From Drought to Floods

There has been an old saying in Texas, that 'If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes'. Well, for the first 5 months this year it has pretty much been rain. Normally we are to 100 degree days by now, but not this year. The rain has brought needed relief from the drought the past few years, however we now have an over abundance with lakes spilling over the edges and flooding becoming and every day occurrence.

With all the rain and change in temperature, it has provided an opportunity for me to see things I normally wouldn't as snakes and other creatures are pushed from their homes. It has delayed migrations and plants are behind normal blooming schedules.

I saw some interesting things this year and many things I saw were after flash floods at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas. Here are some of my postings:

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1564092 - this is currently identified as a white river crayfish. Note his defensive stance in the picture on a gravel road that was flooded. He took this stance when I tried to pick him up and it worked as I never could grasp him after that.

Saw lots of snakes and have become better at identifying them. So good that when I watched the channel 8 story on water moccasins invading yards, I noticed the video clip was of a diamondback water snake.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1442502 - Diamondback water snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1540441 - Rough green snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1424029 - Blotched water snake
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1404080 - Copperhead
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1369796 - Western ribbon snake

While I've seen many turtles, I got my first look at a soft shelled turtle this year where it was in the mud on the side of a flooded road. I also saw the snapping turtle (est. 15-20 lbs) walking across the road from one flood plains to the other.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1540124 - snapping turtle
http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1539871 - soft shell turtle

I think the most unusual thing I saw was a Gar crossing the road and flipping from side to side. I didn't even know we add them in the creeks here. I'm guessing the floods help move species around that otherwise would be limited to reproduction in one area.

http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/1539997

So while the rains have been unprecedented, it did allow me to see different species that I might not normally have seen. I did not want to stay inside everyday and waiting for the rain to stop was pointless.

Posted by butterflies4fun butterflies4fun, May 31, 2015 15:02

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Eastern Copperhead Agkistrodon contortrix

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

April 18, 2015

Photos / Sounds

What

Diamondback Watersnake Nerodia rhombifer

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

April 29, 2015 07:24 PM CDT

Description

Sitting on a log in the wetlands. Quite large and my guess is 5-6 feet if stretched out.

Just cropped another picture and now I think it is two snakes intertwined making them probably 3 feet I'm guessing.

Do snakes do that? Is that a mating thing? Family?

Photos / Sounds

What

White River Crayfish Procambarus acutus

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 04:18 PM CDT

Description

Several of these enjoying the creeks overflowing roads from the rain.

Photos / Sounds

What

Spiny Softshell Turtle Apalone spinifera

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 04:23 PM CDT

Description

Any idea what type this is? Was found in the field from overflow flooding. As we tried to take a picture it took off running. Who said turtle were slow?

Photos / Sounds

What

Gars Family Lepisosteidae

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 04:17 PM CDT

Description

Gar was seen on a creek overflowing across a road as it flopped to get to the other side. I did not get a good look at it, but not sure what else it would be unless another type of gar.

Photos / Sounds

What

Common Snapping Turtle Chelydra serpentina

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 04:12 PM CDT

Description

snapping turtle

Photos / Sounds

What

Plain-bellied Watersnake Nerodia erythrogaster

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 04:05 PM CDT

Description

Diamondback water snake

Photos / Sounds

What

Rough Greensnake Opheodrys aestivus

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 03:42 PM CDT

Description

I stepped right over this and didn't see it. When my family did, we noticed it just stayed frozen.

Photos / Sounds

What

White River Crayfish Procambarus acutus

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 29, 2015 05:55 PM CDT

Description

Day following at least a 4 inch rain overnight with already soggy land. These were found on the gravel road that overflowed with water. I'm assuming these were flushed from their holes in the ground where they live. I tried to pick up for picture, but he went into protection mode which worked as I did not not him up but it did make a good pose for the picture.

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Ribbon Snake Thamnophis proximus

Observer

butterflies4fun

Date

May 24, 2015 03:53 PM CDT

Comments

2015 was only partly wet for us: wet spring, dry hot summer, wet fall. Record flood on the Blanco River, but not the Pedernales. 2016 was different - wet all year that carried over to this year. Unfortunately after Harvey, rains have ebbed and we're facing drought again.

Posted by billarbon almost 4 years ago (Flag)

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