The Missouri Herpetological Association held its fifth annual spring field trip on the weekend of 7 – 9 May 2010 at Sam A. Baker State Park, Wayne County, Missouri.
Seven members, representing four different institutions, caught or observed more than 216 individual reptiles and amphibians, representing a total of 30 species. Most collecting activity occurred on Sat 8 May 2010, but a few individual animals were caught on Friday. The entire weekend was characterized by cool evening temperatures and unseasonably cool, but mostly sunny, daytime conditions. Habitats searched included woodlands, glades, streams, ponds, rivers, and roads.
A few species (including the Northern Red-bellied Snake and the Red-eared Slider) were new for the park. The total species list along with numbers of individuals can be seen below. The counts for a few species of anurans were augmented with calling individuals or larvae. The counts below that are designated with a plus (+) symbol are minimum estimates of the number of individuals observed for those species.
The MHA would like to thank the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for providing permission to use state park property for the field trip. Special appreciation is extended to Tim Turpin for his hospitality and for leading the group on Saturday.
The Missouri Herpetological Association will hold the 2010 Spring Field Trip Saturday 8 May 2010. This year, we will conduct a herpetofaunal survey of Sam A. Baker State Park, northwest of Greenville in Wayne County, Missouri. The organized count will be conducted between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. We will assemble at Visitor Center (see map). The event is open to the public and free of charge.
Baker State Park covers approximately 5,300 acres within the Saint Francois Mountains. The Saint Francois Mountains are among the oldest ranges found within the United States. The park includes Mudlick Mountain at 1,313 feet and portions of two major streams, Saint Francois River and Big Creek. Baker State Park consists primarily of Ozark forestland with rhyolite glades, ponds, ephemeral and permanent streams. We will conduct a survey of both terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Additional information, including maps and directions, is available on the park home page (http://www.mostateparks.com/baker.htm). We have reserved the group campsite at Sam A. Baker State Park on Friday and Saturday nights (April 24-25) for the field trip. A nominal fee of $2/person/night will be charged for the use of the site. The group site is located just north of Campground #1 near the southern park entrance on Highway 143. The group site has a separate access drive from Highway 143 just north of the Campground #1. MHA signs will be posted to mark the entrance. Individual campsites and rustic cabins are also available within the park. A map of the park is available on-line. Overnight campers should bring food and drink for their own meals.
Trained herpetologists will lead groups of participants, verify identification and locality of the amphibians and reptiles collected, obtain photo documentation, and maintain species counts. After verification, most animals will be released at the site of capture. Only individuals with valid state collecting and research permits may retain selected specimens for research or display at accredited institutions.
Individuals of all ages are welcome to participate; however, adults should accompany young children. A hike of up to five miles through steep, rocky terrain may be required to conduct a portion of the survey. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and are advised to wear long pants and stout boots while in the field. Water, leather gloves, hat, sunscreen, and insect repellant are also recommended. Individuals should provide their own lunches. Participants with digital cameras and GPS units are encouraged to bring them to help document the survey. Results of the field trip will be posted on the MHA website (http://www.moherp.org/) and published in the 2010 MHA newsletter.