It was a very herp-y (herp-tastic?) day in the woods today. First of all, I seem to have found a nice Red-backed Salamander hangout, because I looked under another log today in the same area where I found that salamander last week, and I found this guy:
It's another Red-backed Salamander, an individual with the more usual coloring this time (the reddish-brown back that gives the species its name). This little fellow almost scurried away into the leaves when I lifted up the log, but then it decided to sit still for some pictures instead. I like how I didn't even know this species existed until a week ago, and now I've seen it multiple times -- such a cool little animal!
If I were someone who names their pictures, I would call this next one "Turtle Rock." Can you guess why?
So many Painted Turtles! I love how they're neatly arranged by size, and especially how that cute little dinky one gets to hang out in the front. :P
And look what I found in the pools: The Wood Frog eggs have started hatching! There are still a bunch of egg masses waiting to hatch, but the pools are already starting to fill up with these tiny tadpoles. I'll continue to keep an eye on them as the seasons progress -- they're all going to need to grow up into frogs before the pools dry up in the summer.... I hope these little babies can make it!
And this post wouldn't be complete without at least one wildflower. Here's a Jack in the Pulpit, just sprung up and still covered with morning dew. This is the first of these flowers I've seen this year, although there were many more plants starting to bloom nearby and more leaves coming up all over the woods. I think these flowers are both crazy and awesome.
I also saw some really cool birds today (a Bald Eagle, a Black-and-white Warbler, a Northern Parula (a super pretty warbler that I just learned last week)), and three new ones that I'd never seen before (a Veery, a Louisiana Waterthrush, and a Solitary Sandpiper). In total, I saw 28 species today, a new personal record. All the pictures I took, though, were just barely good enough to help me identify these birds, and not really worth sharing -- oh well!
Hooray for the woods!