Trip Details

Location: Black Hawk County, IA

Weather: 70 degrees. Fully sunny most of the day, but overcast by the time we got out. Moderate wind.

Time: 5:00 p.m.

Herpers: Don Becker, Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs

Photos by: Matt Ricklefs except where noted

We had a nice day of weather before about a week of cold and rain set in so Don, Jim and I went to look for Bullsnakes in an area that I had not been before. The sun had been out all day but when we got to our location it was overcast and a windy, but since it was still warm and the Bulls we were looking for would likely be out, that was OK.

We hadn't been there for long when Don spotted the first, a nice adult Bullsnake (Pituophis c. sayi) nearly 5 foot.

I spotted the next and it was a nice 4 footer.

Don got the next and it was about the same size as the last one I found.

At this point Jim was just hoping to spot one. Jim and I were close and I spotted the next one I'm sure just before he would have seen it, kinda funny.

It was a sub adult about 28 inches long. This was the only one that got a little crabby. There are boards scattered throughout the area and for the first three we walked up seeing the board, but instead of being under they were laying close by. I joked that the boards must be drawing them in, but not necessarily under.

In general they're not easy to take pictures of since they are on the crawl and pretty much want to keep that way. Some jet as soon as you're close, but we did a get a few to freeze and we got some in-situ shots, so that's a good compromise.

We widened our search and split up a bit more to cover ground a little better. In the midst of the Bullsnakes, Don did find an adult female Northern Prairie Skink (Plestiodon septentrionalis).

Soon after he found a juvenile.

When we got back together, Jim had found his two bullsnakes. The were very close together. Here is the first.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Here is a shot where you can see the first and if you look hard enough you can see the second.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

Here is a terrible photo of the second one, who did not want to sit for photos.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

That put the total at six bullsnakes, two apiece. Very nice.The clouds weren't going anywhere and it was getting darker and cooler so we headed out.

It's a beautiful location and I was very happy to get there.

Observe and Conserve!


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