Trip Details

Start Time: 6:00 p.m.

Weather: Sunny. 77 degrees for a high. Mild wind.

Location: Linn Co. Iowa

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: Ahhhhhhh, we’re being eaten alive!!!

Jim and I had a spot that we had not worked yet this year. We had some time to get out on a Thursday night after work so we took it. It’s a nice spot that you can work for quite a while. There are a lot of rocks and finds are often spread out quite a bit. But we did find a few things.
Our first find was on the crawl, or more accurately on the “jet”. It was a Racer (Coluber constrictor) and this one was about 26 inches.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

This one was blue eyed and getting close to being ready to shed. Shedding was to be a common theme on this day. Bugs were also a common theme. The gnat factor was about a four and mosquito was at this point about a one.
Our second find was another Racer.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

This one had very recently shed and was very clean looking. It was a little smaller at about 15 inches.
We found a Milk Snake (Lampropeltis triangulum) next and this was the first Milk we had found on this side of our location for a number of years.

Photos by Jim Scharosch

This one was about 15 inches as well. This one was getting ready to shed. Gnat factor of six mosquito factor of five.
Next up was a find that is usual here but one not to be taken for granted. It was a Fox Snake (Elaphe v. vulpina).

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

This was a nice size one, meaning a size that is fun to find – not necessarily large. It was about 16 inches. It too had recently shed. At this time of the day the sunlight was at a very odd angle so pictures were challenging. It was also warm enough that all of what we found was fairly active so that was also fun. You take what you get and get out when you can. At this point we were working rocks THICK with poison ivy and the gnat and mosquito factor was getting bad – I’d give it an eight.
Our next find was another surprise – another Milk.

Photos by Jim Scharosch

This one was a bit smaller at about 12 inches. This one was also getting ready to shed. Finding two from this spot was very encouraging for other trips here. We had reached a good balance at this location. The bugs had reached a good fluid level from us as well. We felt like blood donors.
Our last find was a juvenile Fox Snake about 7 inches long - another nice find.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Finding juveniles along with adults is a nice mix and also shows a snake population that is still sustaining.
At this point we were seriously being eaten alive!!! Bug factor of ten. The timing was right so that we were about done anyway, but the bugs were seriously winning and may have driven us off anyway. We could not stop for any time without having a number of mosquitoes landing and sucking and there was pretty much a constant cloud of gnats.

Our last find was about 6 feet long and about 5 and a half feet high. Ok, it wasn’t a herp. It was a deer in velvet.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

We were walking with the sun behind us and the deer was obviously blinded. We could tell it could hear us but kept standing in the same place and looking our way. We had to take a picture or two. We had moved out of the really bad bug zone, and into just the bad bug zone. We did not take too long for pictures and were glad to be back in the car when we were done.

Until next time, wear appropriate bug protection and Happy Herpin’!!!

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