Not-so-Humans of Jackson County

Last weekend I went back to the Black River State Forest a year after my first visit. Last year I was alone, this year I invited five friends. I was eager to play tour guide and I narrowed down the hikes to to my three favorites, which wasn’t hard. Hint: two of them I profiled last year. The other one is a short nature trail by the river that was unfortunately full of mosquitoes this time around.

I did go farther on the trails than I did last year, but since I already wrote about them I’m not going too add more detail on those areas. I consider those posts good enough introductions. Instead, I am writing about the amazing diversity of life in Jackson County.

A trail near the Dike 17 Wildlife Area and one of my favorite spots in the state

It starts with the animals I only had residual evidence of. Two years straight of timber wolf (Canis lupus) tracks near Dike 17! At one particularly sandy spot, I saw wolf, white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), and sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) tracks. Hmmm. I wonder if there’s a good story behind that. Maybe the wolves tracked the deer, successfully taking one down. The tracks were pointing in the same direction. Wolves also hunt cranes, but my money’s on the deer being the prey. Apparently wolves mainly go after young cranes and these tracks were pretty large. I can see an adult crane being able to fly to safety. Maybe the cranes flew off high into the sky and witnessed the kill from afar.

A big concentration of deer tracks

Then there were the sounds. Eastern whip-poor-wills (Antrostomus vociferus) and common nighthawks (Chordeiles minor). The magical fluting of the veery (Catharus fuscescens). The “drink your tea” of the eastern towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus). The loud, crisp call of the ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla). These are all sounds I heard right at our site.

Then, of course, there was everything we saw. I had a remarkable glimpse of a golden-winged warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) when I was without my binoculars or camera. It was flitting low through our campsite, in the low trees by the edge of the river, probably scouring the twigs and foliage for bugs. It stayed for a minute then flew off to the east. This brings my year warbler count up to 20. There were other birds too- the trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) and common loon (Gavia immer) on my Dike 17 hike. The pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) that flew in front of my car while I was driving down Cemetery Road. Brown thrashers (Toxostoma rufum) were everywhere, including one my friends saw tearing the wings off a dragonfly before devouring it.

The herping was decent. My friends rescued two Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) from the road and we got a good view of a spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer) doing its best to hide in fallen leaves. No snakes though, but Jackson County as a whole seems like good habitat for many species.

Blanding’s turtle
Spring peeper

When it comes to plants and invertebrates I’m only able to identify so much of what I saw. The woods are mixed conifer and deciduous. Jack pines (Pinus banksiana) are common especially in barrens. Lupine (genus Lupinus) was blooming but we were just past the peak and many of the plants were going to seed. There were a few types of fern, the one that stood out the most being the cinnamon fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum).

Cinnamon fern- tall with distinct red-brown fertile fronts

The only dragonfly species I was able to identify is the chalk-fronted corporal (Ladona julia), a striking black and white dragonfly that was basically everywhere on one of my hikes. Despite its abundance, I didn’t get a picture I like. I got quite a few butterfly pictures and I’ve put them all below.

Canadian tiger swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)
Red-spotted purple (Limenitis arthemis astyanax)- we also saw the white admiral subspecies (Limenitis arthemis arthemis)
Monarch (Danaus plexippus)
Pearl crescent (Phyciodes tharos)

This is definitely not an exhaustive inventory of every species at the Black River. It is simply my post made in praise of the abundance of life I witnessed and the joy I felt over the weekend. This was my first camping trip of the year and even though 2018 is wet and buggy I hope for at least one more outing before the calendar changes over.

Late May and into June

As mid May became late May, the bird migration slowed down. There were no longer warblers of every species rummaging for grubs in the forest canopies.  A few flycatchers were passing through and that’s about it. The days and even the nights grew hot as we entered a week-long heat wave. The weather was unpleasant but I still wanted to get outside. What’s a guy to do?

