Saturday, June 27, 2020

Annual 2020 Virginia Herpetological Society count of Amphibians and Reptiles

Turtle from Ivy Creek
Today my husband and I participated in the Virginia Herpetological Society annual count. Because of the coronavirus, the normal group teams were not organized and citizens were asked to sign up to count amphibians and reptiles for one day.

Fowler's Toad from our pool
We began our day by rescuing an American Toad and Fowler's Toad from our swimming pool. I also saw a baby toad nearby. Waking early to drive a few miles to Ivy Creek Natural Area to take a short hike down to the reservoir area. We were delighted to see several types of turtles and a lovely blue Heron as we made our way through the forest.

In the very back most remote area of Ivy Creek
After getting lost and accidentally hiking the entire length of Ivy Creek Natural Area, we finally arrived home several hours later exhausted, thirsty, and hungry. We were totally unprepared for a long hike, thinking we knew the trails we had hiked many times. Only 1/2 bottle water, no food, no sunscreen. At least we were deep in the shaded woods and had brought homemade insect repellent and hats!

Anthony said this was the money shot. The Great Blue Heron
But all ended well as we heard and saw many more creatures than expected. We didn't find any snakes, which is what I anticipated. I've only seen one painted turtle at our house in 10 years so were so was thrilled to see so many and different types of turtles, some massive.

Can you find the turtle?
We will end the day listening for frog calls from our deck as we have a pond located in our backyard at the bottom of our hill on Forsythia Hill. This time of year we heard the Gray Tree Frog around our house and hope to hear pond frogs or toads tonight.

Little Hackberry Emperior Butterfly (thanks Terri K for id)
We were fortunate to take a Toad and Frog class at Ivy Creek Natural Area many years ago which helps us identify. I go to the Virginia Herpetological Society website often to try and look up something I've heard or seen. It's a great site with calls and many photos to help you identify. Today so far we've identified 10 species.

~Rebecca

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