Day Four - A Parting of Ways

Prairie King


YBR in the shrubbery

Ringneck ventrals.  Photo by Rick Milas.

Ken's Milk Snake

oohing and aahing over the Milk Snake

Come morning we opted to work yesterday's morning spot a second time.  Perhaps we could have a chance at some more Timbers.  We worked the site in reverse, heading for the wooded area first.  The morning sun favored the southern slope and we swung along it, paying special attention to the rocky ledges protruding about mid-slope.

No buzztails were evident this morning but there were plenty of other herps for us to discover, starting off with an adult Prairie King.  Jim found a pretty juvenile Speckled King next, and I managed to scare up another adult Yellowbellied Racer, which promptly crawled into a yard-high young cedar tree. This was the first time any of us had seen a Coluber head offground to escape, but the cedar tree was thick and prickly and probably not too bad a choice. 

Along the way, of course, we found the usual complement of Prairie Ringnecks, Great Plains Skinks, Fivelined Skinks and small scorpions.  The little Prairie Ringnecks were the most numerous herps encountered on this trip, with the GPS not far behind.  Some of the Ringnecks were gorgeous, with wide collars of nearly a scarlet color in place of the orange we were used to seeing.  I imagine these small snakes play a significant role in the diet of young Milksnakes and Kingsnakes.

Photo by Rick

I found a huge Wolf Spider under a stone and I couldn't resist placing a penny next to it while taking its picture.  I didn't want anyone to think I was exaggerating about the size of some of these Kansas lycosids.

Up on top Ken turned up an absolutely stunning Red Milk Snake, just incredible.  This one capped off an amazing string of syspila and gentilis over the past few days.  We had nothing to complain about in this regard...

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