One of the top requests in the recent poll (http://fieldventures.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/the-future-of-field-ventures/) was some more tales from the field. Typically, I post my finds at FieldHerpForum.com 3 or 4 times a year, links to which can be found at the “Field Herping Reports” tab at the top of this page. However, I’m between big 100-ish picture forum posts, I’m going to start putting short trip tales on Field Ventures. So, here goes!
This past weekend I went north to visit some amigos; Daniel Dye (of FloridaBackyardSnakes.com), Michael Dye and Jake Scott. We’ve recently been looking for Spotted Turtles (Clemmys guttata) in northern Florida, as they are one of my favorite species – Jake found one recently after some serious footwork (check it out here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=15974 ) and I was ready to see one of my favorite species at the southern edge of its range.
The first herp of the trip was actually found while I was driving around, waiting for Daniel to show up at his house. He was running a little late and his place is right fair-smack in the middle of great canebrake habitat. At about 6:30pm I spotted a splash of color moving across the road.
A Eastern Coralsnake (Micrurus fulvius), a species that is always a welcome find, and one that I have encountered embarrassingly few of in my time as a herper. What stunning snakes: though they are pound-for-pound the most venomous of Florida’s snakes, they rarely bite – especially if unmolested.
Later in the day I got to meet the newest member of the Dye household, Torrey. She’s a Blackmouth Cur and already extremely smart like most of the other members of her breed.
After meeting her, we got a move on to Osceola National Forest – mere minutes from Daniel’s house. Unfortunately, we got shut down by rain. Granted, one can usually find something interesting in the rain in southern Florida, but this was accompanied by temps in the 50s; so we headed home, and I walked around a bit to find one of my favorite anurans. That’s right: Spadefeet.
That brought us to around 1am, where I happily hit the hay. The next morning we awoke and returned to Osceola. While there we saw some beautiful pitcher plants – only the third carnivorous plant species I’ve had the pleasure of seeing.
And rounded off the trip with a few species of the testudinine persuasion. But, no Spotted Turtles this time. Many times people get saddened by missing out on their goal: I love it when my hunt is unsuccessful – just one more excuse to return and hang out with some good friends.