Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (EOY)

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Soopaman
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Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (EOY)

Post by Soopaman » December 12th, 2014, 6:27 pm

Once again it's that time of year to summarize and show off our finds from the more productive seasons. Starting this year, I didn't expect to be able to top last year's results, but after nearly doubling the amount of snakes I've seen and greatly expanding my lifelist, I believe I have.

This year I've done a lot more traveling to herp than last year. I've spent quite a bit of time in the northeast quadrant of Texas, instead of my southeastern home. In the early season, some friends and I went south to the southern tip of Texas and along the coast, making the most of warmer weather in the southern latitudes. In May I went to herp west Texas during Snake Days, a completely different kind of herping for me (and one I don't quite enjoy), and met and made many friends in the process. I spent a time herping the northwest portion of the state, on my way to Denver for some concerts this summer, as well as herped southern Colorado for a couple hours on my way up. I ventured further east to Louisiana, again, and made the jump into Mississippi in search of Eastern Diamondbacks. I've forged new trails outside of my little SE Texas bubble, and I'm sure I'll explore these and more in 2015.

Before we get started I'd like to extend a general thanks to all those I got out in the field with this year and had the pleasure of spending time with. I'll name a few folks through the post that are involved here on the forum, but there's many others who I had the pleasure of herping with that are not involved here. It's a great community and always enjoyable to have some like-minded companionship when engaging in this hobby, and interesting to see the different philosophies everyone takes with them to the field.

I'll be doing this post mostly chronologically and break it into sections of Spring, Summer, and Fall.

All photographs are sized at 1024px on the longest side. It's recommended to view the post with your monitor's resolution set to 1280x960 or higher.


Spring


Around the house, itching with excitement to photograph some snakes, I practiced on some smallmouth salamanders found in the yard and on the trail I walked my dog:

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Ambystoma texanum (Smallmouth Salamander) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The first snakes of the year were in early January. We had a few days of 70's and I went to flip things, eager for spring to start. I only found a few Rough earth snakes, but did not photograph them. On January 22nd, I found the first large colubrid of the year under some tin I laid out in late 2012. It's not unusual for rat snakes to be some of the first and last large snakes active for the season.

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Tin Site by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

In early February we had some more warm weather roll through, so I decided to check some copperhead spots. I'm not a big fan of these snakes, but they're exciting to see early in the year. I didn't have any luck at this point, though they usually are found in large numbers at this spot:

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Abandoned Home by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Coastal areas can be productive sooner than in-land spots. One weekend I spent a couple hours at the beach looking for diamondbacks. This small yearling WDB was all that turned up.

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Upper Texas Coast by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The inner coast of Chambers County produced this rat snake:

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

From this field:
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Coastal Field by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



In the latter portion of the month we had a couple of days in the 80's right before a cold front would knock us back down. I took advantage of the weather and found a few early birds at one of my favorite spots:

ImageEast Texas Dump by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

This rather haggard looking buttermilk racer was one I found in 2013. It needed a shed, badly:
ImageColuber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

This LA milk was a nice surprise that day:

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

A few days later, west of Houston, this cottonmouth turned up:

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Agkistrodon piscivorous leucostoma (Western Cottonmouth) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


While herping was slow still, I was able to capture some of the natural beauty of the environment, something I often ignore when herps are out in full force later in the season:


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Crataegus sp. (Hawthorn) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crataegus sp. (Hawthorn) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

More texanum showed up and I played around with some white posterboard and new camera equipment:

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Ambystoma texanum (Smallmouth Salamander) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Early March brought spring break. It was a break from school, and a chance to take a herp trip to some new frontier for me and my friends, Armin and Brennan. We'd all wanted to journey to south Texas to see the monstrous diamondbacks and the even more impressive Texas indigo snakes. We planned and planned, and had set almost the entire week aside to herp east Texas, south along the coast, then finally the Rio Grande Valley.

However, I myself couldn't contain my excitement, and before they had come down, I did some central Texas coast herping myself, turning up some of the incredibly colored coastal milk snakes, as well as the exquisite Schott's whipsnake, among others.

Here's a few of the noteworthy finds I had, which really whet our appetite for the coming south Texas trip:

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Ophisaurus attenuatus (Slender Glass Lizard) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis guttatus meahllmorum (Thornscrub Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis guttatus meahllmorum (Thornscrub Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Masticophis schotti schotti (Schott's Whipsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Masticophis schotti schotti (Schott's Whipsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula splendida (Desert Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula splendida (Desert Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum annulata (Mexican Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula splendida (Desert Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum annulata (Mexican Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula splendida (Desert Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum annulata (Mexican Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum annulata (Mexican Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


It was almost time for Armin and Brennan to arrive, but much to our chagrin, the weather turned sour quickly! A few days before they were set to arrive, east Texas was covered in ice! Something I haven't gotten to see but a couple times in my life.

