The longest running Amphibian Community on the Internet.

Tags Register FAQ Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Caudata.org Store


Sauntering through the Sandhills

This is a discussion on Sauntering through the Sandhills within the Field Herping Accounts forums, part of the Fieldwork / Fieldherping category; Well, it's that time of the year again: February. When I lived in Michigan, it was the most miserable month ...

Field Herping Accounts Share your field herpetology experiences with accounts/articles, photos, and advice.

Like Tree6Likes
  • 4 Post By Jefferson
  • 1 Post By Jefferson
  • 1 Post By AdvythAF

Reply

 

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 25th February 2017   #1 (permalink)
Member
 
Jefferson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 121
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Jefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and information
Default Sauntering through the Sandhills

Well, it's that time of the year again: February. When I lived in Michigan, it was the most miserable month of the year, the month where spring started to seem tantalizingly close but the anticipation of new herping, new birds, new life made every single day get longer. Now that I'm in Virginia, February has some hope. Sometimes it's warm enough to herp right here, and if it's not, it's a short four-hour drive down into some of the most biodiverse herp country in North America: the Sandhills.

So it was that this Tuesday, the 21st, I loaded up the herp mobile and chugged southeast across the mountains, bound for North Carolina's verdant sandhills to get a few lifers and see a good friend, Bethany. Upon arriving at my destination, an RV Campground, I met my friend and we met our host at the campground, a woman who owns and regularly fires AR-15s, socializes with the local Lumbee Indians, and is a religious independent. She's an American original to be sure, like Charles Lindbergh, the Oreo Pizza, and atomic warheads. After we searched a lakeside finding only cricket frogs and masses of amphibian eggs for a few hours, the owner took us out on her golf cart to give us a tour of the property. In so doing, we happened upon a seep so muddy and slow that it looked like moving chocolate cake. Luckily, the seep had some cover in it, old plywood boards that used to be golf cart bridges. Under these, we saw two salamanders: an Eastern Mud Sally and an Atlantic Coast Slimy, both lifers for Bethany, and both of which I needed better pictures of anyhow. After that, we rounded out the herping day by setting some minnow traps in the ponds and lakes of the campground, baited with shrimp and glow sticks. Side note: herpers are the only people on earth who would try to bait something inedible into a trap with some of the most expensive seafood!!

The next morning, as the dew evaporated off pine straw and turkey oak leaves, we started by checking our traps, which had turned up nothing over night and then proceeded to some public land, where we started with a small Sandhills pond so clear it looked like a stationary mountain stream, the bottom lined with assorted oak leaves. While I flipped logs around the edge, Bethany dip-netted, and before long, called out, "Got ONE!!" It was a Broken-striped Newt, the most important target species of the trip for me. Before leaving the pond, we had found three more of these red-lined beauties, the last one appreciably larger than the first three. After that, we checked some tin for snakes, but there were none to be had despite the unseasonably high temperatures, only a few Little Brown skinks. Then, we ventured north to a park reputed to have Sandhills Eurycea, Dwarf Waterdogs, and a few snakes, but found only another Slimy and some skinks beside a switch cane seep. After discussing trap designs with a gregarious naturalist, we set a few new ones on a different part of the RV camp owner's property, this area a bottomland swamp, which rounded out the day's herping.

Day three started with another check of the traps, again empty, before we ventured west toward where the Sandhills and Piedmont meet. We walked along a small lake looking for turtles and checking the Brussel sprout-odored seeps for Eurycea, with no luck on the salamander front but spotting multiple Yellow-bellied Sliders along the trail. We also spotted some Cricket frogs in the seeps and skinks along the trailside. With that, we broke for a fish hatchery supposed to have Cottonmouths, but no such luck. We did find a young slider in the hatchery's channel and I passed through a southern right of passage when I accidentally sat down on a fire ant nest to photograph the turtle...ouch! Besides a fishing spider big enough to take down a toad, this spot yielded nothing else and we went to lunch with one last shot at snakes to come, which yielded nothing once again.

The next morning, we checked out of the campground and retrieved all our traps, one of which had finally caught something: a Carpenter Frog an asparagus-green frog with handsome tawny stripes on the sides, a lifer for both of us. With this, we headed across the South Carolina border bound for our last spot, stopping at the Doghouse Diner in Hartsville on the way to get a taste of the Deep South. Our last stop yielded a few cricket frogs with bright red stripes but no salamanders, as most of the seeps were dry. With that, the trip was over herping-wise, and I drove back to Virginia with 3 lifers bagged: Carpenter Frog, Newt, and Little Brown Skink. Not a bad way to start the year! Happy herpin' y'all!

Jefferson
Attached Thumbnails
Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2508.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2504.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2445.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2401.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2394.jpg  

Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2419.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2461.jpg   Sauntering through the Sandhills-img_2416.jpg  



__________________
"I did not inherit this earth from my ancestors; I borrowed it from my children."
Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2017   #2 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
Sith the turtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 641
Gallery Images: 96
Comments: 76
Rep: Sith the turtle is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgSith the turtle is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgSith the turtle is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgSith the turtle is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.orgSith the turtle is a well respected, valued and knowledgeable member of Caudata.org
Default Re: Sauntering through the Sandhills

Nice post! The Striped newts are especially beautiful



__________________
Sal species kept: Nothing anymore sadly.
"I'll be honest, people come up with really profound signatures, and I can't come up with anything "
Sith the turtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 26th February 2017   #3 (permalink)
Member
 
Jefferson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 121
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Jefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and informationJefferson has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Sauntering through the Sandhills

Thanks for the kind words Sith! It sure was a blast down there in the Tar-Heel State. The newts are Broken-striped newts, though, a subspecies of Eastern Newt. The fully "Striped Newt" is much rarer and is only found in North Florida and South Georgia to my knowledge. Happy new herping year to you!
Jefferson



__________________
"I did not inherit this earth from my ancestors; I borrowed it from my children."
Jefferson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2017   #4 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
Cloppy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 236
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: Cloppy has started on the right path
Default Re: Sauntering through the Sandhills

Is that a ground skink? I look for those all the time in Georgia.



Cloppy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27th February 2017   #5 (permalink)
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 50
Gallery Images: 1
Comments: 0
Rep: Biev has shown reliable knowledge
Default Re: Sauntering through the Sandhills

That's one blissful-looking turtle! Kinda makes me want to be her right now...



Biev is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28th February 2017   #6 (permalink)
Field Herper
 
AdvythAF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Nationality:
Location: [ Members Only ]
Posts: 120
Gallery Images: 0
Comments: 0
Rep: AdvythAF has given consistently good advice and informationAdvythAF has given consistently good advice and informationAdvythAF has given consistently good advice and information
Default Re: Sauntering through the Sandhills

Wonderful finds! Really wish I could be in the East herping for those species haha.



__________________
0.0.4 Taricha, 1.1.0 Salamandra salamandra, 0.0.2 Ambystoma opacum, 0.2.0 Desmognathus fuscus, 1.0.0 Litoria caerulea, 0.0.3 Hymenochirus boettgeri & Field Herper
If you have Desmognathus fuscus for sale, PM me
AdvythAF is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

LinkBack
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT. The time now is 14:50.