It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and MX)

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Chad M. Lane
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It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and MX)

Post by Chad M. Lane » December 28th, 2016, 3:31 pm

I ended this year with 22 lifers 11 in California, after taking some herping time off in 2014 and 2015 with only getting a handful of times which only resulted in 1 California lifer from 2013-2015. I had a successful year this year, I am so glad and happy to be back at doing what I love so much. It's bitter sweet, love being able to go out, but distraught I'm unable to do any of it with my best friend Sean who past away in October of 2015. I'll spare you my photos from 2014/15, however they are on my Flickr account in albums.
On a higher note I'm looking forward to 2017, time to finish off Northern California, and reaching other goals like finishing off the genus of Crotalus and Thamnophis in the state, and getting out with some fantastic herpers coming to visit. I want to thank everyone who I met up with this year new and old friends. Side note I miss the old forum days, rather than Facebook where posts are lost within hours of being posted, and the difficulty in search archives.

Note: Photography and content will get progressively better.

This year I started off late with a Western Yellow Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon).
ImageWestern Yellow-Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Beautiful view on my failed attempt at locating Southern Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum) in April.
ImageScenic view in the Sierra Nevada. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

On my way down I turned up a few familiar faces. California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae).
ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus).
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Greater Brown Skink (Plestiodon gilberti gilberti).
ImageGreater Brown Skink (Plestiodon gilberti gilberti) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A few poor photos of a California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata).
ImageCalifornia Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Chaparral Whipsnake (Coluber lateralis lateralis)
ImageChaparral Whipsnake (Coluber lateralis lateralis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

I was able to visit an area where I had not visited for 10 years, here's a few of that days finds.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Sierra Nevada Ensatina - (Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis)
ImageSierra Nevada Ensatina - (Ensatina eschscholtzii platensis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multicincta)
ImageCalifornia Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multicincta) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata multicincta) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A interesting Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) from the Diablo range.
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis)
ImageWestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Had a fun trip with Ben and Amy in the Merced River drainage.
Greater Brown Skink (Plestiodon gilberti gilberti)
ImageGreater Brown Skink (Plestiodon gilberti gilberti) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Chaparral Whipsnake (Coluber lateralis lateralis) that I night flipped next to the river.
ImageChaparral Whipsnake (Coluber lateralis lateralis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageUntitled by Chad Lane, on Flickr

We drove up the hill to look into a faithful crack that didn't disappoint.
California Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata)
ImageCalifornia Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A coastal Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) from a solo trip.
ImageRubber Boa (Charina bottae) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Myke, and Devon wanted to find some Targets up north on their rocket run trip together.

California Alligator Lizard - (Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata)
ImageCalifornia Alligator Lizard - (Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Alligator Lizard - Elgaria multicarinata multicarinata by Chad Lane, on Flickr

San Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) A poor photo.
ImageSan Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)
ImageRubber Boa (Charina bottae) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageRubber Boa (Charina bottae) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

California Red-Sided Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis)
ImageCalifornia Red-Sided Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis infernalis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Having an itch to find some Hydromantes, I headed up earlier than I had ever gone before in previous years, which resulted in finding 22 neonates and juveniles, and was able to observe one eating some kind of invertebrate.

Mt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus)
ImageMt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageMt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageMt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

As road cruising season was upon us, and while I've been doing less of it, it's sometime the easiest way to find some species. Many people know I'm sort of a county/locale nut, I enjoy finding the same species in different areas. I hadn't be able to find this species in my home County of San Joaquin, California. I looked at the conditions and said it would be perfect for them, and turned up 2 that evening.

Western Black-headed Snake (Tantilla planiceps)
ImageWestern Black-headed Snake (Tantilla planiceps) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageWestern Black-headed Snake (Tantilla planiceps) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

California Common scorpion (Paruroctonus silvestrii)
ImageCalifornia Common scorpion (Paruroctonus silvestrii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

California Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans occidentalis)
ImageCalifornia Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans occidentalis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mid year I joined up with a few out of staters, and Socal guys for an outing up here, I was focused on finding them lifers, and only took these two photos.
Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus by Chad Lane, on Flickr

California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)
ImageCalifornia Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