Well, I went to Parfrey’s Glen of course. I head there at least once every year, and in a variety of weather, but the only post I’ve done in the past was in December of 2016. Back then the landscape was barren, the only green coming from the pines atop the cliffs. What a change from December to May! Everything was leafy and the canopy was dense and the forest floor shaded. The water I avoided in the winter felt refreshing as I walked through it in my water shoes. The creek was the best “trail” for parts of the hike and that was fine by me.

Parfrey’s Glen
The lion’s head

While I didn’t see much in terms of warblers and shorebirds in the past few weeks, I have had better luck with herping than I have the rest of the year. I’ve been seeing quite a few turtles besides for the standard painted turtles (Chrysemys picta), including a few large female common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina) and eastern spiny softshells (Apalone spinifera spinifera). My herping highlight so far has been to finally see my first eastern milk snake (Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum). The sun was growing low on a mild day and I was walking near the edge of a woods looking for firewood. I was not the first to see it. One of my fire buddies pointed it out first and I didn’t know what species to expect when I looked over. It was not a long snake, maybe about as long as a large garter, but thicker. It was brown overall with dark reddish blotches in a crisp, uniform pattern.

Fun fact about non-venomous snakes: many of them mimic rattlesnakes in order to convince would-be predators to leave them alone. How do they do this? When it realized we saw it, it headed into dense cover and began vibrating its tail. The sound against the dead leaves isn’t a dead-ringer for a rattlesnake, but it’s close enough. I’m too smart to be fooled. Nice try, snake.

Surprisingly that was my first snake of the year. Hmm. Better late then never.

Eastern spiny softshell turtle doing its best impression of an aquatic pancake
Common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)- a warbler that breeds in marshes and low prairies of the state

The calendar still says its spring, but I know better. The seasons are a continuum rather than an abrupt change. Bird migration is dying down. Mosquitoes are everywhere (I know, right?). The trees are fully leafed out. This might not be summer yet, but it sure is the lead-in to it.

Texas Day 2

Greetings from Padre Island! I spent my first whole day in Texas getting some coastal birding in. The barrier islands on the coast are expansive, and I only saw parts of Padre and Mustang Islands. Locations I would recommend are the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center and Nueces County Park on Mustang Island and Packery Channel County Park and Padre Bali Park on Padre Island. Mustang Island State Park was closed, probably due to the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and I did not go to the Padre Island National Seashore because the sources I read were very ambiguous about whether it was closed or not due to the government shutdown. There is also only so much time in the day. I went where I had time to go.

It was a great day for birds. I had good sightings even when I wasn’t birding. When I walked out my door to get breakfast, I was greeted with the shocking pink of a roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) flying in the distance. On a beach run, I saw gulls, terns, and shorebirds. Of course, for much of the day I had my camera and binoculars on me.

Willet (Tringa semipalmata)
Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
Lifer herp: American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)
Great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus)
Sanderling (Calidris alba)
Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri) in non-breeding plumage- I’d never seen one in winter before and I had to consult my field guide to identify it. There were many of them on the Padre Bali Park beach.
Laughing gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) transitioning into breeding plumage

Life list updates:

#270: Brown pelican
#271: Black skimmer (Rynchops niger)
#272: Royal tern (Thalasseus maximus)
#273: Sanderling
#274: Snowy egret (Egretta thula)
#275: American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) (first time I’ve seen one as opposed to merely  hearing them)
#276: White ibis (Eudocimus albus)

May 31st


I spent the last day of May outside from 9-5. Sure beats spending it indoors. Several hours in southwest Wisconsin wading through ditches, walking through woods and prairies, and sneaking up on turtles along the Wisconsin River really paid off. My reward was sun and fun.

I got a few first-of-years too.