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Late Winter in East Texas by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageLate Winter in East Texas by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Late Winter in East Texas by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Late Winter in East Texas by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Luckily, within a few days the ice had melted. Temperatures were still quite cool, and the ground was wet. It was in this cold wet muck that we started our trip. Beginning on the upper coast, we started in some fields with dense clay soil, only to get skunked there. The water retention was too high and all the boards were soaked underneath.

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Coastal Prairie by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Within a couple of hours we moved on to sandier, loamy fields, and Brennan found our first snake:

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Farmland by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Tantilla gracilis (Flat-headed Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Not long after in a nearby field, we turned up several king snakes, mostly yearlings and one young adult:

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Shooting the King by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

We finished the day off with some rough earth snakes and a handful of Texas rat snakes, not photographed.


Our next day started off chilly and wet in the thicket region of east Texas. Within a few minutes of herping, we flipped a pair of southern copperheads, followed shortly by a rat snake and a buttermilk racer:

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Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix (Southern Copperheads) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The next day, we journeyed west of Houston and then began the trek to the south-central coast where we would spend the night.

We had a few finds that day, but the only ones I photographed were these two:

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Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus (Broad-banded Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Heterodon platirhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


We spent that night on the beach, with the crashing of waves sending us off to dreamland where we dreamed of desert kings and milk snakes.

The next morning we awoke to cool temperatures and thick fog. We spent many hours searching but were only able to turn up a single milk snake:

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Lampropeltis triangulum annulata (Mexican Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Moving to the mainland, we managed to turn up an olive colored Schott's whipsnake, a lifer for Armin and Brennan, followed by a scrub rat:

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Live Oak Hammock by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Whipsnake Wrangling by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Masticophis schotti schotti (Schott's Whipsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis guttatus meahllmorum (Southwestern Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

That evening, we headed south to Brownsville. The southern tip of Texas had just gotten drenched with rain, which we had hoped would bring out the snakes for us, but with it came cold temperatures and lots of wind. The following morning we met began our hunt, meeting up with my buddy Blake soon after.

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Thornscrub Herpers by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Thornscrub by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

We'd had a pretty lousy morning. The snakes were being pretty picky, and we weren't thinking we were going to have much luck. We had dreams of drymarchon, but after being told the weather wasn't good for them, and that they were nearly impossible to find by flipping, we didn't think we'd actually get to see one.

Lo and behold, much to everyone's surprise, in the early afternoon I lifted up some soggy OSB and found a perfect looking meter long young Texas indigo:

ImageSouth Texas Dump by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Drymarchon melanurus erebennus (Texas Indigo Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Drymarchon melanurus erebennus (Texas Indigo Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Our spirits renewed, we marched on through the day. We continued our search, and barely missed a Texas Patchnose crossing the road. Overall the day was fairly unproductive, though we did end up flipping our patchnose just as the sun was setting.

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Salvadora grahamiae lineata (Texas Patchnose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Salvadora grahamiae lineata (Texas Patchnose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The following day we followed the Rio Grande up north through Hidalgo and Star Counties. Our first snake of the day was the diminutive black headed snake, followed by a rather drab western coachwhip, and many, many patchnose, and our own diamondback of the trip, a very small yearling found in some carpet.


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South Texas Tin by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Tamaulipan thornscrub by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Tamaulipan thornscrub by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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South Texas Flowers by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Tantilla nigriceps (Plains Black-headed Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Salvadora grahamiae lineata (Texas Patchnose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

The highlight of the day, and our trip, was this 2 meter adult indigo. It was spotted out sunning itself outside of a burrow at the base of a prickly pear cactus. Thanks to Blake for seeing this beast for us:

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Drymarchon melanurus erebennus (Texas Indigo Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Drymarchon melanurus erebennus (Texas Indigo Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


We concluded our trip the next morning by searching for speckled racers at the southernmost tip of Texas. Luck was not with us, and we did not see the speckled racer. All the more reason to go back though!

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Sabal Palms by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sabal Palms by Kyle L.E., on Flickr




The remainder of March I got out a few times, mostly looking for kings but always photographed a few racers and coachwhips. During this time I met up with Justin (MassHorridus) while he was down in Houston. We went west of Houston and found a few things, and I introduced him to my style of herping as we got to know each other. I also met up with TimCo for a couple hours. Though we didn't find much that day, we'd see each other again and again through the year. Here's a few highlights from the remainder of March:

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Nerodia clarkii clarkii (Gulf Salt Marsh Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


April is by far my favorite month of the year. Snake activity peaks and road cruising begins. Here's a few from the first week:

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Abandoned Car Barn by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellowbellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellowbellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coastal Prairie by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



At the end of the first week of April I met up with TimCo again for some herping out in the Big Thicket. His targets were mud snakes and tan racers. While we didn't turn up either of those, we had quite a productive day, including my first calligaster of the year and double coral snake flip:

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


I spent some more time soon after in the areas southwest and west of Houston, turning up more getula and coachwhips.

