Monday, March 17, 2014

2013 Fall Field Survey at Etna Nature Preserve

For the Fall 2013 semester we had our biannual herp survey on September 15th. For the trip, our dependable partners from the Finger Lakes Land Trust, Betsy and Tom had shown us around a newly acquired parcel of land located just north of the Etna preserve. After searching the parcel for a couple of hours we had decided to see what could be found at Etna as well (so, 2 places in one trip).

On our end, the conditions were great for herping: the temperature was cool, no precipitation, and we had a very large group of hands and eyes (around 30 participants!). However, we had only ended up finding 4 species of herps between the two sites. We like to speculate that the previous rain storms, combined with the overcast skies and cold temperature had prevented herp activity. Despite encountering a relatively low amount of diversity we had a great time. There was also some extreme perseverance, where several members had decided to comb through a wetland to continue the search (and, not to mention the two members [admittedly, myself and our president Brian] who decided to take a quick swim in the murky, organic-smelling water).

Group picture (not everyone was here for the photo, since it was at the end of our survey), at the main Etna Preserve.

Part of the group exploring the new parcel (Etna-North)

Dusky salamander (Desmognathus), a common and dependable survey animal.

We had two spotted salamanders (Ambystoma maculatum), which are great finds because they spend most of the time,
outside of the breeding season, underground.

The other spotted salamander, individuals can be identified from their unique spotting patterns.

A curious snail

A decent-sized spider hanging on the underside of a fern.

Another (cuter) arachnid

Jelly fungus
A great way to end the day: the president (left) and I (right), after emerging from the swampy water..
Photo Courtesy of Sophie Liu
The final species count:
Northern two-lined salamanders, Eurycea bislineata: 19
Dusky salamander, Desmognathus spp.: 3
American toad, Anaxyrus americanus: 6
Etna Main Preserve-
Northern two-lined salamanders, Eurycea bislineata: 6
Spotted salamander, Ambystoma maculatum: 2
American toad, Anaxyrus americanus: 1
(Plus unidentified tadpoles)
Post by Joey Chase
P.S. This blog was long, past due, so I apologize

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