FOY birds:
Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri)
Northern rough-winged swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)
Bank swallow (Riparia riparia)
Lark sparrow (Chondestes grammacus)

FOY herps:
Ouachita map turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis)
Eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera)
Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina)

FOY butterflies:
Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
Giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes)
American copper (Lycaena phlaeas)
Little wood satyr (Megisto cymela)
Mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

Forster’s terns on distant debris

The turtles were all easy to spot. The snapper was the only one that I never saw sunning. All the other turtles were out on the sand by the river. The stretch of shoreline I was at was remarkable; there were shelled creatures everywhere. The hard part was getting close enough to get pictures and to identify them under the piercing rays of the sun. They spook easily but I eventually found a good method. I would sneak up on them from above and behind, taking advantage of the steep bank behind them. It worked well until one would inevitably look my way and run wildly into the water with the others following behind.

Ouachita map turtles


Eastern spiny softshell turtle

The shore was also where I saw the bank swallows and most of the northern rough-winged swallows. Nesting in holes on the bank, they flew over the river in search of food and perched on bare twigs overlooking their watery domain.

The butterflies were all a little more inland, except for the eastern tiger swallowtail which was by a swift and narrow back channel.

Eastern tiger swallowtail

The American coppers and little wood satyrs were lifers for me, but only because I only took up butterfly viewing as a hobby this year. They’re quite common and it was nice to finally “meet” them. I was stunned by the simple beauty of the satyrs (those spots!). The coppers proved difficult to photograph as they were energetic and would fly to another perch just as I got the camera set on them. Getting a snapshot of their open wings was downright impossible but take my word that they look quite amazing spread.

I did not get pictures of the mourning cloak or the giant swallowtail. The former is a favorite from my childhood and the latter is uncommon in Wisconsin so they were real treats to see.

American copper
Little wood satyr

If the quality of a day is measured in sights seen and layers of mud on clothing then it was a great day on both accounts. What a wonderful time spent in my favorite river valley with its inhabitants.

Lark sparrow

May is Nature’s Month

Maybe I only think so because it’s happening now, but May might just be the best month. What other month has such an explosion of life? Insects and herps come out of hibernation in droves and the spring bird migration gives us a large amount of birds that we will not see again until fall. The amount of color dazzles the senses too, after seeing mostly brown for several months.

Today’s post is my collection of May 2017 nature pictures from the Madison area. This is not an exhaustive list of everything a saw, but a sampler of late spring flora and fauna.

Green frog (Lithobates clamitans) being good at hiding
Great blue heron (Ardea herodias)
Baltimore orioles (Icterus galbula) provide one of the brightest oranges of Wisconsin’s birds
Gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis), a relative of mockingbirds and thrashers
Black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes)
American cancer-root (Conopholis americana) is a non-photosynthetic plant. Because it can’t get energy from the sun, it is a parasite of tree roots.
Unidentified dragonfly (order Odonata)
Louisiana waterthrush (Parkesia motacilla)- a drab warbler but one I don’t see every year
The closely-related northern waterthrush (Parkesia noveboracensis) bobbing along Pheasant Branch Creek
Rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus), a stunning tricolored bird of eastern woodlands


The French word for Easter is Pâques. This is where the term for an early-blooming prairie plant, the pasque flower (Pulsatilla patens or Anemone patens), comes from. On Saturday they dotted hillsides with their pale purple flowers, both at a local prairie I was doing volunteer work at and atop hills overlooking the Wisconsin River where I spent my afternoon.

The birds were out just like the pasque flowers were. In the brush along the river I heard my first-of-year house wren (Troglodytes aedon). Whenever I hear a bird again for the first time in the spring it takes me a few seconds to recognize it, even for common birds. Once I realized what it was I went looking and found it slinking through the barren branches near a slow-moving tributary. On the crest of a tall prairie bluff, I saw my FOY field sparrow (Spizella pusilla). Down below I saw a large white patch on an island. When I looked through my binoculars I did not expect to see a mass of birds, but there they were. I was not quite sure what they were until one stretched its wing, revealing a large black patch. They were my FOY American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos).

Field sparrow

The lowland forests contained herpetological treasures. In one spot on the river I saw 5 northern map turtles (Graptemys geographica), my first of the year.

