Monday, June 13, 2011

Excellent Photo Opportunites In Benezette Area

Paul Staniszewski  reports from Pennsylvania Elk Country that he has found a lot of excellent photographic opportunities in the Benezette area during the past few weeks.  Most of the elk calves have been born and Paul reports seeing the Pennsylvania Game Commission tag four calves, one at the Elk Country Visitor Center property, one at the Gilbert, and two in the saddle. He was unable to photograph this activity because of the tall grass, but he did successfully capture a calf nursing from a cow in a meadow on Winslow Hill.

Cow And Calf On Winslow Hill: Photo Courtesy of Paul Staniszewski, all rights reserved
He also sent another rattlesnake photograph, taken in mid-May.  Look closely and see how many rattlesnakes you can find in this tangle.  For more information, read the May 13th post, " A Rattlesnake Encounter In Pennsylvania Elk Country", which features a stunning photo by Paul.

How Many Rattlesnakes Are In This Group?:Photo Courtesy of Paul Staniszewski, all rights reserved

The correct answer is that  there are two yellow phase snakes and two black phase snakes, for a total of four snakes.

According to  "Rattlesnakes In Pennsylvania's State Forests",  a brochure published by DCNR, "Pennsylvania experienced a major decline in its timber rattlesnake population during recent decades attributed mainly to unrestricted commercial and sport hunting, den raiding, and land development. This decline prompted the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (charged with fish, reptile, and amphibian management) to implement regulations to check the uncontrolled exploitation of the species. DCNR urges all State Forest users including recreational visitors, camp lessees, logging, mineral, and rights-of-way contractors, fuelwood cutters, and passers-through to exhibit a tolerance for the timber rattlesnake and abide by all applicable regulations:
  • Persons who hunt, capture, kill, or possess timber rattlesnakes must have an Individual Timber Rattlesnake Hunter and Rattlesnake Possession Permit.
  • Damage to denning areas is prohibited.
  • Selling timber rattlesnakes or parts thereof is prohibited.
  • Timber rattlesnakes are protected under specific regulations by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. For more information, consult the most recent "Pennsylvania Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws" (supplied with fishing licenses) or direct questions to: Nongame and Endangered Species Unit, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, 450 Robinson Lane, Bellefonte, PA 16823"
Timber Rattlesnake - Life History
Scientific Name: Crotalus horridus
Color Phases: yellow (light phase), black (dark phase)
Mating Season: primarily July and August
Birthing: litter of 8-12 in late August through mid-September
Maturity: 5-7 years
Longevity: 30+ years
Mortality Rate: 10-12% annual mortality in adults, possibly higher for immature snakes
Timber Rattlesnake - Life History
Scientific Name: Crotalus horridus
Color Phases: yellow (light phase), black (dark phase)
Mating Season: primarily July and August
Birthing: litter of 8-12 in late August through mid-September
Maturity: 5-7 years
Longevity: 30+ years
Mortality Rate: 10-12% annual mortality in adults, possibly higher for immature snakes


When visiting The Elk Country Visitors Center, look for Floral Note Cards by Paul Staniszewksi, which feature stunning flower photography and are for sale in the gift shop.

Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

3 comments:

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

The picture of the elk make me go "awwww", whereas the picture of the snakes makes me say "ewww" and makes the hair on my arms stand up!

Feral Female said...

Great shots as always Willard! I have to say those rattlers make me nervous and it`s only a picture. Very cool image of those snakes!

Marci said...

Very informative. Wonderful photos, Paul.