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Sandy Prairie by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageColuber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


This milk snake was exciting to flip while walking my dog one evening:

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


A day in the thicket was unusually slow, though I did get my first rough green and tan racer of the year:

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


In the middle of the month I spent some time in high quality prairie west of Houston, looking for my favorite snake, the prairie kingsnake. I was lucky enough to find these in good numbers (for myself, at least) as well as a rare find for the area, the Texas Glossy snake, an animal seldom seen this far east. I ended up seeing four of these glossy snakes this year in that area.

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageLampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

One mid-April morning I was to meet TimCo and some of his (and now mine) friends on the South-Central Texas coast. We had been blasted with a cold front the night prior, dropping temperatures into the 40's. As I made my south early that morning, about 5am, I was passing by a board that was just a few feet off the highway, one I knew to be productive. Despite the cold temps and being in the dark of the morning, I decided to flip it. I was rewarded with a calligaster and getula double flip. I collected the calligaster and continued on my way to meet Tim.

ImageLampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


We herped the coastal islands most of the day and were skunked on our targets, though we all got to experience the joys of flipping a hive of africanized bees!

A glass lizard showed up (maybe more, I can't recall)

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Herpers Herping by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Ophisaurus attenuatus (Slender Glass Lizard) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Moving inland in seach of whipsnakes, we were only graced with a few coachwhips.

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhips) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Herpers Herping by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhips) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


In late April I spent some time herping on my own in various parts of east Texas, from the coastal fields to the thicket, to the post-oak savannah of northeast Texas. Here's some of those finds, including some in-situ photographs:

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Snapping Turtle by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Arizona elegans arenicola (Texas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Ophisaurus attenuatus (Slender Glass Lizard) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



At the end of the month I was taking a trip to east Louisiana to meet up with my buddy Armin. Jeroen, one of our FHF members from Belgium was meeting us out there for some canebrake hunting. As is custom, before my trip out there, I went to try to find a canebrake in east Texas.
I went west of Houston, and ended up getting out too late for most road movement. While driving down a road I know produces them, I heard a buzz like the sound of an insect flying into the car. It was peculiar though, so I stopped the car and turned the engine off, and I could still hear it buzzing in the distance. I started the car and drove towards it, and shined my light out the window as the noise reached a crescendo. Sitting off the road by my car was the first canebrake of the year!

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


The next day I made my way to Armin's, herping a bit along the way, and found this interestingly colored racer near Lake Charles:

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Coluber constrictor ssp. (North American Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


As usual, we had a bang up time at his camp and found several canebrakes, a rough green, some kings, along with a few corns.

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Pantherophis guttatus guttatus (Corn Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor priapus (Southern Black Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

This corn snake on a hunting stand ended up being my favorite photo this year, in situ:

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Pantherophis guttatus guttatus (Corn Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



In early May, flipping is still productive but begins to slow down, especially when the ground begins to dry out and days are longer and warmer. Road cruising generally becomes more productive and lasts later in the night. It ended up being a very good month for me, with a good bit of travel including some days in west Texas at the end of the month. Here's some of the finds from the first couple of weeks in May:

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum testaceus (Western Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix (Southern Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor flaviventris (Eastern Yellow-bellied Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum ssp. (Coachwhips) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Regina rigida sinicola (Gulf Crayfish Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Opheodrys aestivus (Rough Green Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Regina grahamii (Graham's Crayfish Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Farancia abacura reinwardtii (Western Mudsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Farancia abacura reinwardtii (Western Mudsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



In the middle of May, Armin came to visit for an extended weekend. Our goals were to herp west of Houston for part of a day, looking for calligaster and canebrakes, then buzz up to northeast Texas for pygmies. While we struck out on canes and callies, we ended up with some good results in northeast Texas.

Intergrade coachwhip from west of Houston:

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Coluber flagellum ssp. (Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Diadophis punctuatus stictogenys (Mississippi Ringneck Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Flipping a log one afternoon, something I seldom do as it is generally unproductive, revealed two coral snakes on top of each other (not breeding). I shouted to Armin and he ran over, gleefully ready for some coral snake fun.

