Distant shot of skink gaurding her eggs (above)
Close up shot of female skink gaurding her eggs above (photos by Mark Khosravi)
Well we didn’t find any King or Queen Snakes today but did manage to find a nice female skink guarding her eggs. She was kind enough to pause for a quick photo. Tony Bulmer (Naturalist at ECLP) who discovered the skink said female skinks will often leave their eggs ungaurded to seek the warmth of sunlight. When they return to their nest they use the warmth they absorbed to further incubate their eggs. Another behavioral characteristic is that female skinks will sometimes urinate on their eggs to keep prevent dessication. These photos were taken underneath the bark of a fallen tree several feet from Big Rocky Run near Cabels Mill.
Green tree frogs are what we came to Mason Neck for!! This photo of a green tree frog on some pickerel weed was taken by Michael Gregory. We didn’t see many of these guys last year and only a few this year. They are unique to this region of the Coastal Plain and we certainly don’t see them around Clifton
(Above) Ripening PawPaw fruits. Apparently very edible and was often eaten regularly by the early Colonist.
Seining for Snake Heads but no luck today. We did see a snake head from the vantage of the Marsh boardwalk earlier on that day. The man over my left shoulder (background) was standing in the inlet that leads to the marsh where we saw the snake head earlier that morning. It was our hope that we could trap a few snakeheads entering and or leaving this inlet during tidal movements.
Trumpet Vine and its fruits growing near one of the ponds by the Kyak launch.
Prothonotary Warbler Photo taken By Michael Gregory. We spotted this bird along the sandy shore along Bay Trail. Mike got off this great shot of the bird eating a catepillar. Apparently the bird was slamming the catepillar down on the branch in order to subdue it
Cedar Waxwing Bull Run (photo by Mike Gregory)
Mike and I went first to the old Stonebridge site near the 1st Battle of Bull Run. While on the boardwalk we saw a hug barred owl and further up a cedat waxwing. Other than that not much else.
Later on we visited Walney and walked the Pond trail. Didn’t see much except for one led back salamander and what possibly was a dusky. At the pond was a different story. Along the northwestern bank near the deep end of the pond I spotted a baby Red Ear Slider and opposite this location near the boardwalk and in waist high tall grass was a coverboard which produced a garter and a northern water snake.
Baby Red Ear slider caught next to bank of Walney Pond (photo by Mike Gregory)
Northern Water Snake in tall grass along Walney Pond (photo by Mike Gregory)
After my feeding program Mike and I were gearing up to go out and patrol trails. As we prepared to leave, a visitor arrived with a worm snake stuck in an insect glue trap. Just as we were able to free the animal from a slow miserable death another visitor walks in this time with a female garter snake stuck in a similar trap. As with the worm snake, Mike and I were able to free the garter snake with minimal injury. Both appear to be doing much better but are somewhat inhibitied in their movements from remaining glue goo residue on their bodies.
Finally we were able to get underway for a quick walk along the north loop trail. That’s when we stumbled upon this Barred Owl in the thick pines and cedars (photo above)
Starting to see a lot more of these wild flowers near the riparian zones of Bull Run, Popes Head Creek, and Rocky Run. The excessive snow fall from winter of 2009 2010 and the abundant early spring rains have produced nutrient rich sediments along the banks of these water ways. The result, based upon observations by locals, seems to be a bumper crop of blue bells along the riparian zones of these streams. This photo was taken at Walney EC Lawrence Park