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The Fauna of Amherst State Park

Red Fox at Amherst State Park

So my brother and I are walking out of the woods talking about how there is never any animals in the woods when this fox comes bolting across the field at full speed. This photo was taken on January 8, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Young buck moving through the fields of Amherst State Park. You have to watch for movement. These guys blend in too well when they are still. Got to watch for their tail and ears.

This photo was taken on November 11, 2010, By Peter Scumaci

Spent most of the morning trying to get a clear shot at this buck. This was one of the best ones.
Amherst State Park, Amherst, New York

This photo was taken on December 30, 2010, By Peter Scumaci

White-tailed deer at Amherst State Park. Amherst, New York

This photo was taken on December 26, 2010, By Peter Scumaci

Wildlife in Amherst State Park

Courtesy of Gerry Rising

    The wildlife of Amherst State Park was evaluated as part of a Draft Master Plan for the park carried out by Environmental Design & Research, P.C. (EDR) of Syracuse, N.Y, Paul Fritz, Project Manager. The following content is largely quoted from that report


    Mammalian species in the park were documented through field surveys and assessment of habitat suitability by EDR. Habitat conditions suggest the likely occurrence of a least 39 mammal species in the park, of which nine were observed during the 2000-2001 field surveys. Common species include whitetail deer, gray squirrel, red squirrel, raccoon, woodchuck, and eastern chipmunk. Relatively common bats such as eastern pipestrelle, little brown bat, big brown bat, and silverhaired bat are all likely to occur in the park at some time. Similarly, widely distributed species of mice voles and shrews, along with flying squirrels and weasels, also probably occur in the park, although not documented in this survey.

Mammal Species




smoky shrew

masked shrew

shorttail shrew

least shrew


eastern mole

starnose mole

hairytail mole

Plainnose Bats

eastern pipistrel

big brown bat

hoary bat

red bat

little brown myotis

Keen myotis

silverhaired bat




shorttail weasel

longtail weasel


striped skunk

Dogs, Wolves, Foxes


red fox*

gray fox



eastern chipmunk*

eastern gray squirrel*

red squirrel

southern flying squirrel



Mice, Rats, Lemmings, Voles

deer mouse

whitefooted mouse

meadow vole


Old World Rats & Mice

Norway rat

house mouse

Jumping Mice

meadow jumping mouse*

woodland jumping mouse

Hares, Rabbits 

eastern cottontail*


whitetail deer*


Dideiphis virginiana


Sorex fumeus

Sorex cinereus

Blarina brevicauda

Cryptotis parva


Scalopus aquaticus

Condylura critata

Parascalops breweri


Pipistrellus subflavus

Eptesicus fuscus

Lasiurus cinereus

Lasiurus borealis

Myotis lucifugus

Myotis keenii

Lasionycteris noctivagans


Procyon lotor


Mustela erminea

Mustela frenata

Mustela vison

Mephitis mephitis


Canis latrans

Vulpes vulpes

Urocyon cinereoargenteus


Marmota monax

Tamias striatus

Sciurus carolinensis

Tamiasciurus hudsonicus

Glaucomys volans


Castor canadensis


Peromyscus maniculatus

Peromyscus leucopus

Microtus pennsylvanicus

Ondatra zibethicus


Rattus noivegicus

Mus musculus


Zapus hudsonicus

Napaeozapus insignis


Sylvilagus floridanus


Odocoileus virginianus

Reptiles and Amphibians

    Habitat assessment and field surveys indicated that at least 28 species of reptiles and amphibians are likely to occur in the park, of which six were identified during the 2000-2001 field surveys. These species were observed by searching under fallen logs and debris, and searching wetlands and the shoreline of Ellicott Creek. Common species of reptile and amphibian in the park include northern water snake, green frog, garter snake, and American toad.  The abundance and diversity of reptiles and amphibians may be limited by a lack of suitable breeding areas (e.g. vernal pools) and limited undisturbed upland habitat outside park boundaries.

