Herping the Tracks - Southern Illinois

The gang observing a Yellowbelly spotted by Steve.


Steve Coogan, snake spotter.


The gang with a Black Rat Snake.

Nice Boxie.

Place and Time:  Railroad tracks, southern Illinois. September 26, 2003. Mid-afternoon to early evening.

Weather Conditions: 80F, partly sunny with little wind.

Others present:  Rick Milas, Ken Felsman, Steve Coogan, Jeremy Schumacher, Doug Mills, Glen & Stacey Davis, Tracey Mitchell, Christopher Mitchell.

Minimal narrative from my field notebook for this trip.

Eastern Ribbon Snake near edge of small wet area.

Southern Leopard Frogs in abundance along edges of small pools and under debris.

Northern Fence Lizards in abundance on railroad ties and under debris.  Many were neonates.  Christopher had a good time catching these.

Several Five-Lined Skinks under debris.

Ground Skinks in abundance under debris and in leaf litter.  Probably the most abundant reptile in evidence here.

Marbled Salamander under rotted tie, adult male.

Midland Water Snake sighted sunning on riprap along edge of creek.  Disappeared into crevice on approach.  This rockpile is usually inhabited by one or more Cottonmouths.

Yellowbellied Water Snake in wet muddy area near railroad bridge.  Spotted by Steve from up on the bridge - Coogan knows how to get it done!

Several Northern Slimy Salamanders under moist debris.

A Spotted Salamander under a rotted railroad tie close to a pool. Adult male.

A number of Red Efts (Central Newts) under debris.

Black Rat Snake crawling at the base of a White Oak at the wood's edge. About 2.5 feet in length, with some juvenile pattern remaining.

Blanchard's Cricket Frogs in abundance; a number of the bright green ones as well as the rusty red variety.

Eastern Box Turtle near the tracks.  This one had a very nice pattern on the carapace.

Bronze Frog under a rotted railroad tie.  It ducked down into a hole and evaded capture.

A number of Pileated Woodpeckers heard and seen, along with some Summer Tanagers.

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