Field Notes: 20/1/2017 Another night Herping at Edith L. Moore.

I spent another night at my study site. Today was the first day I was able to lay out traps and actually get some measurements. It had rained in the morning and an afternoon of warmth had broken the cold snap we were facing. A week ago, Texas was shut down due to ice and now I’m out in a t-shirt. In the past few years, the weather has been so chaotic, so variable and so temperamental (Ha!). Honestly, it worries me. Is this what Climate change is going to do? How extreme is it going to get? What will be able to survive?

As a testament to my earlier concerns about the weather I actually found a dead anole under a log. Outwardly he looked just fine. But his eyes were already shriveled and sunken into his head. The telltale mark of blue/green on his belly told me that his organs were just starting to rot. There were no apparent injuries. He looked to be a healthy weight. And he did not appear to be dehydrated. The only conclusion that I could come to, is that he died with the last cold snap. Just the other day it got down into the 20’s. I’m not sure how the other Herps are doing, but I hope this isn’t the case for all of them.

After a night of decent herping (and some really interesting phone conversations), I sat down by the pond to rest my mind. Stopping to think has always been my solace and my path to find inner peace. I look out at the one visible frog floating in the water. I hear a rustle and look up to see two juvenile raccoons squabbling in the tree. I heard loud noises and what sounded like a bird being eaten from the innards of the woods. (FUTURE ME: I later found out there was a good chance that this was a coyote. Scat and tracks were found in the morning. Amazing that a coyote can still exist surrounded by McMansions and freeways). These sounds of the woods, speak to me greater than any song or speech. To me, they are what I was meant to hear. They are what I hope to live my life to, and the tune I hope to fall asleep to every night.

I got up very early in the morning to check my minnow traps. I did not expect much given the weather but was pleasantly surprised! 4 bullfrogs, a tadpole, and an assortment of minnows may not seem like much but is a good haul all things considered. Every individual was weighed, measured, and photographed. I have to say I am always content leaving this place. Only because I can return to find new creatures, and new experiences to always remember.


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