First Half of 2015- part 2

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bgorum
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First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by bgorum »

Welcome back for part 2 of the first half of 2015. (Part 1 is here- http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=22182). I got an offer I could’t refuse from my brother to join him and his family and stay for free at there timeshare in north-eastern Oklahoma where I have family I haven't seen in 20 years. Ostensibly the trip was to visit family, but all us herpers know that if there are herps to be found, we’re going to squeeze in some time to find them. I have fond memories of this area from when I was a kid. Walking the dirt roads near my grandparents farm and flipping pieces of limestone that had been pushed to the side of the road where I’d find Speckled Kingsnakes, Black Ratsnakes, Coal Skinks, Glass Lizards, and Green Snakes up in the bushes. I also remember finding tons of turtles, Ornate and three-toed Box, Snapping, Map, tons of Red-ears, and Stinkpots. I remember walking along the shore of Grand Lake while my parents fished, finding tons of water snakes, and always hoping for a cottonmouth. So I was psyched to go!

I hate long drives so I decided to make the trip in 2 days, spending an afternoon, night, and morning at the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge, which was about 2/3 of the way to my final destination.

ImageGorum_150530_1575 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
The first thing I came to realize there was just how ugly the Collared Lizards are in most parts of New Mexico. This is a freakin’ female and its got more green than any male I’ve ever seen in New Mexico.

ImageGorum_150530_1580 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
“Dame un beso mama”

ImageGorum_150530_1744 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
I loved watching the Prairie Dogs

ImageGorum_150530_1754 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1810 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Dirty little fella.

ImageGorum_150530_1828 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1829 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
This poor little guy had a nasty gash over the eye and seemed really listless.

ImageGorum_150530_1840 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Barking out a warning

ImageGorum_150530_1892 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
This male Collared Lizard would blow away any male from back home, and this is not even close to being exceptional for the Wichita Mountains!

ImageGorum_150530_1901 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Love the yellow heads and throats on these guys!

ImageGorum_150530_1906 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
There were tons of wildflowers, in this case Indian Blanket. I wish I had more time there so I could work on some serious landscape photos, as well as more wildlife.

ImageGorum_150530_1907 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1910 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Getting nicer.

ImageGorum_150530_1913 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1914 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Wild Onions and Coreopsis.

ImageGorum_150530_1925 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Now this is a Collared Lizard! (Apparently with an itch).

ImageGorum_150530_1939 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1944 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1950 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1955 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
I like the missing scales on the throat. No doubt lost in a fight with another male.

ImageGorum_150530_1959 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_1975 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
More Wild onions.

ImageGorum_150530_1980 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Turkey hen.

ImageGorum_150530_1991 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Tarantula

ImageGorum_150530_2019 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Male Bison herding a female

ImageGorum_150530_2035 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Getting a little personal!

ImageGorum_150530_2040 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Guess thats what she thinks of him!

ImageGorum_150530_2050 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Bison Bull

ImageGorum_150530_2081 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Bison cow. (Ain’t she purdy)!

ImageGorum_150530_2084 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Wichita Mountains NWR also has Texas longhorn cattle. Not exactly wildlife, but pretty cool for cows!

ImageGorum_150530_2086 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Mama and calf.

ImageGorum_150530_2087 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150530_2102 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Big nasty lookin’ bull!

ImageGorum_150530_2110 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Downy Paintbrush

ImageGorum_150530_2114 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
That night I heard anurans calling from one of the lakes and attempted to photograph them. No less than 4 species made a fool of me and I came away wet and cold, but with no pictures. In fact, I never even saw a frog! As I was driving out though I got my consolation prize. A lifer Small-mouth Salamander.

ImageGorum_150531_2125 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Bison Bull the next morning

ImageGorum_150531_2135 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Grazing in the mist.

ImageGorum_150531_2158 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
I can’t believe our fore fathers thought it was a good idea to wipe these majestic animals off of the plains and replace them with idiotic cows!

ImageGorum_150531_2168 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Bison calf

ImageGorum_150531_2185 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Bison cow

ImageGorum_150531_2193 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150531_2196 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150531_2239 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Breakfast

ImageGorum_150531_2241 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Young Prairie Dog

ImageGorum_150531_2248 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150531_2262 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150531_2267 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Yummy grass!

ImageGorum_150531_2279 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Burrow mending

ImageGorum_150531_2282 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150531_2307 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
The little one with the gash over the eye was looking and acting much better this morning!

ImageGorum_150531_2332 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
These guys spend a lot of time eating!

ImageGorum_150531_2347 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Lark Sparrow

ImageGorum_150531_2359_60_61 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
I’m definitely going back and for a longer stay next time.

The that afternoon I arrived at my final destination and after spending a day doing non herper stuff, (I even went to a Casino, won $16). I was ready to hike. I visited the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Joplin, Missouri the next morning.

