Thursday, December 24, 2009


Some weekends during the fall can be quite slow around CMU's campus, especially when there isn't a home football game. But with the weather being pleasant through late October, these type of weekends allowed me to get out and herp the areas surrounding campus. With a little work on my own and some help from local herper Bryson Church, I was able to come up with a few target areas for some species that are particularly concentrated around campus. One one particular weekend, I headed a local area where a bunch of boards and debris had been discarded, and began flipping around and made a few nice finds.

Northern Red-bellied Snake - Storeria occipitomaculata

Five-lined Skink - Plestiodon fasciatus

American Toad - Bufo americanus

Later on, I moved to a strectch of river that has some nice mature woodlands along the banks. The area is ideal habitat for state threatened Wood Turtle. Along the way, we made a stop at drying vernal pond that serves as a breeding site for some salamanders, and flipped this nice looking sal.

Spotted Salamander - Ambystoma maculatum

I then decided to walk along the streamside to see if anything was out basking on logs or wandering about the woodlands. The temperature was in the mid 70s and perfect conditions for things to be out along the river.

As I was walking along this particular bank, I noticed a sound ahead of me which sounded like something moving around in the bushes, as I came around the bend in the river I looked ahead of me to see this.

A very attractive male Wood Turtle. My first one from the river system surrounding campus, I was quite excited to find this old fella. He was content to sit in his spot and allow me to spend a few monutes taking some photos of him.

Wood Turtle - Glyptemys insculpta

Eventually the old fella had decided he didn't want to be photographed anymore. He wandered on his way back towards the river, and I watched him as he went. I noticed the beautiful bright yellow tint to this individual's carapace, I have not seen another Wood Turtle with this bright of coloration. It was nice to be able to encounter this species as it is one of my favorites, and I look forward to seeing them in the wild next season.

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