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Post Oak Savannah by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Snake Photography by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Towards the end of a long hike, the day before we headed home, we came across this scene less than 10ft from where we parked the truck. This rat snake had knocked several baby birds out of the nest and onto the ground, where it slowly devoured each one:

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Pantherophis obsoletus lindheimeri (Texas Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


After our trip I spent a couple days herping the next week, just before leaving for my first west Texas herp adventure. Here's some highlights:

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor anthicus (Buttermilk Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


On my way out to West Texas, I stopped in Austin to pick up Ryan (DracoRJC). We looked around a creek near his residence for some blackneck garters, but only came up with this diamondbacked water snake:

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Nerodia rhombifer rhombifer (Diamondbacked Water Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


I dropped off Ryan near Fort Stockton where he was meeting up with his friend Ben. I made my way to Marathon just in time for sundown to meet up with TimCO and many other great folks I'm happy to call friends now, including the esteemed Mike Pingleton, Sky S., and our favorite photographer from California, Marisa!

We spent the next 5-6 nights herping west Texas, splitting off into groups here and there, in search of this-and-that. I wasn't much for the daytime lectures, but I did enjoy the night hunting. I don't recall when each of these was found, but needless to say the only snake I found myself the entire trip was the Chihuahuan Lyre on River Road. These are a collection of group finds, and it wouldn't have been possible for me to see all these things without the companionship I enjoyed that week!


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Arizona elegans elegans (Kansas Glossy Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus (Texas Longnose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Hypsiglena torquata jani (Texas Night Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster (Trans-Pecos Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Rhinocheilus lecontei tessellatus (Texas Longnose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Tantilla nigriceps (Plains Blackheaded Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Bogertophis subocularis (Trans-Pecos Rat Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula splendida (Desert Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Pituophis catenifer affinis (Sonoran Gopher Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Trimorphodon biscutatus vilkinsonii (Texas Lyre Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus lepidus lepidus (Mottled Rock Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Some west Texas scenery. Thanks again to Sky for the hospitality that week, and for introducing me to the CowDog! If anyone every visits Alpine before June 1st next year, be sure to visit the CowDog in Alpine for the best hotdogs you'll ever have. Seriously.

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West Texas Landscape by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Chisos Mountains by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Rio Grande by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



Returning to east Texas I didn't go out to herp until the second week of June or so. Herp movement had slowed down to brief flutters of activity at dusk and dawn, and I wasn't interested in road cruising all night to find herps. Flipping is nonexistant that time of year! Needless to say I gave it a try, but only found a few noteworthy things I wanted to photograph. It is a decent time for mudsnakes, though generally I find more roadkills than alive. I wouldn't go out again until the end of the month on my way to Colorado.

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Farancia abacura reinwardtii (Western Mudsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Micrurus tener tener (Texas Coral Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr





Summer



As summer started I herped less in Southeast Texas. I focused more on work, but at the end of June I had planned to see Widespread Panic at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO. I took the opportunity to check off a couple of snakes off my lifelist, and collect a calligaster from northwest Texas. Using the field guide and google maps for habitat, I narrowed down a place near the panhandle that would be productive for calligaster and western massassaugas. It turned out I was either lucky or well learned, but I was fortuitous enough to find both targets within an hour of arriving at the site that evening on my way up.

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Mesquite Prairie by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Searching for 'saugas by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus (Western Massasauga) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus catenatus tergeminus (Western Massasauga) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


After talking to TimCO, he guided me to an area in Southern Colorado, that, if I hurried, I should would be able to make it to in the morning and potentially find western hognoses and prairie rattlesnakes. I left my 'sauga area around 10pm and I drove all night, taking a 30min nap at about 5am in Lamar CO. Driving 2.5 more hours I made it to the spot. While I didn't find my lifer western hog, I did get graced with my very first Prairie Rattlesnake, every bit irascible as described.

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Crotalus viridis (Prairie Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus viridis (Prairie Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


In early July, doing yardwork one morning, this milk snake surprised me:

ImageLampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

One day off in the first couple of weeks of July I met up with a graduate student working in NE Texas to help her find her first pygmy.

ImageSistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


We met up again, not long after towards the end of the month and made a trip out east to look for canebrakes in East Louisiana. We were not unsuccessful! She found our first one of the day, several feet up on a branch, waiting for a squirrel!

In situ:

ImageCrotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageCrotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageCrotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageStoreria occipitomaculata obscura (Florida Red-bellied Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageCrotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Back in Texas, I started to go out and cruise more at the end of July, mostly looking for canebrakes as the start of canebrake season would begin soon. I probably jumped the gun a bit, but I did have some success.

