Trip Details

Time: About 11:00 am start time.

Location: Jackson County.

Temp/Conditions: estimated 60 degrees. Low wind, mostly sunny.

Herpers: Jim, Laura and Austin Scharosch, Peg & Stephen Schmitz & Matt Ricklefs

The air was cool, but the sun warmed things up well. We had brought a larger group than usual. This was Peg and Stephen's first trip up here. This was also Austin's first trip looking for herps in "Timber Country". Even Laura, a seasoned veteran of the area, had not been up for a while so we had a fun time with all of us. It is always fun to bring our close friends and family up to experience such a relatively rare sight as a wild Timber Rattlesnake. We just always hope not to disappoint, and we didn't - but we'll get to that...

After providing the necessary safety tips, we began the walk to the bluff. It was really nice weather for a walk and there was a lot of other wildlife out and about. We didn't find any herps until we got to the top of the bluff however. We then began finding Five Lined Skinks (Eumeces fasciatus) on a fairly regular basis. Since it was cool, these normally speedy lizards were quite sluggish and we captured them for photos quite easily.

In a sun lit path where the rocks were sizable, Jim scored the first Timber (Crotalus horridus). It was a very nice brown phase, approximately thirty inches long. It was also quite cool and was even more passive than Timbers usually are.

After we took some nice shots from where it remained still under the rock, we moved it for some more pictures. It became a little more lively, but due to the gentle handling we try to maintain it never became too agitated. After some nice posing we let it go on it's way.

One major change we noticed was that the conservation department had cleared a number of trees from the area, making our normal landmarks seem less noticeable. In the long run though, this should provide more open areas and a better habitat overall. The area was getting a bit choked by the tree cover.

Half way toward the end of the bluff in an open area that had recently been cleared, Stephen found a very nice gray phase Timber. It was approximately two feet long, so it wasn't too big. The gray phase are always nice to find however. We took some nice shots of this one.

It was a bit more active, but not necessarily too agitated. It was in an area that was much more warmed by the sun and was a bit more defensive that the first. After we finished with it, we let it go back under its rock.

We were almost to the edge of the area when we found our third of the day.

It was only about two feet long, but had a nice brown color. Again, we took the necessary pics and let it go on it's way.

All three Timbers seem to have been settled under the rocks pretty well. It did not appear as though they had just come out that morning. Perhaps it was just their normal dispersal or perhaps the recent activity with the tree cutting. With the odd weather we have had this spring it could be a little of both. It does seem like the population is growing as we seem to find them more regularly and more evenly distributed across the area. We can only hope so. Hopefully the habitat modification will also help. This is such an interesting and diverse area, hopefully it will remain a viable habitat for many years.

Until later, good herpin'!!

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