Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Snake outing in Pennsylvania...

A snake outing that was put off because of scheduling conflicts got off the ground on Tuesday. My friend Don picked me up around 8:30 AM for the drive to Pennsylvania. We were meeting naturalist John Serrao who were going to take a few of us out looking for snakes, with our target snake being the Timber Rattlesnake. We arrived at Sky Top Lodge in Pennsylvania around 10:30 AM and met up with a few other naturalists who were going out with us. Our walk got off to a late start because we were held up by one person who was traveling from Pittsburgh. Eventually around 11:50 AM, John decided we had waited long enough and off we went. The area we went to I believe is owned by Sky Top and we had the place all to ourselves. We car pooled to a parking area and John who had set out some cover boards in hopes of attracting snakes, had immediate success as he uncovered one of the boards finding our target snake, a young Timber Rattle Snake. Our second Timber Rattlesnake was found about half an hour later among some rocks and it was a beauty. A large adult whose tail was first seen and once it detected our presence moved and we got to see how large it was. We observed it for a few minutes before moving on. Our plan was to head downhill towards a few locations known as good spots for snakes. However, weather impeded our efforts as a storm front moved in. The rain came along with lightning and we high tailed it for lower ground. We got pretty soaked, but when we came across another area that John had set out cover boards, we did not hesitate to go to the area looking for more snakes. We did well, getting Ring-necked Snake, Garter Snake, Eastern Milk Snake, Red-bellied Snake, Green Snake and Ribbon Snake which brought our species count to 7. Not bad for a wet filled outing. Next up will be an outing for Hellbenders.

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