Trip Details

Location: Delaware, Buchanan, Linn and Benton counties, Iowa

Weather: High of 74 degrees, mostly sunny

Time: 2:00 p.m.

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch

Account by: Jim Scharosch

Photos by: Jim Scharosch

Well, I wanted a Herpjournal post from Iowa in November and here it is! The weather cooperated, with a high in the low seventies, sun and no wind. Just as I started thinking about getting out I got a text from Don asking if we should take a shot at November snakes in Iowa and I was all for it. This is also the fiftieth post of this year, which is a record for Herpjournal. I also have an Iowa snake post for every month from February through November. Ten straight months of snake posts from Iowa is pretty nutty!

We shot up to Delaware county, to a spot that has been very good to me with milksnakes over the years. This was my first time visiting this spot in the fall. It was kinda strange seeing the tall grass that normally isn't there in the spring. The grass was matted down over the rocks. We didn't see anything, which I believe is a first for this site. It has an odd exposure though and the rocks were a bit chilly from being under the shade of the trees and the tall grass. I'm thinking for this spot to be productive in the fall it would need to be earlier in the afternoon on an especially warm sunny day.

We swung over to my tried and true spot for juvenile fox snakes in Buchanan county. As expected, it didn't take long for this spot to hit, as we got a triple, three juvenile Fox Snakes (Pantherophis vulpinis) under a rock.

I didn't feel like posing them for a picture, thus the in-hand shot.

Soon we turned up another, and I guess I thought this was probably the last day for the season so I might as well take some reasonable photos.

Well, okay, that photo sucked. Here is a little better photo of the next fox snake we found.

We also found a handful of Common Garter Snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) and I stopped to photograph one of them.

Then another juvenile fox snake.

Don found a Brown Snake (Storeria dekayii) which brought our species count up to three.

That was it for the spot, but we were hoping to see a milksnake, so since we didn't get one here we headed out to our milksnake spot in Benton county. We decided to just "cherry-pick" the best milksnake rocks. We struck out on all the best rocks on the hill. I mentioned to Don that a week ago I had found a milk under one of the rocks a bit further up the hill, and he gave me crap about how we had decided to cherry-pick and now I was expanding our search. I flipped the three rocks near where I had found that previous milk, and got a this year's baby Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum). It was pretty funny. It was my fifty-fifth milksnake of the year! That's probably not a record for me, but it's probably close.

It was a very pretty baby milksnake and an awesome way to close out the year.


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