A week in Herps 4/17/2013

A great week for herps. nighttime temps around 50-60 degrees with daytime highs in 70’s. The week started out with some nice finds (see previous entry) a combined total of 22 snakes 6 different species one of which a newby for me – the smooth earth snake.

P1050006 All of the species were found in Fairfax county but in different locations and habitats. The larger species of Mole kings and northern black racers were found in open fields with the exceptionof one juvenile racer found under an old car door in a wooded area. All of he snakes were found under artificial cover consisting of pieces of metal and plywood.


One exception an eastern worm snake was recovered under some pine bark on the forest floor.

P1050004The smaller snakes were found in different locations. The smoth earth and the northern browns were found under plywood.

The ring necks under flat rocks sometimes as many as four at a time.

P1050021P1050024I also found about 8 skinks none could be positively identified but my guess majority of themwere five lined and possibly a broadhead or two. The phibs were less numerous. Several two lined, a dusky and gravid female spotted salamanders as well as one cricket frog and one american toad. All found in their natural habitats with the exception ofthe toad which was occupying the same piece of plywood the skinks were found. Chorus frogs were heard but none captured.


Bald Eagle Eating a Skunk. Floodplain Town of Clifton 12/28/12

Unfortunately did not have a good camera to get a close up but here on the ground eating a skunk in the flood plain is a majestic bald eagle. Its not the first time eagles have been spotted in Clifton either scavenging on dead deer or soaring above the town. Its interesting to see though that it is further inland than I would have expected. I usually see them along the Potomac River area.

12/28/12 Bald Eagle in Clifton Flood Plain

I tried to get closer to get a better shot but as expected it flew off. At least it had a decent meal beforehand. Below is the remains of a skunk on wich it was feeding. What is not clear is whether or not the bird killed the skunk or was scavenging it.

Killed skunk (from eagle)