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Field Collecting/Observing Sightings of herps in the wild, where-tos and how-tos, as well as photos of herps in their native environment.

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Old 02-03-2003, 11:48 PM   #1
Van Van Dyke
Thumbs up Everglades Field Report

Florida Tech has a Bio trip to the 'glades this time every year. Most people go for birds and plants, but I go for the awesome herps, even in January!

Friday, 1/31/03

I drove myself to the park so I would have the freedom to go out to other places while the rest of the group did their birding and plant stuff. On the road in around 5-6pm found:

2 DOR Thamnophis sauritus sackeni
1 DOR Nerodia clarkii compressicauda (Dark phase)

The clarkii was a new find for me and was right near the mangroves. Unfortunately somebody had just clipped its head before I went by. Later (8-10pm) on I hit the Eco Pond to do some snoopin'

2 Hyla cinerea
3 Osteopilus septentrionalis
3 Rana utricularia
TMTC Gator Eyes

Due to the cold I went back to camp just as everyone else finally arrived.


This morning most of the group went off to Rowdy Bend and Snake Bight trails, the usual places they go. If you've never been on them, its a 3 mile hike through mosquito infested mangroves and salt marsh to reach an observation platform where, in the summer, one can see thousands of flamingoes (in winter there might be one or two). Add another 1.5 miles back and you're talking bug bites in the hundreds, and no wildlife otherwise. Not my cup of tea.


After circling the eco pond to get daylight views of the gators, my herp advisor and I talked to a couple birders who reported a pair of American Crocs at the marina. Sure enough, a 14+ ft male and his 8 ft mate were splayed out on the marina bank right beside a concrete bridge. This was at the end of the bridge and there was some railing on the side, but you could walk around and be right in front of the crocs. In any case, we were within touching distance (on the bridge behind the "somewhat" protective handrail) and got some AWESOME pictures. Neither croc showed any real annoyance or threat the whole time. This made the trip for me as I never thought I'd see one of these in the wild (let alone 2!).

Around lunch we hit Royal Palm and Anhinga trail for equally up-close and personal encounters with American Alligators. One female was guarding 23 little baby gators!

Also saw:
5 Deirochelys reticularia
2 Pseudemys nelsoni
2 Trionyx ferox

That night, back to the pond!

4 Thamnophis sauritus sackeni
4 Hemidactylus turcicus
TMTC Rana utricularia
1 Osteopilus septentrionalis

And that was it. I'll definitely get some pix up here when I have the time to see how it works (compared to KS).


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