Black Racer/Blue Grosbeak (Nest Predation Video)

One of many nest predation videos from the field season. Unfortunately, the quality is poor, but you can still see the black racer catch one of the nestlings in midair. When nestlings are as big as they are in this video it's rare that a snake will be able to catch more than one, if any. 



These are three snakes that were caught in Ellenton Bay one day. The two that are all black with red bellies are black swamp snakes. One individual was very big as far as black swamp snakes go, its full length measuring out to 482 mm, the largest that I have seen yet. Even though it was huge for its species was still tiny compared to adults of most other snake species. It was also the oldest recapture we have seen so far, originally having been marked in 2005. 

The other snake in this image with the long red stripes is juvenile rainbow snake. Rainbow snakes are extremely rare at this site. The reason for this is assumed to be because of their eating habits. As far as we know, rainbow snakes only eat eels and because of its frequent dry spells, Ellenton Bay definitely does not have eels in it. Most snakes of this species found in the bay are thought to be in the process of migrating to other permanent water sources. 

The rainbow snake is the one at the bottom of the image with black spots on its belly.

This rat snake's eyes are blue because it's in the process of shedding its ocular scale. When this happens, snakes temporarily go blind. Because of this, when snakes need to shed, they usually find somewhere safe to do it like this hole in a tree. 

Ugly little blue grosbeak nestlings.

Since the field season is coming to a close, we have started doing the veg work needed for this study. Here are two nests we found while doing veg work that had fallen from their trees:

Blue grosbeak nest. These birds love to use trash in their nests. Some seem to have more trash in them than anything else.

Orchard oriole nest made entirely of one type of grass.


Cranberry Stuffing

A few weeks ago I found this rat snake after it had just scavenged an egg from an abandoned turkey nest. Somehow the snake ended up with the name Cranberry Stuffing.

This is where I found her on the first day of tracking her. There are at least two, if not more, snakes in there.