Northern map turtles

Farther from the river, by a small pool, I startled a frog and it ducked into the water to avoid my detection. Fortunately for me, it decided to “hide” practically at my feet. I got a few pictures of this wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) before Jon stepped in to take my place and got a few pictures for himself.

Wood frog

Oh, and there were butterflies. The upland ones stayed low due to the wind, but they were flying around enough for me to take notice. This American lady (Vanessa virginiensis), gorgeous both with its wings open and closed, caught my eye.

In the lowlands there were a few spring azures (Celastrina ladon), a butterfly I had never identified before, and red admirals (Vanessa atalanta). Spring azures may look drab blue-gray when they rest, but the uppersides of their wings are a mesmerizing blue noticeable in flight.

You can see a sliver of the blue in this resting spring azure

Red admirals are a common yet stunning species. At our longest trek through the lowland forest, Jon and I saw a handful of these along a gravel road. I took the picture below when we went off trail and found one in a relatively open area.

The day before Easter was a wonderful spring day full of a variety of animals and even a literal Easter flower. I hope everyone had as nice of a weekend as I did.


I started off Saturday with a plan to go on as many nature walks in the metro area as I could between 9 and 4. Aside from briefs breaks for food and the gym, I did just that. It was a beautiful day- mostly sunny with a high near 70. The only disappointing part of the weather was the strong wind that kept all the butterflies out of site. They’re much easier to notice when they fly about. But that didn’t hold me back from birding and herping as I saw 6 first-of-year species and took a lot of pictures.

My FOY species for the day:
Northern flicker (Colaptes auratus)
Purple martin (Progne subis)
Golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa)
Hermit thrush (Catharus guttatus)
Yellow-rumped warbler (Setophaga coronata)
Common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)

I had seen my FOY wood ducks (Aix sponsa) the evening before but I hadn’t had my camera then. The dapper fellow below was the subject of the day’s first picture.

Some more birds from the same walk:

Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
Eastern phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)

It’s not just the animals that were beautiful. The landscapes were still very brown and drab, but this small pool in the woods gave me cozy feelings.

As I mentioned earlier, I saw my first hermit thrushes of the year. They are the first members of the genus Catharus, the brown woodland thrushes, to be seen in a Wisconsin spring. They can be secretive, so it took some patience to get a shot of one without any branches in the way. This is the most beautiful picture I have gotten of any members of this genus.

Of special excitement to me was my first snake. This is a whole category of animal I had yet to see this year. One of my walks was along a trail I’ve grown to associate with garter snakes. I took me a while to see one on Saturday and I was worried it would be a day without a sighting right before I finally lucked out.

It was gorgeous. I enjoy the slim, bold appearance of these snakes. I crouched down as the snake moved about on the forest floor just feet from me. I got several shots of it, including a few with its tongue out. I can’t resist going for those.

There weren’t many leaves out yet, but the skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) patches were starting to show some green. Compare this to late February when the flowers were just starting to poke out of the ground.

Aside from golden-crowned kinglets, which are nearly impossible to photograph, the hardest bird to get a decent shot of was the brown creeper (Certhia americana). It made photographing the hermit thrush look easy. I’ve never seen one hop so fast up a tree. Usually they take a little more time to pause as they glean for insects in the bark, methodically scaling the heights with short bursts of energy. It took me several tries before I got a picture where the bird wasn’t a complete blur. Considering these birds will leave southern Wisconsin for northern locales in a few months, capturing one on camera was a perfect ending to my day.

Brown creeper between hops

A Brief Moment of Sunlight

It has been very gloomy lately. When the clouds parted around noon yesterday, I was elated but also knew I had to stay inside and finish my shift at work. Today made up for that. After all, I had to soak up the sun before it goes back to being cloudy for a week straight. In between meeting a friend for lunch, going to the gym*, and getting some errands done, I had some time to check out the city’s conservation parks. I more or less did a large clockwise loop of the west side.

