Friday, September 11, 2009

Rule number one of herping

When you flip over a rock or log, put it back where you found it! Argghhh!

*deep breath*

Hi there! Back at school, classes are underway, life is insanely busy. But let's forget about all of that for now, and take a little trip to the woods.

There's an arboretum near my campus, about a 15 minute bike ride. Went exploring today and saw lots of great things. And for those that don't know: herping = looking for herps = reptiles and amphibians (herpetology - get it? Not "herpes").

It turns out someone earlier this summer (hard to tell how long ago) had gone into the quarry (best salamander hangout) and flipped over almost every single rock and log - WITHOUT PUTTING THEM BACK. I wanted to SCREAM. Cannot believe someone would be such an inconsiderate jerk to nature -obviously not someone who really cares about the animals they're looking for.

The first thing you learn is to not curl your hands underneath (I learned that when I was 2), the next is to put it back ever so gently to make it look as if you were never there.

But nevertheless, saw lots of fun creatures.

The blue spotted salamander, one of my favorites, of course (Ambystoma laterale). I love when they do their defensive tail wave.
A mangled looking wood frog (Rana sylvatica) - poor thing had a malformed or injured hind leg. Looks fat and healthy though.
Lots of red backed salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) of course.
I feel quite lucky this peeper held still for a split second so I could take this photo (Pseudacris crucifer).
I did see one reptile - a garter snake. Unfortunately, this is the best pic I could get, as it swam across a pond.
By the time I jumped off my bike and turned on my camera (watching it gracefully swim away), it had reached one side and escaped into the woods. That's when I saw it was certainly a garter snake, but too far off to try to catch.

And I also saw a Pelecinid wasp! They're amazing insects, and not too common. The female's abdomen is so long! It flew across the bike path and I literally dropped my bike from under me and chased it off into the undergrowth. It kept landing briefly and fluttering off, and I stumbled after it through brambles and bushes for several minutes until I lost track of it. So sadly, no photo. But it was a really neat insect to see.

As far as updating my blog, I'll play it by ear - very busy schedule this semester and thinking about putting my etsy shop on hold - at least not worrying about making too many new things. Will be taking custom orders on a gradual basis.


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Kristi Smart Romantic Fantasy Coats and Clothing. said...

You found some beautiful creatures. Nice photos.

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