Third Eye - Herping Ohio, March 2012  
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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.
Painted Turtles

A nice group of them from a Metropark.
Painted Turtles

A "flying" Painted.
Painted Turtle

Amphibians started migrating around the middle of March, if not, a bit sooner. Jefferson Salamander:
Jefferson Salamander

Spotted Salamander.
Spotted Salamander

Redbacks are one of two types of salamanders that I can find in my backyard.
Redback Salamander

A friend wanted me to take her kids herping, so I did.
Avery and Ryland

Here's the habitat we explored:
amphibian habitat

The children were stoked when we hit the "salamander jackpot" - four Spotteds and one Smallmouth under one log.
salamander jackpot

Smallmouth Salamander.
Smallmouth Salamander

Ryland was happy.

Avery now wants to be a herpetologist.

Wood Frog.
Wood Frog

Darker, floating Wood Frog.
Wood Frog

Spring Peeper.
Spring Peeper

On March 14th I saw my first "lifer" of the year - Blanding's Turtle.
Blanding's Turtle


Big Ol' Snapper.
Snapping Turtle

Medium-sized Snapping Turtle, sporting some orange.
Snapping Turtle

Black Squirrel
Black Squirrel

A little bit after the Peepers and Wood Frogs, Western Chorus Frogs and American Toads started calling.

Western Chorus Frog.
Western Chorus Frog

American Toad.
American Toad

Big toad carrying a sign. Somebody told me that it wasn't real, but I want to believe.
American Toad

On March 17th I went looking for my second "lifer" of the year. Along the way I saw this Northern Brown Snake.
Northern Brown Snake

And some Green Frogs.
Green Frog

And I found my "lifer" too - Spotted Turtle.
Spotted Turtle

Northern Water Snakes were the first snakes I saw this year, but they proved to be tricky to get shot of.
Northern Water Snake

Leopard Frog on a log.
Leopard Frog

Pickerel Frog on a log.
Pickerel Frog

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.
Eastern Garter Snake

And here's one from another location.
Eastern Garter Snake

Red-spotted Newt in "suspended animation."
Red-spotted Newt

Newt out of the water.
Red-spotted Newt

It's been an interesting winter!

Click here to see Part Two