*My only first-of-year bird today was a belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) I saw from the gym parking lot.

As far as animal sightings went, the day started off slowly. I walked down a trail I knew would be crawling with common garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis) in a matter of weeks but the only evidence of my fellow creatures was the calling of black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). As my walk went on I started hearing new sounds: robins (Turdus migratorius) picking through mud.

Perhaps the best evidence for bird intelligence is that they don’t mind getting a little dirty.

In some of the lower, wetter areas my 2017 herping season began as I saw three painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) and heard a few western chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata). There were not enough for a chorus yet, but soon they will be singing from every wetland in the region.

As evening fell the blackbirds took over. Common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) and red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) sang from every marsh. As usual for this time of year I took lots of pictures of singing red-winged blackbirds. This year’s variation is that I found one singing on the sidewalk.

It’s not on a reed or a short tree but it’s still a red-winged blackbird.
As long as it attracts a mate it’s all good.

Grackles don’t photograph well. There are very beautiful birds but I never seem to get a picture of them that fully captures that. I’ll blame it on iridescence not being a trait that works will with photography. There were a lot of them though and I got a few pictures of one. I think the one I kept turned out well.

Grackle collecting nesting material

Now the sun has gone down. When I wake up tomorrow it will be mostly cloudy. There will likely be rain this weekend, mostly on Saturday so I had to postpone a hike I was planning to lead then. That’s spring for you. Rain is an essential part of this season. Of course, that’s not to say I won’t enjoy the next sunny day.

Early March Thoughts

The day after my last post the red-winged blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) came roaring back in. The snow was gone and they were everywhere. I didn’t have to go birding to know this- I saw plenty on my commute and heard them singing outside near work. I didn’t go birding today but I saw a killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) and a common grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) while driving. We are in another cold spell. The weather is only slightly colder than average for this time of year but the wind has been strong. With only incidental bird sightings, I don’t know what the birding situation is like. I’ve been inside most of the day. That’s okay, I felt like writing instead.

With over 200 bird species regularly seen in the state, to say I have them all down at age 28 would not be true. I am a typical birder in that I know many birds well but struggle with the more “niche” parts of birding like gulls and shorebirds. There is a reason many birders stay away from shorebirds. But despite the difficulties in identifying them, they pull me in. Who can hate little long-billed, long-legged birds that poke around in the mud?

A few years ago my parents got me The Shorebird Guide by Kevin Karlson, Michael O’Brien, and Richard Crossley for Christmas. I immediately got lost in its pages. I was by no means an expert after reading it, but it demystified the birds a bit for me. That spring I studied like crazy, both from the book and also in the field. I didn’t identify every bird I saw but I got a few shorebird lifers both in Wisconsin and at the Great Salt Lake that year.

Last year I didn’t do much shorebirding because I was trying out herping and that took a lot of my focus in the spring. This year I plan to delve more into shorebirds (I miss them) and to also maintain my general birding and herping skills (I miss snakes). In addition, just like I added herping to my hobbies, I am getting curious about other living things. I am eager to try my hand at butterfly and tree ID.

In summer 2016 I photographed two swallowtail butterflies and identified them later as a giant swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) and eastern black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes). During the process of working out the ID’s I realized how many butterflies our state has. At about the same time, I had the chance to meet people who talked about their love of the insects. The butterfly fans have just as much enthusiasm as birders do. Some butterflies, such as the red admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and the mourning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa), are familiar to me but there are so many more. I’ve been looking at pictures and reading about their habits. I am very excited to see (and identify) some butterflies this year. I will even try to get some more pictures of them.

giant swallowtail
black swallowtail

I have about the same level of knowledge with trees that I have with butterflies. My parents taught me some of the more common ones when I was a kid, but I’m far from being able to name all the ones I come across. I can identify some by just their bark, but to make things easier on myself I want to learn the rest of them when I can get clue from their leaves.