ImageGorum_150602_2362 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Walking the trails there I found this Eastern Cottontail

ImageGorum_150602_2379 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
A very uncooperative Eastern Musk Turtle.

ImageGorum_150602_2385 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Another Cottontail

ImageGorum_150602_2396 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Lots of basking Northern Map Turtles

ImageGorum_150602_2398 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
A young racerunner racing!

ImageGorum_150602_2407 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
And still

ImageGorum_150602_2408 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
That night my cousin, who also likes herps, took me road cruising. We found a chorus of American Toads.

ImageGorum_150602_2412 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
A Brown Snake

ImageGorum_150602_2413 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Juvenile Western Ratsnake

ImageGorum_150603_2419 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Green Frog

We also cruised a beautiful adult Copperhead, but it got of the road before I was able to get any pictures. (Neither of us had brought a hook along). The next morning my cousin took me out to some private property he has access to. The owner informed us that he had Timber Rattlesnakes on the property and gave us directions to a hillside where he most often sees them.

ImageGorum_150603_2425 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
On the way we found this Western Ratsnake in the road.

ImageGorum_150603_2427 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
We searched the hillside, but found no Timbers. As a consolation however I did get this Dark-sided Salamander, (a lifer).

ImageGorum_150603_2429 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
My hat is off to the people on this forum that can take interesting pictures of salamanders. You guys/girls have a lot more patience than I do!

ImageGorum_150603_2431 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
On another part of the property I found this juvenile Osage Copperhead.

ImageGorum_150603_2435 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150603_2438 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150603_2442 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Juvenile Five-lined Skink

ImageGorum_150603_2456 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
This was one of those lucky incidents you don’t plan for. I had collected this Ornate Box Turtle on a road earlier, with plans to photograph it later. I put it down in a likely looking spot and waited behind the camera. Usually with turtles what happens in this situation is you watch them for a long, long time. Then if you’re lucky you get one shot of the turtle with its head and legs out before it turns 180 degrees and walks away.

ImageGorum_150603_2472 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
In this case though I just happened to place the turtle down next to an earthworm.

ImageGorum_150603_2474 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
The turtle was more interested in eating the earthworm than it was in fleeing!

ImageGorum_150603_2490 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
All gone! (The turtle was released where found afterwards).

ImageGorum_150603_2528 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Three-toed Box Turtle also collected on a road and photographed later.

ImageGorum_150603_2552 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Snapping Turtle out looking for a place to lay eggs.

ImageGorum_150603_2560 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Unfortunately it was getting dark when I found her and I had to resort to using flash. I really preferred the available light, like in the previous shot, but the shutter speed was way to slow to stop even the slightest movement.

ImageGorum_150603_2564 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
See what I mean about the whole turning 180 degrees and walking away thing? I never did get the shot I wanted of her. (Pretty nasty looking leach on her hind leg though).

ImageGorum_150603_2567 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Look girls, I can sing and balance a stick on my head at the same time!

ImageGorum_150603_2570 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Calling Gray Treefrog

ImageGorum_150603_2579 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Calling American Toad

ImageGorum_150604_2580_1_2 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area.

ImageGorum_150604_2589 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
One of two Ringneck Snakes I flipped there. Neither one seemed very inclined to do the whole tail-coiling display.

ImageGorum_150604_2592_3_4 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Spavinaw again

ImageGorum_150604_2601 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Prairie Kingsnake I road cruised one night on my way back to the hotel.

ImageGorum_150604_2608 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150605_2616 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Southern Leopard Frog hiding in the undergrowth. (As they so often do).

ImageGorum_150605_2618 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_150605_2622 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
White-tail doe

ImageGorum_150605_2633 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Flagging

ImageGorum_150605_2640 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Grey Treefrog

ImageGorum_150605_2643 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
American Toad

ImageGorum_150605_2647 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Blanchard’s Cricket Frog. There were also Leopard Frogs calling in this chorus and what I believe to be Great Plains Narrow-mouth Toads, but I was never able to get a visual on them.

ImageGorum_150611_2655 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Back in New Mexico on June 11th and I went looking for Rock Rattlesnakes with Neil M. The first one we found was a male, soon to shed unfortunately.

ImageGorum_150611_2660 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Neil turned up an opaque Black-tail. As I was making my way across the hillside to where Neil was I found another Black-tail basking at the edge of a boulder. I left it alone, figuring we would return to it after looking at Neil’s snake, but on the way back I couldn’t find the boulder again!

ImageGorum_150611_2670 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
As we were making our way back down the canyon I got buzzed by this little female. As we were digging her out we realized there were actually 2 within a couple meters of one another. The second one was also a female, larger and opaque. I didn’t take any pictures of her, but she had a lot of pink pigment.

