Trip Details

Location: Buchanan & Linn Counties, Iowa

Weather: Sunny. High of 82.

Time: 10:30 a.m.

Herpers: Jeff LeClere, Jim Scharosch, Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jeff LeClere

Thought of the Day: Observing breeding activity?

Jeff came down for a visit, and even though we weren't going to go herping, we went herping. We went to a location we have been wanting to scout for a possible study site and wandered the area to assess the habitat. We also hoped to find some herps while we were there. The herps were few and far between, but Jeff took some pics of what we did find.

First was a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayi), that Jeff found on the crawl.

On the way out, Matt found this American Toad (Bufo americanus) on the hop.

Jeff informed us later that these two common finds were both county records for Buchanan County. That speaks to the amount of work that needs to be done documenting reptiles and amphibians within the state.

As we neared the access road, we noticed a car parked at the far end of the road. We thought that was a little strange as we had not seen anyone else in the area. We continued to walk toward the car, and as we got within about a hundred yards, we saw someone who must have been laying on the road behind the car stand up and get in the drivers side of the car. Soon, someone else wrapped in a blanket got up and got in the passenger's side seat. We continued walking, and soon a guy got out of the drivers side and a girl got out of the passengers side, scrambled behind the car and scooped up a blanket and pillows off the ground. They piled into the car and took off. If we had been a bit quieter, I have a pretty good idea we would have observed some breeding activity.

We went to another location and flipped some rocks. Herps were still few and far between, but Jeff did find this Fox Snake (Elaphe vulpina). It was about two feet long, and was preparing to shed.


Jeff also found a two foot Eastern Garter Snake lying among the rocks.

This shot is in situ. We didn't disturb it.

That was it for the day. We didn't find much, but it's always great when we get to go out with Jeff. We have a long shared history, and it is always fun to talk about the old days and catch up on recent herp adventures.

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