It has been the warmest winter on record here in the Greater Cleveland Area. Here's some of the stuff I found this year prior to March 21st.
Painted Turtles were the first herps of 2012 for me. I started seeing them out basking in February.
A nice group of them from a Metropark.
A "flying" Painted.
Amphibians started migrating around the middle of March, if not, a bit sooner. Jefferson Salamander:
Redbacks are one of two types of salamanders that I can find in my backyard.
A friend wanted me to take her kids herping, so I did.
Here's the habitat we explored:
The children were stoked when we hit the "salamander jackpot" - four Spotteds and one Smallmouth under one log.
Ryland was happy.
Avery now wants to be a herpetologist.
Darker, floating Wood Frog.
On March 14th I saw my first "lifer" of the year - Blanding's Turtle.
Big Ol' Snapper.
Medium-sized Snapping Turtle, sporting some orange.
A little bit after the Peepers and Wood Frogs, Western Chorus Frogs and American Toads started calling.
Western Chorus Frog.
Big toad carrying a sign. Somebody told me that it wasn't real, but I want to believe.
On March 17th I went looking for my second "lifer" of the year. Along the way I saw this Northern Brown Snake.
And some Green Frogs.
And I found my "lifer" too - Spotted Turtle.
Northern Water Snakes were the first snakes I saw this year, but they proved to be tricky to get shot of.
Leopard Frog on a log.
Pickerel Frog on a log.
On March 20th it seemed there there were Eastern Garter Snakes everywhere. A few males courting females were seen. Here's a little male with a large female that appeared to have recently eaten a frog.
And here's one from another location.
Red-spotted Newt in "suspended animation."
Newt out of the water.
It's been an interesting winter!