Here's a few finds from that period, as well as a few non-herp scenes:

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Orb Weaver by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Rabbit by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Chelydra serpentina (Common Snapping Turtle) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

One night I ended up with a stunningly large, 31 inch Louisiana milk snake:

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

In situ:

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

I did finally have some canebrake success, and one of the prettiest milk snakes I've ever seen turned up:

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis triangulum amaura (Louisiana Milk Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



August is, for me, the beginning of horridus season. In the middle of the month males begin moving to find their girlfriends for the year. It was at this time I started to spend more nights searching east Texas, and took a final trip of the year to Armin's place and a quick jaunt to Mississippi with my (now) girlfriend.
Here's a few highlights of that month, including that trip. In a single day we smashed our previous record of 4, and field up 6 canebrakes sitting out on Armin's property.

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Agkistrodon piscivorous leucostoma (Western Cottonmouth) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor latrunculus (Black-masked Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix (Southern Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Love at first sight by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Mississippi Sandhill by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Virginia valeriae elegans (Western Smooth Earth Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

ImageCrotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Back in Texas:

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Orange-striped Ribbon Snake (Thamnophis proximus proximus) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus (Broad-banded Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus (Broad-banded Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

And a late August trip back to Louisiana, not on Armin's property, and sadly without Armin:


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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



The month of September has to be my second favorite month of the year. Herps beging to move again, and horridus are some of the most abundant. This month I would shatter previous year's records of horridus finds. In both 2012 and 2013, I had found only 4 horridus in Texas in each year. This year, my total was brought to over 30 alive, and 45 including my Louisiana finds (not to mention the countless DORs).

The first couple days of the month brought this behemoth out in northeast Texas. This was a 5ft+ canebrake, one of the largest I've found:

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Babies began popping up all over, and adults were moving regularly:

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber constrictor etheridgei (Tan Racer) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis getula holbrooki (Speckled Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


In the latter half of the month, I met up with Todd B. from California to herp the Thicket and Northeast Texas to cross a few lifers off his list. Of course a top target was the canebrake, and I informed him we'd give it our best, but not to get his hopes up on finding a canebrake in East Texas. I'd seen many, but certainly couldn't guarantee one.

As it turned out, my caution towards Todd was unfounded, and the very first snake we would find was a mother canebrake from Northeast Texas. Not only did we find a mother cane, but we found her with 19 of her babies. This was the start of a very successful trip for Todd, and a happy weekend for me!

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

A pygmy we found that evening, another of his targets:

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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


The next day I had work, and Todd set off on his own. We would get together again the following day, and we turned up another canebrake in the Thicket, crossing the road in the late afternoon. We were both talking and not expecting anything as we made our way to another hiking/flipping area. From the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of a canebrake in the road. I shouted "CANE!" and dove out of the car as fast as I could.

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


So ended my finds for this summer. Fall was just around the corner, and Armin and I had one last trip planned.


Fall



The first day of Fall I set off on my own to do some hiking in the cool, low 80's day. This eastern coachwhip was one of a few finds, and was nice to finally get a shot of one in-situ:

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Armin arrived a few days later and we set off that evening to cruise the Thicket in an attempt to get his first canebrake from Texas. After a couple hours I informed him we were getting to prime time, and this was when I had been seeing them moving lately. A few minutes later we saw the sight we all look forward to!

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


The next morning we set off on a similar path as we did in May. We searched for calligaster, and struck out again, west of Houston. We did re-find the most incredible looking copperhead either of us has ever seen, though.

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Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus (Broad-banded Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Agkistrodon contortrix laticinctus (Broad-banded Copperhead) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


That evening we arrived in northeast Texas and began hiking around. It was sadly drier than we expected, and our hopes of a pygmy out hunting were dashed. We did end up getting our second hognose of the year, an adorable red neonate.

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Heterodon platirhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Heterodon platirhinos (Eastern Hognose Snake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


That evening, we cruised around in hopes of seeing a pygmy. About an hour after sundown, we stumbled across our target!


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Sistrurus miliarus streckeri (Western Pygmy Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Having succeeded there, we made our way the next morning towards the panhandle, with hopes of a massassauga to round out the trip. We made it to our hotel shortly before sundown and took a few minutes to clean up. We made it to our road a little bit early and flipped some rocks to pass the time. This was the first I'd seen or heard of the green toad, and had to ask a friend what it was:

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Green Toad (Bufo debilis debilis) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Night fell, and we began our search for our massassauga. We found a great-plains rat first, but not much else was moving. About an hour after sundown, almost the same time as we had found the pygmy the night before, we saw an alert massassauga warming itself on the road! We kept cruising, hoping for another or a calligaster, but only ended up with a couple diamondbacks and a huge Texas rat snake. We chatted with some local sheriffs and they gave us some road tips, but around 11pm we called it a night and headed back to the hotel, photographing and releasing our prize the next morning.