ImageGorum_150611_2675 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Driving out we saw this earless lizard perched up on a rock

ImageGorum_150611_2688 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Neil wanted to cruise for Transpecos Ratsnakes that night, so we drove down to the ara where we could do that. We still had daylight to burn, so we did a little hiking where I photographed this Tree Lizard.

ImageGorum_150611_2693 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
We got skunked on subocs, but ended up with something much better. A Texas Lyre Snake!

ImageGorum_150611_2695 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
We also got a Blind Snake, a Hook-nose Snake, Night Snake, Diamond-back, and Prairie Rattlesnake, but I didn’t bother to photograph any of them.

ImageGorum_150615_2707 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
Last night I did a little local road cruising. I missed a Massasauga because I was munching popcorn and didn’t have my camera ready, but I did manage to get a shot of this Banner-tailed Kangaroo Rat being buffeted by the wind.

ImageGorum_150615_2709 by Bill Gorum, on Flickr
And this Long-nosed Snake.

Hey thanks for hanging in there!

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Kent VanSooy
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by Kent VanSooy »

Ah, nothing like finding a pair of delicious posts like that at the beginning of my lunch hour, providing a leisurely feast for the eyes! I really appreciate the bird and mammal shots (and of course the curvaceous girls cottonwoods). The sequence with the box turtle is super cool, the texas lyre is gorgeous, and I too very much like the atrox at sunset above the lights of the city. Thanks for taking the time Bill, it's appreciated !!

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John Martin
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by John Martin »

^^^^ What he said! Beautiful photography Bill, and I'm especially impressed with the Texas Lyre Snake. I had to look up a distribution map for that one - I didn't realize their range went right up into the SW quadrant of your state :thumb: . For some reason I thought they were restricted to Texas...

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mfb
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by mfb »

Great stuff! Really enjoyed all the prairie dog shots in addition to the herps.

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mtratcliffe
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by mtratcliffe »

Great photos, Bill - thanks for sharing! It's good to see some pics from the Wichita Mountains. I hiked there a little over three years ago before I was into herping, but it was a beautiful place. I recall hearing what I now know are Strecker's Chorus Frogs calling mid-day on a warm January day.

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TravisK
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by TravisK »

There are some great fauna and landscape shots in there. Good work.

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nhherp
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by nhherp »

As always a stunning photo-log of another years beginning !!
I was happy to see you did not get rained out in OK. Envy on the lyre.

-N-

Knormal
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by Knormal »

Gorgeous collareds, they're one of my favorites. I guess I'll have to add Oklahoma to my list of places to check out.

Are those bison wild, or livestock?

bgorum
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by bgorum »

Knormal wrote:Gorgeous collareds, they're one of my favorites. I guess I'll have to add Oklahoma to my list of places to check out.

Are those bison wild, or livestock?
As far as I know the Bison herd roams the refuge freely. I do not know if they are allowed to leave the refuge, or how much management of the heard the refuge provides. Its a pretty cool experience regardless. There are no fences between you and the Bison!

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Antonsrkn
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by Antonsrkn »

Excellent post, always enjoy your photography. Thats a part of the USA which I have never had the pleasure of herping, I need to make it out there someday. Thanks for sharing!

NACairns
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by NACairns »

I always look forward to your posts, the content, info and photography is top notch. This one made me miss the prairies, sitting and watching the activity on a p-dog down is one of my favourite ways to pass time. The yellow on those collared lizards in really outstanding. Also really like that box turtle series and the banner-tail. Do you often see them out on windy nights? The Ord's seem to be really finiky about the conditions they are active in and I would think wind would mess with their hearing and they would forgo feeding for safety's sake.
Great stuff as always,
Nick

bgorum
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by bgorum »

NACairns wrote:I always look forward to your posts, the content, info and photography is top notch. This one made me miss the prairies, sitting and watching the activity on a p-dog down is one of my favourite ways to pass time. The yellow on those collared lizards in really outstanding. Also really like that box turtle series and the banner-tail. Do you often see them out on windy nights? The Ord's seem to be really finiky about the conditions they are active in and I would think wind would mess with their hearing and they would forgo feeding for safety's sake.
Great stuff as always,
Nick
For what its worth, the night I photographed the banner-tail was very windy and there were lots of k-rats out. Not just banner-tails, but the smaller Ord's/Merriam's as well.

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Carl Brune
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by Carl Brune »

Very nice post. I liked all of it, especially the collared lizards.

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LouB747
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by LouB747 »

Great pictures. Amazing collared lizard shots.

Y.Morgan
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Re: First Half of 2015- part 2

Post by Y.Morgan »

That one collared lizard is absolutely ridiculous! Love the prairie dog pics, too - always had a soft spot for them.
Thanks,
York

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