October 19, 2009
Sunny and high of 76. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew over the house just before we ate our lunch on the deck before leaving on a bike ride. I wanted to get all the way to Rocheport, but we didn't have time for the whole ride starting from Columbia so we drove to McBaine and rode to Rocheport and back.
We saw a few butterflies on the Katy Trail – 2 Cloudless Sulphurs, 1 Orange Sulphur, 3 Cabbage Whites (including one at home while putting the bikes on the car), 2 unidentified anglewings, 3 Monarchs, and about 6 woolly bears.
We also saw 5 snakes on the trail. Unfortunately, I ran over one. I was looking straight down at my tire going around a beetle on the trail and when I looked up I was just a couple of feet from the snake. All in the same second, I thought “Could that be a copperhead? If I slam on my brakes I'll probably end up stopped right on top of it. Not good if it is a copperhead.” The snake was about 2' long so I just aimed for as far to the tail as possible. I don't know what happened to the snake because I couldn't bring myself to turn around and look. I did watch the snake when I hit it and it didn't react. I've had snakes really move fast and get out from in front of my bike at the last minute and this one never moved. I had about convinced myself that someone else had hit and killed the snake before me, but on the way back to McBaine the snake had apparently moved off of the trail. I hope I hit far enough back on the tail that I didn't really hurt it. With more time to think about it (and a quick look through a field guide when we got home), I've decided it definitely wasn't a copperhead. Most likely a Prairie Kingsnake.