Monthly Snake Cover-Board Check

On Wednesday June 29 and July 6, Jamie, fellow volunteer Ryan Gannon, and I conducted the monthly survey of the 12 snake cover-boards that are set up around the property. The snake cover-boards are piles of 30 to 40 boards, which are loosely stacked so they are about 6 inches high and 4 feet long. The boards are made of both soft and hard woods, and the variability of these piles creates lots of fun nooks and crannies for snakes to explore as they find different climate conditions to lie in.

On the 29th, we started off checking the cover-boards in Litchfield, including 2 sets along North Shore Road, and piles in fields behind Harris Rd., Windmill Hill, and Cedar Pond. While we did have the opportunity to do lots of good vegetation management, we found no snakes that morning. Perhaps, we hypothesized, snakes aren’t exactly early risers. Maybe it had something to do with the weather conditions—just above 70˚F, 50% cloud cover, and a light breeze from the northwest. Or maybe all of the snakes in Litchfield have decided that Morris is a much nicer town to live in. Whatever the reason, our afternoon survey of the remaining cover-boards along Alain White Road, and Apple and Laurel Hill, was much more successful.

We found our first snakes of the day in the lower field on Apple Hill.  We found 2 juvenile gartersnakes and 1 juvenile ring-neck snake in this pile of cover-boards. The cover-boards in the upper field on Apple Hill yielded 1 adult gartersnake. Our remaining finds that afternoon included 1 adult gartersnake and 1 juvenile northern watersnake in the Alain White Rd. field as well as 2 adult garter snakes back at Ongley Pond.

Ring-neck snake
Northern watersnake

Yesterday, we realized that we had forgotten to check the cover-board pile at the Laurel Hill field, so headed over at about 11am.  This pile turned out to be the big winner with 1 adult gartersnake, 3 adult red-bellied snakes and 1 red eft.
Red-bellied snake

Red-bellied snake's red belly

1 comment:

James Fischer said...

I really like your post! You have a great style. I especially like how you take the time to explain “how” we do the work that we do on the property. Great Stuff!