get off the road. I slammed on the brakes, threw the car in park and sprinted back as fast as I could. Thankfully, it wasn't moving fast and I reached it and smiled with delight.......a Florida Kingsnake! Basically the best thing you can find on that road and it was the only snake I saw that night.

ImageFlorida Kingsnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

ImageFlorida Kingsnake by Daniel Wakefield, on Flickr

It was a great end to the best year of field herping I've ever had. 404 live snakes later, I feel incredibly blessed to see so many of these magnificent creatures in the field. Here's to many more years and finds!


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 3rd, 2017, 11:17 pm 
User avatar

Joined: October 22nd, 2013, 2:32 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Alaska
Great pics and a great variety of herps you found.


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 8th, 2017, 5:07 pm 

Joined: April 22nd, 2012, 2:32 pm
Posts: 142
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Looks like a very nice year!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 26th, 2017, 6:16 am 
User avatar

Joined: February 18th, 2015, 11:11 am
Posts: 110
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Thanks, guys! 2017 has already gotten off to a great start


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 27th, 2017, 2:57 pm 
User avatar

Joined: June 2nd, 2013, 5:51 am
Posts: 121
Location: NW Ohio / SE Michigan
Great pics and post. That's a whole lot of snakes for the year! Congrats.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 28th, 2017, 8:04 am 

Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am
Posts: 349
Spectacular year and your photos show it beautifully. Where (roughly) did you go in Ontario? I've found fox snakes to be relatively common on the north shore of Lake Erie but 4 is a great day. Thanks for sharing.
Best,
Nick


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 29th, 2017, 5:24 am 

Joined: June 2nd, 2011, 3:17 am
Posts: 361
Thanks for the visits to my old stomping grounds! I've always felt that many of the corn snakes from the Devil's Garden area resemble Okeetee corns. Some (like one you posted a photo of) have very thick and clean black borders to the red blotches resulting in a nicely contrasting pattern.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 31st, 2017, 8:36 pm 
User avatar

Joined: February 18th, 2015, 11:11 am
Posts: 110
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
NACairns wrote:
Spectacular year and your photos show it beautifully. Where (roughly) did you go in Ontario? I've found fox snakes to be relatively common on the north shore of Lake Erie but 4 is a great day. Thanks for sharing.
Best,
Nick


I'm actually not supposed to say where the Fox Snakes were. I was taken there by a friend who studies them at the site, so it's important that it not be shared. But yes, I was THRILLED to get four in a day!


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: EOY 2016 (FL, MI, Canada)
PostPosted: January 31st, 2017, 8:37 pm 
User avatar

Joined: February 18th, 2015, 11:11 am
Posts: 110
Location: Deerfield Beach, Florida
Carl D. May wrote:
Thanks for the visits to my old stomping grounds! I've always felt that many of the corn snakes from the Devil's Garden area resemble Okeetee corns. Some (like one you posted a photo of) have very thick and clean black borders to the red blotches resulting in a nicely contrasting pattern.


I love the Devil's Garden! So much diversity, so little time...


Top
 Profile WWW 
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 9 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot] and 8 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

Search for:
Jump to: