Weekly Wildlife Report, March 24th
By Liam Wolff, Phinizy Research Intern
This week has been a great week for herps! Snakes, turtles, lizards, skinks, alligators, and frogs abound (no pun intended) in the park. As usual, the most common snake is the Cottonmouth, but Brown Watersnakes are present as well. Ribbon Snakes and Rough Green Snakes are likely out also. Turtles can be seen basking just about anywhere on logs or vegetation. Species of turtle seen this week include: Common Snapping Turtle, Mud Turtle, and Yellow-bellied Slider. Carolina Anoles are everywhere, showing off their flashy red dewlaps ostentatiously. Species of skinks seen this week include Ground Skink, Broad-headed Skink, and Five-lined Skink. The alligators are, as always, in the Clarification Pond. This week at least 4 have been seen in the pond simultaneously, ranging in size from ~4ft to >10ft. Frogs can be seen and heard around Butler Creek and in the constructed wetlands, including species such as Green Treefrog, Bullfrog, and Cricket Frog.
Bird activity has not changed much since last week. Buffleheads, Lesser Scaup, and Blue-winged Teal remain in the Equalization Pond and Yellow-throated Warblers and Northern Parula sing from the trees there and on Cattail Trail. White Ibis have been flocking at the oxbow with Great Blue Heron and Great Egret. Bitterns were seen on Cattail Trail. Concerning raptors, Kestrels, Barred Owl, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Cooper’s Hawk, and Northern Harrier have been noted. Other birds of note include: Sora, Pileated Woodpecker, Marsh Wren, and Brown-headed Nuthatch.
Butterflies seen this week: American Snout, Eastern Tiger, Black, and Zebra Swallowtail, Broad-winged and Fiery Skipper, American Lady, Variegated Fritillary, Cabbage White, Cloudless Sulphur, and Common Buckeye. Damselfies seen this week: Rambur’s Forktail and Fragile Forktail. Dragonflies were seen as well, but not identified to species.