With the warmer than usual weather, flowers are blooming early, butterflies are fluttering, and reptiles and amphibs are making premature appearances.
I saw the first of the season northern water snake on February 25 (early by a few weeks) and several brown snakes crossing the path at different locations.
With the increased herpetological activity, our resident red-shouldered hawks have been on the hunt. Red shoulders eat frogs and snakes.
February 25 brought with it many basking yellow-bellied sliders. More interesting and remarkable was the eastern, or common, musk turtle that I saw from the Wetlands Overlook. And, it was reported to me that someone had spotted a common snapping turtle. Both musk and snapping turtles are typically seen for the first time each year towards the end of March, not February.
All of the above mentioned herps will be ducking back into the rocks, mud, or leaf litter as the temps are going to drop down to “normal” for the next several days. It was nice to see them, if only briefly.