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Sistrurus catenatus tergiminus (Western Massasauga) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Sistrurus catenatus tergiminus (Western Massasauga) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


Armin flipped this diamondback under a mattress that morning:

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


That afternoon we headed back to NE Texas to try again for another pygmy. Luck wasn't with us, and we eventually got washed out by a huge storm. While hiking we captured a jet black eastern coachwhip.

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Coluber flagellum flagellum (Eastern Coachwhip) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Just before the storm hit, we found a baby canebrake crossing an ill-traveled farm road:

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus horridus (Canebrake Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


We saw several rat snakes out in the rain, but the pygmies stayed in that night. We headed out the next morning, concluding our final trip of the year, satisfied and looking forward to the next one.


At the end of October my girlfriend and I went out for a last ditch effort at finding a few snakes for the year. One weekend we went to the coast so I could show her a western diamondback. As soon as we arrived at our first spot, I walked up on a large 4ft diamondback, before we had even flipped anything. After photos, we flipped a few things and called it a day.

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Crotalus atrox (Western Diamondbacked Rattlesnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr


The next Saturday we went out again, this time west of Houston. We herped most of the day and found very little. It wasn't until we got to the last spot that we struck gold. In one spot we found two copperheads, some water snakes, three Texas rat snakes and our target, a beautiful prairie king. It was quite a way to end the year!

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Ratsnake Wrangling by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster (Prairie Kingsnake) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr



While there's still time to find a few things here this year (and this weekend looks exceptionally good!), I don't expect I'll have much more to add.


I kind of have to cut the post off now, as I'm exceeding the 100,000 character limit. I'll post a final note in the first post below.

User avatar
Soopaman
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Soopaman » December 12th, 2014, 6:27 pm

Final note and thanks:


I ended this year having herped 4 states: Texas, Colorado, Louisiana, and Mississippi (though Texas should count as four itself) and found over a thousand snakes (DOR included), a total of 63 species (and subspecies), and 21 lifers. This was by far my best year in my three years of serious herping. I'm eager to see what next year has in store for me, though I know I'm not going to top this, and certainly don't have the energy to do so. I'll be spending next year branching out to new areas, and focusing on calligaster from areas I haven't yet seen them. I plan to spend some more time out west, whether west Texas or Arizona, as well as north into perhaps Oklahoma/Arkansas and NW Texas. It'll likely be less day herping and more time spent away from Southeast Texas, sleeping under new stars.

Thanks again to all those I got out in the field with this year, and to all those that have become friends. I hope to get out with you folks again in 2015. Thanks to Scott W, John W, Tim W, Erik M, Shaun, Matt C, Sky S, Ashley T, Kris H, Diego O, Ryan C, Kenneth R, Todd B, Mike P, Marisa I, Chris M, and of course my good friends Armin and Brennan. I’m sure I’ve accidentally left someone out, and I’m sorry for doing so! You weren’t any less memorable than the rest! I appreciate y'all's time out with me this year and thanks for making it so memorable. I know we'll have to get together again in new scenery sometime in the future.

Until next time,
Kyle E.

Rman
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Rman » December 12th, 2014, 7:53 pm

Your post appears to have tripped a breaker in my house. What an incredible year you've had. I feel privileged to have experienced some of these great finds with you and I'm looking forward to our next successful trip. As always, the photography is terrific. The corn shot and that mud are treasure.

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The Real Snake Man
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by The Real Snake Man » December 12th, 2014, 8:43 pm

I can't even process the awesome. The trips to south and west Texas produced some cool finds, but to me, nothing beats the diversity of the specimens you found for just a few species close to home. You really made the stars of East Texas shine here, and I'm very, very impressed. Thanks for sharing. If I'm in town when you try again, we just may get that Drymobius. I had considerable luck finding them all summer.

-Gene

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Mark Brown
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Mark Brown » December 13th, 2014, 1:49 am

Man, what an epic post. How in the world did you manage to get those three Masticophis to sit side by side for a photograph? It's usually hard enough to get one to sit still (unless they're half frozen!).

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krismunk
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by krismunk » December 13th, 2014, 5:50 am

Very impressive :thumb:

I appreciate the effort that's gone into results like that in terms of field hours - this year and before.

Also, I'd like to echo Gene, while your road trip results are very nice your presentation of home turf steals the show - and makes me a little sad I didn't have time for a more dedicated herping effort in October.

I fully understand your fondness for that corn shot.

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chrish
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by chrish » December 13th, 2014, 6:20 am

Outstanding. That's quite a year of snakes.

Great find on the Arizona! I've only ever seen two in eastern TX and they were 20+ years apart.

Some of those LA Milks you found were amazing, but I can't call those island milks annulata. You need to get inland to find a real annulata.

