Buckeye Herps Blog

A photographic journal of the reptiles and amphibians of Ohio, Michigan and other places interesting wildlife call home.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Michigan Results 2012!

Spring has arrived and it is past due that I finish up my Michigan 2012 record keeping tasks. All of my records have been entered and tallied for a few months, but I had to update and fix some bugs in the database (Thanks Carl!). I am three to fourth months ahead my curve compared to last years results. With spring approaching, and new entries starting to come in, here is how 2011 turned out for me.

Let us see how I did with my goals for 2012:

1. Wood turtles from new river systems.

I made a much stronger effort to get to some new river systems in 2012. Having my own kayak definitely helped, but I still got off to a very slow start and didn't paddle until August. I spent many hours on the water from then on though and found woods in three new rivers. Check! I also struck out numerous times this year, for more than years past. I explored the edge of their range and distributional gaps in records more than previously and view this as a part of doing business.

2. Rifle River wood turtle.

Never made it out to the Rifle this year. I planned on it a few times, but skipped it for weather. It will be on the list again this year. If anyone does hear or have recent confirmed Rifle River Michigan wood turtle sightings, I would love to hear about them.

3. Fox snakes from new counties, specifically Macomb.

Epic fail. I worked hard at finding a Macomb Co fox snake. I hiked through patches of the remaining habitat on wonderful days in April, May, June, July and August and struck out. I have found another area close by I want to check out this year and hopefully this luck will turn.

4. SE Michigan Spotted turtle

Epic success! I found Clemmys in 2 new SE Michigan counties last year. It was a banner year for them. I never saw great numbers, but was able to find one or two at a bunch of new locations for myself. This will continue to be a huge area of focus for 2013.

5. MI spotted salamander.

Embarrassingly, I failed yet again. Hoping to turn this around in 2013...

6. MI newt.

Still no newts.

7. Lay more tin. More tin.

While not nearly enough, I did put some more boards out in a possible massassauga field close to home.

8. MI Box turtle.

A lone DOR boxie along a SW section of highway sadly cleared this goal for me. Now to turn up a live one.

9. Herp the UP (a western fox, wood turtle, or mink frog would make this even more sweet.)

I got as far north as Mackinac Island, which I guess technically falls into Mackinac County, part of the UP. For my purposes, I am not counting this though.

10. Record a respectable 150+ records for 2012.

and the final goal... I logged 193 records in 2012, coming oh so close to breaking the 200 record mark! This was huge for me. I discuss total numbers a few years back in this post about the 2010 field season, and set my 2011 goal at 200. I herped real hard that year and only logged 145, so I had lowered my standards to a reachable 150. Looks like that 200 mark is reachable after all.

Which brings us to 2013... I am going to try and limit a few goals in an effort to not spread myself thin. I am also hoping to spend some time out of state during prime time - May and June. Taking this into account my goals are (in no particular order):

1. Rifle River Woody

2. Macomb County foxy

3. Michigan spotted salamander

4. New wood turtle rivers

5. Log 175 herps for 2012

So many others missing the list, but I am trying to focus here. Honorable mentions include green snakes, hoggies, box turtles, the UP, Belle Isle  etc. So much to do, so little time. 

A quick look at my Michigan 2012 map.

And my total Michigan map - 644 records so far. Still lots of ground to cover out there. 

What are your goals for 2013?

Happy Herping!



  1. Good work. I like your thought process for goal setting. -Carl B.

  2. Thanks. I need to touch base with you about May or June possibilities btw.

  3. One of my favorite aspects about doing field work is traveling to new places, and your map looks like you were visited quite a few counties in the lower peninsula. Good work! Now, if I recall correctly, wasn't there a county record that needs to be written up?