Posts tagged with broad-headed skink


York River State Park

What was forecast to be a relatively cool, windy day turned out to be a rock-star day for some wildlife. We didn’t even have to hit the trails before we saw a Garter Snake crawling through the building just at the doorway to the Visitor’s Center. We were guessing it found a tasty snack up in building’s facade. Just a few feet away, at an overlook at the edge of the parking lot, we saw another Rat Snake or Northern Racer. Unfortunately, we didn’t get of that guy on camera as he was quick to slither away. We did see, though, about < 1 foot away a little bunny huddled up under a bush. Not sure if we saved that guy by scaring the snake away or not; he looked a little big but there may have been some babies around.

We eventually made our way to Taskinas Creek Trail, our original destination for the day. We didn’t see many birds on the walk, but we did see a fair number of lizards. We first found a Broad-headed Skink beating up on an Eastern Fence Lizard. Our passing by broke up the fight, but I have a feeling it picked right back up after we left. The skink was hiding out behind a log watching Stephanie and I taking pictures while the lizard was just frozen. The poor guy looked really battered: he was missing his tail and his shoulder was all scarred up. A few feet down the trail, we saw another pair of Fence Lizards: one small female and another large male with his blue throat all shining. One of the few birds we saw was a White-Eyed Vireo, a bird we hadn’t seen before. The picture wasn’t great, but it was good enough. We also spotted a couple of Cedar Waxwings, one of our favorite birds!

“Eagle Overlook” was sans Eagles but on the way back up to the main trail path, we saw another Fence Lizard; this time with even more blue on his belly. We had never seen that on a Fence Lizard before this hike.

Unfortunately, we didn’t find any prime spots for Salamander’s, our main wish-list item for the day. That’s OK, though, it was still a nearly perfect day for a hike.

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Skink Controversy

So here’s the deal: I’m not sure if the pictures I have of skinks are of Broad-Headed or Five-Lined skinks, or perhaps both. I had originally categorized the light brown skinks as Broad-Headed and then later changed my mind thinking that their heads weren’t big enough. Now, after having looked at the Virginia Herpetological Society’s website and counted the scales on at least one of the pictures, I’m thinking that the light brown skinks are indeed Broad-Headed skinks.