Michael's Rediscovery of Nature

Ramblings and observations of a former biologist and a lifelong naturalist, who has recently returned to his roots in east Texas. After a many years of working from coast to coast in an industry far removed from biology, it has been a pleasant change of geography, activity, and attitude. No stressful job decked out in a three piece suit. No city living. Instead there is a rediscovery of the woods, of something scurrying through the leaves, of the clear notes of a bird call, and of reliving the joy that I had when nature was a playground and a classroom.

Turtles, Lizards and Snakes - Oh My!

After making the comment back in October that I haven't seen many reptiles, I have made an effort to spend a little more time this Spring watching to see if my initial feeling was correct.  Well, I have definitely seen more reptiles but still not in the numbers of my childhood.  Not by a long shot.

BroadheadedSkink042615A walk in the woods (across the street from my RV) has produced Anolis specimen but in small numbers.  I can usually spot 5 or 6 in a half and hour walk.  I used to be able to see dozens in that time period.  I have seen a fair number in town (Gilmer) around houses.  

My walks have also produced a few Five Lined Skinks, Plestiodon fasciatus, but I am still surprised that I am not seeing any Sceloporus in what I know is excellent habitat.

I also have been blessed with a breeding pair of Broad Headed Skinks, Plestiodon laticeps, who live in the stack of firewood next to my chair where I sit each morning and evening enjoying my view of the lake. 

Last week I caught a four foot Texas Ratsnake, Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri.  

I have seen several Broad-banded Watersnakes, Nerodia fasciata confluens.  

A few days ago, I saw a Texas Ribbonsnake, Thamnophis proximus, at the lake.  

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While walking along the shore of Lake O' the Pines, I have seen a few basking turtles but not in large numbers.  

Lately there have been numerous female Red-Eared Turtles, Trachemys scripta, apparently looking for a place to lay their eggs.  

That is my inventory so far this year.  I am seeing more reptiles than I saw last year but I am also spending more time looking.  Then, too, it is Spring.  I should be seeing a lot of animals this time of year.  

But I stay with my earlier statement from last fall, the number of reptiles is greatly reduced from when I was active in the east Texas woods many years ago.  It is not a small difference.  

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