John Williams
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by John Williams » December 13th, 2014, 6:37 am

Well done Kyle. Certainly gets a Texas herper excited for spring.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » December 13th, 2014, 7:51 am

Outstanding effort, myriad of species, and photography, Kyle! I'll be back some day...

NACairns
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by NACairns » December 13th, 2014, 8:17 am

What a post and year. Great diversity of habitat you covered and the photgraphy is outstanding. That Tamaulipan thornscrub looks like very cool habitat to herp in and the prencence of Drymarchon would only make it better. Nice to see that is possible to find snakes in the late winter.
Thanks for sharing.
Nick

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todd battey
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by todd battey » December 13th, 2014, 10:50 am

So many snakes and so many great shots of your finds and adventures. I really like your field guide compositions and your habitat shots. Great shots all around, especially the indigos, pygmies, speckled kings, and some of those coral snake shots are amazing. Oh, and the canebrake shots aren't to shabby.

It was great to join you to see some of those amazing E Texas snakes. Thanks for the help with that!

Cheers.

Barry R
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Barry R » December 13th, 2014, 12:20 pm

Awesome finds and pics, I'd say the Indigo is my favorite.

brennan
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by brennan » December 13th, 2014, 2:48 pm

Kyle, unreal post man! 63 species in one year! Glad we could get out some this year and I still think that large indigo was my favorite snake of my lifetime. Well done bud and looking foreword to next year.

Brennan

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walk-about
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by walk-about » December 14th, 2014, 1:08 am

Kyle!!!

I think I just died and went to Texas!!!! Holy reptile! If I come back in the 'next life' as a snake, I would be honored to be photographed by you. This post is beyond ridiculous! I think you have captured these moments in the field as well as anyone possibly could. So impressed. In the past, I have tried to single out photos of my personal 'favs' , but I just can't....there is just too much good here. And I will feast on this beast for days to come. Thanks for sharing sir.

Rock ON!

Dave

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Trey
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Trey » December 14th, 2014, 12:01 pm

One of my favorite posts in a long while! Well done sir.

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Muchobirdnerd
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Muchobirdnerd » December 14th, 2014, 1:35 pm

awesome!

sjohn
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by sjohn » December 15th, 2014, 12:01 pm

Great post..thanks

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Steve Barten
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Steve Barten » December 15th, 2014, 2:56 pm

Epic post, Kyle, not only in quantity but in quality. Great finds and better photography. Your composition and exposure are captivating, and the lack of shadows and glare on shiny king and milkshakes is outstanding. You must have used a soft box for your flash? You had great attention to detail in these images and it really paid off; this is one of the best posts of the year.
I can't imagine - no, I can imagine the hours you put into sorting and editing the images and writing the post. Thanks for making many of us thoroughly entertained and more than a little envious.

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Soopaman
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Soopaman » January 11th, 2015, 10:15 am

Thanks everyone for the kind words!

Rman wrote:Your post appears to have tripped a breaker in my house. What an incredible year you've had. I feel privileged to have experienced some of these great finds with you and I'm looking forward to our next successful trip. As always, the photography is terrific. The corn shot and that mud are treasure.

Thanks bud! Couldn't have done a lot of it without you! That next trip is just around the corner, can't wait!

The Real Snake Man wrote:I can't even process the awesome. The trips to south and west Texas produced some cool finds, but to me, nothing beats the diversity of the specimens you found for just a few species close to home. You really made the stars of East Texas shine here, and I'm very, very impressed. Thanks for sharing. If I'm in town when you try again, we just may get that Drymobius. I had considerable luck finding them all summer.

-Gene

Thanks, Gene. We may stop in during February, actually. We're doing some coastal island stuff on the 21st-23rd and may take a day to get down to the southern tip of Texas. Not exactly drymobius time (we're looking to see another big drymarchon then) but maybe we can connect down there.

Mark Brown wrote:Man, what an epic post. How in the world did you manage to get those three Masticophis to sit side by side for a photograph? It's usually hard enough to get one to sit still (unless they're half frozen!).

Thanks, Mark!

Coachwhips around here, and throughout much of their range (from what I know) are good at playing at dead after being grabbed. These snakes all did that after we apprehended them from the same board. When the played dead they were pretty easy to pose next to each other just using a stick to manipulate their heads! I think that shot was taken less than 5 min after we captured them.

krismunk wrote:Very impressive :thumb:

I appreciate the effort that's gone into results like that in terms of field hours - this year and before.

Also, I'd like to echo Gene, while your road trip results are very nice your presentation of home turf steals the show - and makes me a little sad I didn't have time for a more dedicated herping effort in October.

I fully understand your fondness for that corn shot.

