Snake Road - March 2005

Cold and gloomy day

Cold garter

Zigzag Salamander

Juvenile ZigZag

Young Moccasin

Union Co., Illinois.  March 27th, 2005.  With Tracey Mitchell.

48F at 10AM:  Cloudy and overcast the entire day.

First herp trip of the year, with hopes that spring would somehow assert itself.  We started off the chilly morning poking around the woods near the Pine Hills campground.  The chilly temps weren't encouraging, but we could hear Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers in a nearby vernal pool, so that was something...

Down on the road we found a female garter, fresh out of the earth, stub-tailed, addlepated and opaque.  I snapped a quick picture and we left her to start her cold spring as best she could.

Amphibians weren't fazed by the coolness - Bronze Frogs and Cricket Frogs were out and about.  We saw a Longtail Salamander and a number of Zigzag Salamanders along the rills cascading down from the bluffs.  One large adult Zigzag with an interesting color combination - as I've reported elsewhere, the Zigs don't Zag down here, and look more like Redbacks.

Small numbers of Cave Salamanders in evidence in various cracks and crevices along the bluffs.  It's always good to have a look and see how these little creatures are faring.  I'm sure the cool temps and cloudy skies were much to their liking.

An ascent up a small bluff yielded a juvenile cottonmouth, out in the open near a series of crevices and a bit muddy from its fresh emergence.  If it was hoping for a bit of sun in which to bask, it had a long wait coming.  I was happy to see it - I've yet to have a zero-moccasin day down here, thanks to this little serpent.

That was it for a cool and cloudy day down in southern Illinois, with 48F for the high.  You pays your money and you takes your chances..

Species Observed:

Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Western Cottonmouth (Agkistrodon piscivorus  leucostoma)
Blanchard's Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans blanchardi)
Bronze Frog (Rana clamitans clamitans)
Southern Leopard Frog (Rana sphenocephala)
Longtail Salamander (Eurycea longicauda)
Cave Salamander (Eurycea lucifuga)
Eastern Zigzag Salamander (Plethodon dorsalis dorsalis)
Red Eft (Notopthalamus viridescens louisianensis)

Notable Birds:  Wood Ducks, Pileated Woodpecker


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