I have wanted to get back up to the Toledo area since last year when I met Andy Avram up there for a couple days and I realized what excellent herping that part of the state had to offer. I had spoken to Carl about taking another trip up there during the winter, and I was slowly able to wear him down. It is pretty hard to get him out of his little corner down there sometimes... Mike Graziano had also just finished up school as well, and the three of us decided to head up and spend a couple days camping. Mike and I were alone for the first day, and although we didn't find our target (Copperbelly Watersnake) we saw plenty of herps, and had a great time. On our way north, we passed by this... always makes me chuckle a bit.
One of the first herps seen was this green frog in situ.
Mike soon after turned up this ribbon snake. Although common in this part of the state, ribbons are not commonly seen by us in the south.
Habitat near where the ribbon was found. Although I don't have pictures of it, there was plenty of food for the acquatic snakes at this time of the year. The wood frogs had just matured and there were literally thousands of minature frogs hopping about everywhere you looked. I actually am suprised we didn't see more snakes taking advantage of the free meal at this site.
We checked this area out for turtles without seeing anything other than some painteds.
Back in the woods behind the pond, we found a few more ribbon snakes.
And then Mike turned up this little gem.
We slept well that night after the longer than expected drive back to Toledo. The next morning we woke up bright and early to meet up with Carl. We started out by flipping some cover near the campsite without any luck, and then decided to move on to another site where Mike and I had luck in the past. One of our targets was quickly found.
And on her way...
Another turtle was found next. A rare find for the area.
After getting skunked on our other targets at this location, the hogs and racers, we again moved locations. At least we were able to enjoy a different type of habitat than what us southern boys are used to.
Right off the bat we found a couple ribbon snakes and tons of leopard frogs. This one decided to pose for me.
The last spot of the evening was almost magical, and we counted over 20 garters basking along the boardwalk. The pretty brown snake was also found right along the boardwalk.
Finally our hog!
Not a bad end to a day... That night storms blew through, and instead of waking up around 8, we rolled out of our cars/tents somewhere around 1130 when the rain let up a bit. We flipped cover without much luck, and then started our hike. The hike started out slow and grim. Nothing seemed to be coming out yet, and when I finally did spot the scales of a foxsnake, we realize it had been brutally killed by some campers. Our next fox snake saw us and quickly hid itself away again. Maybe today just wasn't meant to be? Finally, about halfway along, things started to poke out. The first butlers...
And the first live fox snake we could get our hands on...
We found more foxes, butlers and easterns, then went our respective ways. Toledo is always a great time, especially with good company!