Autumn's First Rain

I had complained the whole month of September.  I love cruising for amphibians this time of year and it had only rained once, on a night I couldn't make it out.  This night was looking promising.  I checked two weather sites like clockwork all day long.  What a frustrating endeavor to watch conflicting forecasts changing back and forth, from good to bad... to good... to shit - am I wasting my time?

I made a game time decision to leave work and head directly down into Delaware and Maryland.  The rain looked decidedly good.  Despite that, I still questioned and cursed myself the whole way down as friends bailed at the bleak outlook of rain actually hitting the area.  I was on my own, which is no problem for me.  But I've spent many-a-night two hours from home, walking around under cloudy skies hoping the humidity was enough to move something.  If this night was to be one of those disappointments, a companion would have been great.  Oh well.

Let's cut to the cruise... The rain arrived, and I thanked the heavens!  With the first drops of rain, the herps began moving like a light turning on with the flip of a switch.  It would be a memorable night.  I'll give some quick highlights, then load up the page with a bunch of photos (if you haven't skipped to them already).

- 17 species

- 40+ Marbled Salamanders moved off the road

- Honestly, too many to count frogs but if I had to guess, I saw over 1000.

- Spadefeet, or Spadefoots... the debate rages on!

- Three, yes THREE Barking Treefrogs  on three different roads. *State endangered

- AOR (alive on road) Smooth Earthsnake, whaaaaat?

- Beautiful AOR juvenile Black Ratsnake

- Snapping Turtle at 12:45 AM

- And finally, a new area for me that netted over a dozen each of Green Treefrogs and the new species - the Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog.

Now for the myriad of photos.  Enjoy!  ...I did.

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog

Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog Inner Thigh Detail

American Bullfrog

New Jersey Chorus Frog - lacking pattern

Cope's Gray Treefrog (could be Northern - can't tell without DNA or hearing it call)

Northern Cricket Frog

Barking Treefrog

Barking Treefrog

Northern Greenfrog

Green Treefrog

Marbled Salamander

Pickerel Frog

Black Ratsnake (Eastern Ratsnake) - Juvenile pattern

Eastern Snapping Turtle

12:45 AM... Snapper taking no shit trying to get from one side of the road to the other - attempting to push my truck out of the way.

Southern Leopard Frog

Fowler's Toad

Wood Frog

Smooth Earthsnake

Eastern Spadefoot

Eastern Spadefoot

Eastern Spadefoot burrowing backwards during his photo sesh...