Sunday, December 9, 2012

December Herps?

In a word, yes.

You just have to work much harder!

On December 4th (a Tuesday), with the weather in the mid-50s, I tried some after-work herping at Allendale. I got there around 4PM, which is dusk these days. I did the whole run (alone), flipping everything in sight. And everything out of sight for that matter; it got far too dark to see within a half hour and I was using the camera flash to see what was underneath logs and stones. No herps.

So I went up to my friend's stone wall to flip for Redbacks. Nuthin'.

Undeterred, Andrea and I went out late Saturday morning to walk our favorite pond in Norfolk County. It was barely 50°F, foggy and rainy. Surely we were nuts.

But at 11:40AM, Andrea was straddling a small stream and flipped a rock, waking up two resting Pickerel Frogs!
They were pretty groggy, so we replaced them right where they were and carried on, happy with our success! December herps!

We continued around the pond (in the opposite direction of our usual route) and found nothing else. It might well have turned out to be another case of immediate success followed by nothing else. But then, I flipped I gigantic rock and we saw our first Redback Salamander! I said to Andrea "Get it! Quick!" and she snapped the picture!
It turned out that she needn't have been so quick, as the salamander very slowly meandered into the nearby hole.

Two species in December! Well, now we were chuffed for sure! And as we neared the spot we'd both been waiting for (a Redback-heavy haven), we started spotting many more!

Wow!! Though some of these photos aren't as clear as we'd have liked, all of our Plethodon Pals are accounted for here!

So, we got to the place where Andrea scored a bunch of Two-Lined last month... I started flipping. I saw one golden and black back sailing through the muddy water and sifted through the mud, but missed him. BUT, I had some sort of salamander larvae... then lost it. Andrea flipped and missed another two 2-Lined guys! ARRRGH! A further sifting of the mud got me this guy... what I believe to be another 2-Lined Salamander larvae... about 5/8 of an inch long!
2-Lined Larvae

I then went across the bridge and finally scored an adult Two-lined who did not hand us our asses!

So, we were covered with mud and both had double-soakers, but we'd found three herp species in December!

We added this fine Redback to our count.

We continued around the pond, happy with ourselves, despite the temps still being low and the place looking like this:

We found no more live herps, though this dead Wood Frog was in the path. He might have been gone for a few days...
DOR Wood Frog :(
A shame.

But still... a dozen herps in December!! Hot damn!! Many thanks to Steve NewEnglandHerps for inspiring us to get out and herp despite the chill in the air!! Check out his recent finds here


  1. you are welcome! Awesome Post! I'm glad to see we're still going strong in DECEMBER in NEW ENGLAND! we will keep this thing going into January! I can feel it!
    Thanks for the shout out!!

    1. You have been keeping us inspired up here in the frigid north! Congratulations on the Spotties, too!!