Trip Details

Start Time: 2:30 p.m.

Weather: Mostly Sunny. 78 degrees for a high. Winds around 10 mph.

Location: Johnson & Delaware Counties, Iowa

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: Not quite yet…

It was April first and we were getting out because it was so warm. No foolin’. We checked a few spots that were on “The List” for the spring. "The List" is our list of “mandatory” spots we wanted to get to when the season started. Unfortunately, our search yielded no results. We also decided to check a few new spots en route to expand our area and our knowledge.

In Johnson County we stopped at an area and searched around a pond. Jim spotted a Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) near the pond bank and got some pictures.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

As he did that I wandered around the other side of the bank. The calls were thunderous in the pond.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

There were numerous Northern Leopard Frog tadpoles swimming around the edge of the pond and I got a few pictures of those.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It’s funny that you can have a frog calling very near you and it can take a bit to narrow down where it is at. I finally narrowed down my search to find a Western Chorus Frog (Pseudacris maculate) calling in the water.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It was an adult at about an inch in length. I managed to get a few nice calling shots and ended up being able to catch it with relative ease.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

Photo by Jim Scharosch

We got a few more pictures and let it go on its way to search for its true love. That was it for this location and we decided to check out another spot to our Northeast.

We had pondered going to our Delaware County spot on Friday, but as we had time we decided to get it in this day. The spot we headed to yielded Milk Snakes fairly commonly and we decided this would be a good location to determine how things are moving. This is a small spot and if there was anything out this would isolate them. Our search yielded only a few Brown Snakes (Storeria dekayi) that were still not quite adults.

Photos by Matt Ricklefs

They were about four and a half inches long. This was a species we had not before seen here and is probably a food source for Milk Snakes, especially the young.

Animals seem to have both a temperature alert and more importantly an internal clock. Both coincide to determine when it is right to emerge fully from hibernation. While herps can be out on various times and places, it takes the right conditions for them to fully emerge. It seems it is still a bit early in Iowa yet. It will not be long however.

We’ll keep a searchin’ so have some Happy Herpin’!

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