2017 VHS Survey Summaries


Big Woods 1 | Big Woods 2 | Mole Hill


VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 1
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday April 23rd - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

10 committed herpers, Todd Georgel, Jacob Hinton, Julie Hinton, Brian Kim, Karl Kratzer, Catey Lavagnino, Radie May, Dave Perry, Ned Rose, and Patrick Wamsley surveyed different habitats within Big Woods State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (BW). The purpose of the survey was to provide VDGIF and BW with an inventory of amphibian and reptile species located there with special emphasis on species with conservation status of Tier I-IV.

During the survey the skies were overcast with some occasional rain and drizzle. Temperatures were unseasonably cool, a constant 12.5 ᵒC (54 to 55ᵒF).

Despite the very cool weather conditions, 8 amphibian species (5 anurans, 3 salamanders) and 2 reptile species (1 snake, 1 turtle) were documented. However, only one conservation status species was encountered (Tier III-Woodland Box Turtle). One new Sussex County record was identified, White Spotted Slimy Salamander.

Some diverse habitats were explored and should yield many additional species observations on a warmer day. Big Woods 2 is scheduled for May 7 @ 8:30 AM.

Thanks to all who participated, with a special thanks to Dennis Gaston and Matt Kline for agreeing to allow VHS to survey BW.



VHS Conservation Committee Surveys
 Big Woods Wildlife Management Area/State Forest - Part 2
Sussex County, Virginia
Sunday May 7th - 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM

14 volunteer herpers, Liz Allan, Travis Anthony, Luca Catanzaro, Dane Conley, Todd Georgel, David Hart, Jacob Hinton, Brian Kim, Mallory Kim, Karl Kratzer, Dave Perry, Ned Rose, David Van Gelder and Susan Watson surveyed different habitats within Big Woods State Forest and Wildlife Management Area (BW). The purpose of the survey was to provide VDGIF and BW with an inventory of amphibian and reptile species located there with special emphasis on species with conservation status of Tier I-IV.

During the survey the morning sky was clear and sunny with some clouds appearing and a brief drizzle in the afternoon. Temperatures were cool, ranging from 11 to 18ᵒ C (52 to 65ᵒF).

Despite the cool weather conditions, 14 amphibian species (7 anurans and 7 salamanders) and 15 reptile species (5 snakes, 2 lizards and 8 turtles) were documented. Noteworthy species included an Atlantic Coast Leopard Frog and five species with tiered conservation status (Tier-lll Carpenter Frog and Woodland Box Turtle and Tier lV Eastern Hog-nosed Snake, Eastern Mud Salamander and Yellow-bellied Slider). The Eastern Mud Salamander is also a Sussex County record.

The combination of the April 23 and May 7 surveys resulted in the documentation of 33 species, 18 amphibians and 15 reptiles.

Thanks to all who participated, with a special thanks to Dennis Gaston and Matt Kline for agreeing to allow VHS to survey BW.



VHS - Mole Hill Survey
Sunday May 14 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM
Mole Hill – Rockingham Co., VA
Sunday May 14 - 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

The VHS conducted a survey at Mole Hill in Rockingham County, VA on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, 2017. There were 13 participants (one of which was a herp-enthusiast mom) in attendance and 139 individuals of 3 species of herpetofauna were documented: 1 Northern Ring-necked Snake, 2 Eastern Gartersnakes, and 136 Red-backed Salamanders.

Mole Hilll is an interesting place to hold a herpetological survey because it’s on top of a volcano! This site has been used as a study site for geologists at James Madison University, but has never been surveyed for herpetofauna before. Mole Hill is comprised of volcanic rock called basalt which is unusual for the area around nearby Harrisonburg which is comprised of limestone. Basalt can also be found in the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains not too far away in Virginia. Mole Hill is owned by Mole Hill Bikes and VHS would like to extend a big thanks to them for allowing us to partake in our herp survey on their property.

Rockingham County has been surveyed by Harry G. M. Jopson of VHS who surveyed the county extensively between 1936-1984.


FROGS

Virginia is home to 28 species of frogs and toads.

SALAMANDERS

We have a large diversity of salamanders consisting of 56 different species and subspecies.

LIZARDS

Virginia is home to 9 native lizard species and two introduced species, the Mediterranean Gecko and the Italian Wall Lizard.

SNAKES

The Commonwealth is home to 34 species and subspecies of snake. Only 3 species are venomous.

TURTLES

Virginia has 25 species and subspecies of turtle. Five of these species are sea turtle.

BOX TURTLE REPORTING

SPADEFOOT REPORTING

Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image
Raised Image