Hey Kris, thanks for the kind words. I wish I was more available in October but I was pretty busy this fall and didn't really get out to herp much myself. If you come through again, pester me till you get a response, I'll make a point of us getting out. I always enjoy seeing out-of-town herpers.

brennan wrote:Kyle, unreal post man! 63 species in one year! Glad we could get out some this year and I still think that large indigo was my favorite snake of my lifetime. Well done bud and looking foreword to next year.

Brennan

You need to get out with us more! Armin and I certainly missed you on our many outings. We've got that trip in April and you're coming with us, even if we have to kidnap you!



Again, thanks for the kind words everyone! It was a great year, and I'm excited to see what 2015 brings.

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Soopaman
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Soopaman » January 11th, 2015, 10:30 am

I ended up going out once more in 2014. With winter blues overwhelming me, I took my girlfriend to east Texas and we looked for salamanders for a few hours. Happy to see my second every <i>maculatum</i> and some more marbled sals.
As well, we had a couple warm days right before Christmas, and while driving to work, I ended up road cruising a broad banded water snake in a suburban neighborhood. Last snake of the year!

Image
Ambystoma maculatum (Spotted Salamander) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Image
Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

Image
Ambystoma opacum (Marbled Salamander) by Kyle L.E., on Flickr

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MassHorridus
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by MassHorridus » January 12th, 2015, 4:13 pm

Awesome post Kyle. Thanks for everything this year. Well done all around.
My favorite pics are:
3 Stooges (3 whips)
Horridus Hatchlings
One mean looking Pigmy

Jimi
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Jimi » January 12th, 2015, 4:29 pm

Epic. Really inspiring. (I hope this doesn't end up being your best year of the decade! But it could. Epic.)

Say, did you notice or could you tell - on your trip to Colorado - if those mesquites were top-killed or kill-killed by drought or fire, or maybe herbicide? (A simple were they charred or not would do. Plus any thoughts you might have on the likelihood of drought doing that.) Those habitat shots interest me.

Also on your trip to CO - well done on the efficient research and then nailing your targets, in a place you'd never been. That's a great feeling.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Soopaman
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Soopaman » January 12th, 2015, 4:42 pm

MassHorridus wrote:Awesome post Kyle. Thanks for everything this year. Well done all around.
My favorite pics are:
3 Stooges (3 whips)
Horridus Hatchlings
One mean looking Pigmy
Hey man, it was great meeting you this year. I wish you could have gotten out with me that night when I was passing through up to CO, I think you would have liked the massassauga and calligaster that were found. Probably could have scored some more things staying out later.

Jimi wrote:Epic. Really inspiring. (I hope this doesn't end up being your best year of the decade! But it could. Epic.)

Say, did you notice or could you tell - on your trip to Colorado - if those mesquites were top-killed or kill-killed by drought or fire, or maybe herbicide? (A simple were they charred or not would do. Plus any thoughts you might have on the likelihood of drought doing that.) Those habitat shots interest me.

Also on your trip to CO - well done on the efficient research and then nailing your targets, in a place you'd never been. That's a great feeling.

Cheers,
Jimi
Thanks, Jimi, I'm hoping to top it this year, but I'll be focusing on certain species instead of going for the variety. We'll see what happens, I may have to make two posts just to fit it all in when this December comes around!

Yes, it was a very satisfying experience, and one I hope to repeat again and again this year. As far as the mesquite trees go, I know they were not killed by fire, as no charring was visible throughout the area. I will be back there in April, so if there's some specific things you want me to look for regarding the mesquite trees, let me know and I can collect that data for you.

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Mike Pingleton
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Mike Pingleton » January 12th, 2015, 8:17 pm

Thunderation!

What else can I say?

I miss that S. TX thornscrub.

Is there anything better than a Texas Speckled King? Son of a gun.

I challenge anyone to show me a prior picture of three coachwhips sitting pretty in a row like that. Holy cow.

thanks for taking an entire week to put this thing together, and it was great to meet you out in west TX!

-Mike

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Eric East
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Eric East » January 13th, 2015, 3:29 pm

Very nice!

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Roki
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Roki » January 14th, 2015, 8:14 am

Awesome post. Great year of finding snakes. Seems you have had a full year. Some great shots in there. I really enjoy all the Texas coral snake shots.

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Mulebrother
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by Mulebrother » January 16th, 2015, 5:31 pm

Just awesome man, just awesome!

cherper
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Re: Exploring Texas 2014: An East Texan forges new Trails (E

Post by cherper » January 16th, 2015, 8:14 pm

If I wasn't already heading to South Texas next month I would be now!!! Great post of some awesome animals! Thanks for sharing!

Cary

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