I think we can all agree that 2016 has sucked on many levels. Our herping adventures were OK, though our two biggest out-of-state trips were underwhelming. With less than a week left in this year, I figured we should try to see a few more animals.
Tuesday the 27th, it was very mild (mid-50s) and though Andrea had work, I figured I'd go alone to a nearby spot in Suffolk County to see if any salamanders were up. I did check the snake dens as well but since there have been many nights of frost, I didn't expect to see any... and I didn't. One spot, however, had loads of Redbacks so I took a pictures of a few of them.
The brazen and the shy...
This last one, a Leadback phase, was massive... close to 4 inches long. And *ahem* girthy.
Friday, December 30th... it was cold. I battled snow while I was out running some errands. It ended quickly, though, and by the time Andrea was home from a shortened work day, it was sunny again. But still frigid. It was about 35° and with the breeze, it was downright nasty. But we were just heading over to a nearby stream to try to see some last minute salamanders for 2016.
The water was icy, but running. It looked good for Two-lined Salamanders and, since we've seen hundreds in this spot over the years, we knew it was. It wasn't long before we found a couple of adults... one small and one quite large.
Good thing I got that safety shot in the cup... only the big guy posed for a nature shot... the little pretty one slid off in a hurry.
Though I was without a dip-net, I still wanted to try to find a larvae. This stream had been bone dry for most of the summer and it makes me wonder if any had survived. They can be larval for 2 or 3 years. So, I flipped stones that were fully in the water and scooped with the cup, hoping for a larvae... nope, but I got us another adult.
Finally, another scoop yielded a good sized larvae. I have no idea where these guys went during the drought, but this guy has been around for a year or two, so he did something right.
Andrea gently poured him back into his stream. He is our last herp of 2016.
OK, last year was weird. We had a Garter on New Year's Eve. No hope for that this year. In fact, oddly enough, our last snake for 2016 is... a Copperhead on November 19th. Weird.
Our last frog of the year was a Pickerel on October 23rd.
Last toad was an American on October 16th. (Pretty late for a toad, too)
Our last non-sea turtle was a couple of Painters on the same day as the Pickerel.
So, that's our year. Personally, I hope 2017 is better. We'll do our part to try to make it a better year for all life on Earth.