Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Weekend Outing

Easter weekend brought the opportunity for me to get out and spend some time in the field with a few friends. Saturday the 7th brought sunny skies and temperatures rose into the low 60s. I decided to meet the Boguslawski brothers out at a few sites in Oakland county in hopes of seeing some active snakes. We met around noon as the temps were climbing into the high 50s and it didn't take us long to find our first snake of the day right in the parking lot.

Blue Racer - Coluber constrictor foxii

A healthy adult, this snake was quite nippy and excited a few spectators who were nearby. Blue racers are locally abundant, especially on the west side of the state. However their numbers have declined in southeast Michigan due to habitat loss and fragmentation because of urban sprawl and development. We continued on and saw the usual suspects; garters, ribbons, and water snakes. But no rattlesnakes made an appearance right away. Later on the afternoon, we moved into a patch of woods adjacent to some swampland when Colin called that he had a large racer. As we were attempting to capture the racer, Colin almost stepped on this little beauty.

Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake - Sistrurus catenatus catenatus

A small but surprisingly noise little massasauga with a busted up rattle. This snake was in a bit of an odd location, a forested hillside maybe 30-40 yards from a fen. There were crayfish burrows in the area however and it would make sense that the snake was probably utilizing the area for overwintering purposes, but I've never seen on in this type of spot in the field.

We snapped a few photos of the little bugger and that parted ways. We didn't see any more massasaugas on the day, but managed to see more of the usual suspects and a few amphibian species. As the late afternoon sun began to drop, we got one more look at a nice racer from the area out in an open meadow.

It was a slow day in terms of numbers, but a good day in terms of species diversity. We ended up seeing five snake species and four frog species over the course of the afternoon. I'm planning to return on a warmer day in hopes that more massasaugas will be out, but that will have to wait.

No comments:

Post a Comment