Reptile and Amphibian Species


northern pike


smallmouth bass*

largemouth bass



rock bass*

green sunfish


brown bullhead

log perch

trout perch


white sucker*

northern hogsucker


tessellated darter

yellow perch

rainbow darter

shield darter

Carps and Minnows


cutups minnow

common shiner

spottail shiner

central stone roller

river chub

bluntnose minnow


Esox lucis


Micropterus dolomieui

Micropterus salmoides


Lepomis gibbosus

Ambloplites rupestris

Lepomis cyanellus


Amelurus nebulosus

Percina caprodes

Percopsis omiscomaycus


Catostomus commersoni

Hypertelium nigricans


Etheostoma olmstedi

Perca flavescens

Etheostoma caeruleum

Percina peltata


Cyprinus carpio

Exoglossum maxillingua

Luxilus cornutus

Notropis hudsonicus

Campstoma ariomalum

Nocomis micropogon

Pimephales notatus

Box and Water Turtles

midland painted turtle

wood turtle

Snapping Turtles

common snapping turtle

Musk and Mud Turtles



northern water snake

northern brown snake

eastern garter snake

northern redbellied snake

eastern milk snake

black rat snake

northern ringneck snake

northern black racer

Mole Salamanders

bluespotted salamander

Jefferson's salamander

spotted salamander


redspotted newt

Lungless Salamanders

redbacked salamander

northern twolined salamander

slimy salamander

northern dusky salamander


American toad*

Tree Frogs

spring peeper

gray treefrog

True Frogs

wood frog

pickeral frog

northern leopard frog

green frog*

bull frog


Chrysemys picta marginata

Clemmys insculpta


Chelydra serpentina


Sternotherus odoratus


Natrix sipedon sipedon

Storeria dekayi dekayi

Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis

Storeria occipitomaculata


Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum

Elaphe obsoleta

Diadophis punctatus edwardsi

Coluber constrictor constrictor


Ambystoma laterale

Ambystoma jeffersonianum

Ambystoma maculatum


Notophthalmus viridescens


Plethodon cinereus cinereus

Eurycea bislineata bislineata

Plethodon glutinosus

Desmognathus fuscus


Bufo americanus


Hyla crucifer

Hyla versicolor


Rana sylvatica

Rana palustris

Rana pipiens

Rana clamitans melanota

Rana catesbeiana

Fish/Aquatic Species

    According to fish surveys conducted by the NYSDEC during 1999, Ellicott Creek within Amherst State Park supports a warm water fishery. Electroshocking conducted just below Glen Avenue and approximately 0.75 mile downstream within the park documented the presence of 14 different fish species. Common game species and panfish include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, pumpkinseed and bluegill. Rough fish include hogsucker, white sucker and carp, while minnows/forage fish include common shiner, stone roller rainbow darter, bluntnose minnow, log perch and river chub. At the time the sampling was conducted (August 24, 1999), water temperature was in the range of 68°-71° F. According to a representative of the NYSDEC, cold water discharge to Ellicott Creek from a large upstream stone quarry is currently maintaining slightly colder water temperatures and more reliable summertime flows in the creek (M. Wilkinson, pers. comm.). These conditions are likely benefiting the existing aquatic community, but are not significant enough to allow the establishment of a cold water fishery.

Fish Species

    So I am photographing a group of deer when this guy scoots right between us. He seemed to float above the snow because he moved so smooth and fast. I was lucky he stopped when he heard my shutter fire. This Red Fox was gone as quickly as he appeared. If I didn't have the pictures, I would have doubted that I actually saw him. Amherst State Park, Amherst, New York

    And yes, I realize there is a tree in the left foreground and a small twig covering part of his face. This is not a is a real photograph of a Red Fox in its natural environment. This photo was taken on February 5, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

White-tailed deer at Amherst State Park. This one was sticking its nose in the snow, and then licking it off with its tongue. Pretty funny to watch. Always difficult to catch these guys out in the open, I like this image because it shows the animal in its natural surrounding. This photo was taken on February 5, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

    Way out of my comfort zone on this one. Tried to crop this guy so you could see some of the detail of his face. Absolutely beautiful creatures, especially the eyes. We spent about 20 minutes about 30 feet apart as he tried to figure out what I was. This photo was taken on February 5, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Chipmunk on a path along Ellicott Creek

at Amherst State Park

A group of deer in Amherst State Park, Amherst, New York. This photo was taken on April 16, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Young deer in deep snow at Amherst State Park. This photo was taken on February 25, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Red Fox in the early morning light. Amherst State Park, Amherst, New York. Shot in color and converted to b&w in Adobe Photoshop CS3. This photo was taken on March 10, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

White-tailed deer during a snow fall. Amherst State Park. This photo was taken on February 11, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

Red Squirrel. Smaller than the Grey Squirrel, this guy seemed to run a lot faster. Amherst State Park, Amherst, NY. This photo was taken on February 5, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

This Gray Squirrel was 3 feet away from jumping on me when he realized I was not a tree. He did pose for a few pictures before bounding away. Shot in the wild. I had to quickly switch to 3.5 meters from 8.5 meters when he got so close. Gray Squirrel Amherst State Park, Amherst, NY. This photo was taken on January 22, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

"What are you doing in my woods?"

Almost had a great opportunity for a picture as this little fox was running perpendicular to me through the woods. He was headed toward a clearing when he suddenly stopped and ran in the other direction. It makes you appreciate the times when you get a good opportunity for a clear shot. This photo was taken on January 14, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

Happy New Year. First shot of 2012. I was trying to shoot the fox again, but messed up the opportunity. (I keep forgetting the animals are on nature time, not human time.) This guy walked in on me while I was hiding under a pine tree. I thought the morning would be a total loss but was pleasantly surprised. White-tailed deer, Amherst State Park This photo was taken on January 1, 2012, By Peter Scumaci

Red Fox in the woods. Waited for him to get real close this time. Once again, he took off runing after he heard my shutter. Amherst State Park, Amherst, NY. This photo was taken on December 24, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Good Morning Foxy. This little Red Fox seems to have skipped its coffee this morning. It was not very happy to hear my shutter clicking off. It ran away shortly after this picture as taken. Amherst State Park, Amherst, NY. This photo was taken on December 1, 2011, By Peter Scumaci.

A 7 point buck in Amherst State Park. Light was fading fast but I kept shooting even as the shutter started to slow. This photo was taken on October 8, 2011, By Peter Scumaci

Another low-light shot of deer in Amherst State Park. This guy was the most adventurous of the herd. This photo was taken on October 8, 2011, By Peter Scumaci