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Wisconsin Herpotpourri, pt. 2

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Posted by: CarlKoch at Thu Jun 28 07:12:39 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by CarlKoch ]  
   

April and May were fun (http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12414) and school (I’m a band instructor) wasn’t even over yet! Better yet, I had an extended herping trip planned to start right after the last day of school ended. On Friday, June 8th, I headed out to western Wisconsin to meet up with a couple guys from CA, Darin and Devin. I had met Darin when he was in Wisconsin a couple seasons back, and this time around his good friend Devin had a business training thing going on in western Wisconsin and Darin decided to fly out as well and make a herping trip of it.

Unfortunately, the temps forecast for the next couple of days were unseasonably high, but we pushed ahead anyway. The first day was a bust in more ways than one...no snakes, a lot of energy used, and some bad reactions to pollen for both Darin and Devin. To add insult to injury, they went fishing that evening and caught nothing!

The next day was better...the guys saw 8 timbers at the first locale we checked, and timbers were one of their top two “must-sees” for the trip. I didn’t get any pics of these, as I was still recuperating from the first day, and opted to stay on the trail rather than hike down the bluff face.

On top off the bluff I found this beautiful wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum L.) in bloom.


P6100061 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

That evening we headed to another locale in search of another species high on Darin and Devin’s list, the black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus). We hiked quite a bit before coming upon this young snake just outside a snack shack!


P6100071 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6100074 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6100081 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6100084 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6100100 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

L-R: me, Darin, Devin.


P6100102 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

The next morning we headed to a central Wisconsin location to look for for blue racers (Coluber constrictor -- now referred to in Wisconsin as “North American racer” or “yellow-bellied racer”) and eastern hognose snakes (Heterodon platirhinos). The hognose was the other “must-see” snake for the guys on this trip. In short order, Darin and Devin found a homely racer, but confident they’d find a prettier one, I didn’t photograph it. Shortly after, we found this beautiful, freshly-shed gravid female timber.


P6110116 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110134 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Blooming eastern prickly pear cactus (Opuntia humifusa).


P6110153 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Wolf spider, I think.


P6110105 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Prairie fame-flower (Phemeranthus rugospermus) -- Thanks to Corey Raimond for the I.D.!


P6110243 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

The guys DID end up with a prettier racer.


P6110160 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Since Darin and Devin REALLY wanted to find a hog, we decided to wait around ‘til the temp dropped a bit and then try again. In the meantime we headed to a nearby wetland where I photographed a blooming waterlily...


P6110166 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

...a lovely blue dragonfly...


P6110173 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

...and this large common map turtle (Graptemys geographica).


P6110176 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110179 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110182 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

After returning to the prairie when the temp had dropped some, Devin flushed a bird from a nest at the base of this little oak.


P6110188 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110187 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

I waited around for awhile to try and I.D. the bird but eventually gave up.

We combed the prairie for HOURS but to no avail. Upon returning to the car, Darin went and flipped some cover we had flipped a few times already throughout the day and discovered this beautiful young bull snake (Pituophis catenifer sayi).


P6110193 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110208 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110209 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110219 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110221 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110224 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110235 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6110238 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

The next morning, Devin had to fly out around 11, so after dropping him at the airport, Darin and I hit one last spot nearby. Not too long after arriving, Darin found something in the grass and looked over at me and said “hognose”. Being that both Darin and Devin are jokesters, and since I had never seen a hog at this spot, I didn’t believe him at first, but sure enough, there was the other “must-see” species!


P6120249 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6120247 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Unfortunately, Devin will have to come another time to see one.

We also found a gravid fox snake and some western slender glass lizards (Ophisaurus attenuatus attenuatus) at this spot.


P6120255 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6120260 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6120262 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6120267 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

The eastern hognose snake nesting occurred quite early this year. The day before I left for western Wisconsin (6/7), I found no evidence of nesting activity, but on June 10th, Jason Hood told me he and a group he was with found 3 nesting females. On June 12th I found several burrows but no snakes, and the next day found two hogs at Hog Prairie, and one in a brush pile at nesting area 3.


P6130269 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6130272 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6130277 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6130282 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6130283 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6130284 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

On 6/14, Trey Kieckhefer and I found this clear track in the sand and one lovely female.


P6140286 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6140287 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6140288 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6140296 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Trey shoots the hog...I like the headgear!


P6140290 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6140291 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

On 6/16, Jeff Moorbeck and I found this burrower at nesting area 2.


P6160272 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

I also photographed this pretty juvenile eastern milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) that night.


P6160274 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6160277 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

At Hog Prairie Jeff and I found 4 hogs.


P6160281 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6160285 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6160288 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6160287 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

Unfortunately, one of the hogs had been dug out of its burrow and killed by some mammalian predator which decided not to eat it. Last year I found babies that had been dug up and killed but not consumed.


P6160291 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6160293 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

This scat was nearby.


P6160297 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

At nesting area 3, Jeff found this female Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) that had most likely just finished nesting.


P6160299 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

On 6/18, Steve and Dan Barten, Dan’s son James, and Gery Hermann were up and found 6 burrowers and a gravid smooth green. Here’s a couple fresh burrows from that night.


P6180006 by Carl Koch, on Flickr


P6180009 by Carl Koch, on Flickr

For the couple days after that it remained quite hot and I found few hogs burrowing. The activity seemed to be over on 6/21, as I found no hogs that night or the next. However, when Jason Hood and Josh Baity came up on 6/24, we found 3 hogs...must be somethin’ about those Illinoisians that attracts hogs!

Thanks again for checkin’ out my post!

Carl
-----
Carl


   

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