Trip Details

Location: Jackson county, Iowa

Weather: 80 degrees, sunny through dusk. Seasonably warm and humid.

Time: 5:45 p.m.

Herpers: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: The Birdinator

Checking the summer Timber Rattlesnake rookeries is quite fun. Itís also quite easy as you don't want to disturb them, so its a sneak and peek herp technique.

In the evening light where bugs are flying around as the weather is cooling, birds are also plentiful. Whether they are chasing one another or feeding, they fly around and across the road quite carelessly. Long story a little shorter, we nailed a blackbird. It was in chase with another. Bummer, but there was nothing that could be done. A few other close calls but nothing more on the way up.

We got to the rook and on the top back side, we were rewarded with our first Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus). She was approximately 30 inches long. She was settled in and after a couple of quick pics we looked around a little more

In looking closely, we also noticed another Timber back behind; hidden a bit more. She was one of the bigger ones at about 40 inches. Same deal, a couple of quick pics that were not great, but good for documenting.

There were also lots of American Toads (Anaxyrus americanus) hopping about and I got a few pics of a reddish one that was cool.

That was it and we headed back home.

On the way back, more birds. Not quite as bad as an Alfred Hitchcock movie, but they were rolling, scrambling and diving around. Then, WHAM! No, not George and Andrew, but a Barn Swallow that dive bombed right into the windshield. Man, that was two in one trip and it had been forever since Iíve hit anything. A few other close calls but the death toll held to only two. Fortunately.

Considering this is the same route we always take up there, one thing is for sure;


<Queue happy music>

Oh yeah - we also saw a Mink slinking around and hunting on the side of the road. It appeared to be chomping grasshoppers. We drove by slowly enough to get a nice look before it scampered off. Awesome!

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