Spring is a time of rebirth in nature. The equinox is less than two weeks away and this has been the perfect time to reflect on what I have learned and what I wish to put into practice.

My Wisconsin Herping Experience, 2016

After a few exciting snake moments in 2015, I went full herper in 2016. Since the year is coming to an end I wanted to take a look back at all the reptiles and amphibians I saw this year.

The herping season in southern Wisconsin starts in March. I didn’t see my first herp until the 12th of that month when I saw a few painted turtles (Chrysemys picta) sunning on a log. Soon after I came across a brightly-colored younger one hiding out in the reeds at the edge of another pond. These turtles are the ones most often seen in the state so they were nothing new to me, but being my first herps after the winter I was pleased to see them.

My first 2016 herps
itty bitty painted turtle

The second herp I saw, and the first of the snakes, was the eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis). Starting with a sighting in early April of a rather sluggish one, I began to see them everywhere for a month or so. Also around this time I started hearing spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and western chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata), both tiny treefrogs, and started seeing eastern American toads (Anaxyrus americanus americanus), one of our omnipresent amphibians.

eastern garter snake

In May things really started to heat up- literally! And since herps are cold-blooded, this meant much more of them. One day I went down to a lowland forest by the Wisconsin river and it was herps galore. The first one I saw after getting out of the car was a Ouachita map turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis).

Ouachita map turtle

Walking a bit farther, I found the forest’s frogs. These included the very common green frog (Lithobates clamitans), as well as the wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) and northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens).

green frog
wood frog
northern leopard frog

My best turtle day of the year came later in the month when I saw three species on one outing. The two other besides painted turtles were the common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) and the eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera).

common snapping turtle lurking

The eastern spiny softshell is one of the stranger vertebrates I’ve encountered. Their shells are, predictably, not as hard as the shells of most turtles people are familiar with. In fact, they even curve with the terrain.

spiny softshell turtle, male

Females are larger and darker than males. They also have the trademark spines of the species along their collar.

spiny softshell turtle, female

May brought me some more snakes as well. The first one was, as of yet, my first and only smooth green snake (Opheodrys vernalis). I found it in an oak barrens. I didn’t notice it until I almost stepped on it, the snake being small and camouflaged. I was in awe. I had not expected to see one and it had a gorgeous, dainty appearance. At roughly the girth of a DeKay’s snake (Storeria dekayi) and not much longer it had the appearance of a little green snake fairy. Unfortunately I was not able to get a picture of this shy creature, making it the only snake species I saw but didn’t get photographic evidence of this year.

The next day I almost ran over a snake with my bike. I was riding along a gravel path when suddenly something much larger than the previous day’s snake slithered, almost jumping, out of my way. I slammed the breaks, sending gravel flying. I walked back to where the snake was and it was safely on the grass intent on getting away from me. I took a few pictures and later identified it as an eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos). Oddly enough it wasn’t behaving like one. When startled, they usually spread their hood giving them a cobra-like appearance, fake striking, and finally playing dead. I guess I didn’t freak this one out enough or it figured it could outrun me. All for the better. I’d rather see a safe snake than to get a good view of one.

eastern hognose snake

Wisconsin has a handful of treefrog species. Two of them are virtually identical and I can never tell which is which. They’re cute anyway so I let it slide. Below is a young treefrog of either the eastern gray (Hyla versicolor) or Cope’s gray (Hyla chrysoscelis) variety chilling on a compost bin.

Hyla spp.

I saw my final two snake species of the year at Door County in June. The first was the DeKay’s snake and the second was a northern water snake (Nerodia sipedon sipedon) basking by the surf.

northern water snake

Finally here’s a picture of a DeKay’s snake from this fall. I already posted it but they’re cute and I have a hard time resisting that face.

DeKay’s snake

What a fun year learning more about the natural world around me! I can’t wait to see what kind of herping adventures I’ll have next year. Stay tuned for my upcoming post about my 2016 birding fun.