Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

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AndyO'Connor
Posts: 1019
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:14 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by AndyO'Connor » May 30th, 2015, 4:36 pm

It's been a while since I've posted a field write-up for a big trip, and there are definitely a few trips since my last post that are deserving of a report, but here we go!
Tim Warfel hit me up late last year about doing a big trip to the Mojave and surrounding areas to see what we could see. I knew it would be a big area when his target species list included all three shovelnose snake subspecies in California, zonata from a few different ranges, northern AND southern rubber boas, and various other reptiles that don't live in very close proximity to each other. But Tim's species list and ideas usually are as epic as the company he keeps, and I knew with the group that planned on going that we would do well. I had second doubts when the massive cold fronts from the northwest and California coast collided in the southwest and cause 2 weeks of temperatures about 25 below the average, as well as cloud cover and frequent precipitation. Mack and I flew into Vegas and had a day to look around while waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. We picked up Erik McCormick the next day, and Mike Pingleton, Tim W, his son Josh, and Matt Cage showed up that night. With that all as the setup, here are a bulk of the pictures I took with my dslr.

Blooming willows brought out hummingbirds in force.

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I found this pile of poo, fur, and a rabbit leg amidst some large cat foot prints.

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Our first morning was spent in southern Nevada at a favorite destination for many herpers.

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While jumping around boulder piles, I found some whiptails courting, and snapped a few voyeuristic shots

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I found a sideblotch hanging out in front of a hole, maybe waiting for a girly friend.

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We found a junk pile, and while I was answering nature's call, Mack flipped a couple of snakes. A night snake, and a southestern speckled rattlesnake.
night snake

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speck in situ
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While looking for ruddockii and legless lizards, we were almost chased off by a local with a shotgun, but continued our search and found a couple of pacific gopher snakes, northern pacific rattlesnakes and legless lizards.

gopher
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norpac
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legless (can't remember, but we found two different species)
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A slow night of roadcruising produced a couple gems (EVERY night was a slow night with temps rarely reaching 80)

gecko
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night
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glossy
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leafnose
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We then headed into the mountains for a day of southern rubber boa and zonata searching.

boa
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z
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With our close proximity to the southern desert regions, we decided to start our shovelnose quest. a night hike and some road cruising produced a few cool critters

leaf toed gecko
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granite night lizard
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a colorado desert shovelnose lacking red
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a longnose snake (mostly) lacking red
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a regular colorado shovelnose
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a striped slug
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We moved onto other pastures (not really green, pretty dry) and I flipped this little guy

blackheaded snake
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a two striped garter showed up
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southern pacific rattlesnake
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a southwestern blind snake
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Mack found a goofy kingsnake. Apparently a "highway" morph, and some people were REALLY excited.
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We spent another day around San Diego and turned up a couple more local desert denizens

san diego night snake
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san diego banded gecko
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I took these two shots from the passenger seat through the driver side window while traveling 35 mph on a bumpy gravel road, so sorry if they aren't award winning, but I liked them.

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We went up into another mountain range looking for zs. We found a baby dwarf northern rubber boa that I forgot to photograph, and these salamanders that are pretty cool I guess.

a slender of robust proportion
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an ensatina that is probably a yellow blotch x sierra nevada intergrade, or maybe a pure yellow blotch. I think DNA is still pending on the locality.

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We returned to the desert to continue our search for Chionactis.

a sidewinder
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glossy
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a chuckwalla in a crack
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a baby winder out during the day
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a male longnose leopard in situ
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a female longnose leopard in situ
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a panamint rattlesnake in situ
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burros
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Mike taking a load off
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Nevada shovelnose snake
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a large ground snake from Nevada
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a coachwhip
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several speckled rattlesnakes turned up
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Nevada atrox
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A mojave from the mojave
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and our third shovelnose showed up in the 11th hour
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a dark leopard lizard early in the morning just after coming out of its hole
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a freshly hit, large, live but probably mortally wounded ground snake showed up in a locality I hadn't seen them in before, and out of frustration, I gave up driving to my next destination until we flipped a live, healthy one. it only took about 15 minutes.
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Before we could go home, a lizard lassoing lesson was in order, so stop at an iguana rich area was the answer.
The master
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the kid's a natural
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That's MY boy
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That's it. We went home, the temps returned to normal, and I am sure there is some really good road cruising conditions in southern Nevada and California right now. The weird weather probably aided us in finding the ground snakes, Tantilla, blind snake (probably the biggest surprise of the trip) and definitely made finding some of the more common desert snakes a challenge. Thanks to all mis amigos, I will see some of you soon!

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Carl Brune
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Re: Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by Carl Brune » May 31st, 2015, 12:43 am

Nice report. I like seeing all the lizards. The ground snakes and panamint coiled in the sand also stood out for me.

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Fieldherper
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:46 am

Re: Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by Fieldherper » May 31st, 2015, 5:22 am

Very nice!! Cool goal to get all of the Chionactis.

Those ground snakes are lookers!! I found one in the Clark Mtns on CA/NV line several years ago that looked identical to the banded Sonora. They are underrated snakes.

The weather was really wacky this Spring and challenged any previously planned herp trip in May, which is usually fairly stable in the Southwest.

Good stuff!!

FH

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Adam Cooner
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 2:50 pm
Location: Calera, AL

Re: Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by Adam Cooner » June 1st, 2015, 2:09 pm

Awesome post, Andy!

MCHerper
Posts: 443
Joined: September 22nd, 2012, 5:13 pm

Re: Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by MCHerper » June 2nd, 2015, 5:08 am

Awesome finds and great pictures!

double d
Posts: 50
Joined: December 27th, 2012, 5:46 pm
Location: lakeland, florida

Re: Mojave and beyond (pic heavy)

Post by double d » June 2nd, 2015, 3:26 pm

Thats my kind of fishing for sure!! Great post , awesome trip !

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