"Defeating the elements."
A nemesis defeated, after several failed attempts at locating a Great Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus lutosus) in California, I was rewarded with my lifer.
The Eastern Sierra Nevada, and Eastern California has given myself a challenge. Every trip has either ended early, or simply slim pickings due to weather either it be a massive rainstorms, thunderstorms, or dramatic sudden cold spell sweeping the area. This trip was absolutely no exception, while this area may very well hate me, it's an intriguing area that I'm enjoying and planning on returning often.
A friend had told me a new area to check out for C. lutosus, upon arriving to the location, I was unable to locate any of the features associated with C. lutosus, having a second goal of the trip. Wandering Gartersnakes (Thamnophis vagrans) I headed towards another locale in search of them. With it being a holiday weekend, and having the winds pick up with scattering rainstorms coming in. I was also unable to turn one up.
I then headed to an area where I had been to various time in search for C.lutosus, the rains hit on my trek towards my destination. Passing some grey volcanic rock, I noticed it was it bit paler than I had previously recalled knocking it off as not noticing. Upon arriving to an area I had scouted, I discovered the true reason why the rocky mountain side was "paler" than I had recalled. There was 1.5-3" of hail pockets everywhere, and the temperatures had dropped 20F.
I parked my truck, and started hiking towards where I thought I had scouted on previous trips, regardless that my optimism had disappeared due to the hail and temperature drop. I shortly found that I wasn't at where I had previously scouted, feeling defeated and enthusiasm nearly dissipated, I drove further up the road, and spotted the location I intended to visit. Getting out of my truck I immediately noticed it was 10-15F warmer here, less hail pockets as well. While checking some cracks I seen Desert Striped Whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus) and C. lutosus sheds, I slowly lifted two rock, hoping a young of either species was stuck out underneath one of them. Both rocks were vacant, as I stood back up, 3' in front of me, my lifer Crotalus lutosus was half stretched out, coming from a crack.
My first California lifer in years.
ImageCrotalus lutosus by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageGreat Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus lutosus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageGreat Basin Rattlesnake (Crotalus lutosus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Sierra Gartersnake (Thamnophis couchii) as found 20-24" above the ground.
ImageThamnophis couchii in-situ. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageThamnophis couchii in-situ by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans)
ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Sierra Gartersnake (Thamnophis couchii)
ImageSierra Gartersnake (Thamnophis couchii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSierra Gartersnake (Thamnophis couchii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus)
ImageWestern Toad (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Owens Web-Toed Salamander (Hydromantes sp.) Lifer.
Inyo County, California. Four years ago I took my first trip to Inyo County with many goals, I was forced to leave early due to not feeling good. Before I had left, I had visited the area where these come from. I walked into the Canyon a little ways, stopped to take a break, and decided to leave as I wasn't feeling so hot, where I had stopped turned out to be exactly where they were found! Only took me 4 years to go back, and turned up three total with relative ease. Among other finds this trip. (I didn't feel like editing it, I actually combined two Inyo/Mono county trips together).

ImageOwens Web-Toed Salamander (Hydromantes sp.) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Great Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola)
ImageGreat Basin Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer deserticola) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola)

ImageDesert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Gave it some water.
ImageDesert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageDesert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)
ImageGreat Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Desert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus)
ImageDesert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Variable Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata) Lifer.
ImageVariable Ground Snake (Sonora semiannulata) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) Lifer.
Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi)
ImagePanamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImagePanamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImagePanamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImagePanamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Long-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii)
ImageLong-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Yellow-Backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus uniformis)
ImageYellow-Backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus uniformis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) juvenile.
ImagePanamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Desert Striped Whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus taeniatus) Lifer.
ImageDesert Striped Whipsnake (Coluber taeniatus taeniatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans) From a short day trip for Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila)
ImageWestern Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila)
ImageUntitled by Chad Lane, on Flickr

One of my favorite photos of them this year.
ImageBlunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A cute little Coastal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii).
ImageCoastal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) pair, from the same hike. The female with the yellowish markings on the head, is the same female posted earlier after she's warmed up, we nicknamed her "lutosus lookalike" due to some interesting markings, sadly a friend found her dead (infectied ovium) a few weeks after these photos were taken, he lives close by, and observed this beloved young female for 2 years.
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) pair. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) pair. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus). In-situ. Tuolumne County, California, 5600'.

In the Sierra Nevada to check out a small den, that I had not checked during spring. At most I've only seen 3 adults at a single time, occupied with 2 neonates. I'm sure more than three adults use this den, it's not a big den, and I suspect roughly less than 10 adults use it. This is an animal I observed first in 2010.

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) tracks at the entrance of the den site.
ImageGuess the tracks? by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Can you find the snake? In-situ. Answer below.
Imagein-situ where? by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Coast Range Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii)
ImageCoast Range Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon)
ImageYellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageYellow Bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Close up with self portrait.
Image"Double portrait" Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

San Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) The answered to "Find the snake above".
Visiting a common walking trail one afternoon, a few of us were able to observe 15-18 individuals, at one point I sat down on the trail, and watched 5 or so individuals forage, bask, and even witnessed some frisky behavior of a male. These time of observations are what I cherish and enjoy significantly in the field, just enjoying nature with the least amount of interaction outside photography as possible.

ImageSan Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSan Francisco Gartersnake (Thamnphis sirtalis tetrataenia) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra)
ImageNorthern California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Doing what they do best...
ImageNorthern California Legless Lizard (Anniella pulchra) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus) On a short day trip, a poor photo, however the only one of that day.
ImageMt Lyell Salamander (Hydromantes platycephalus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

In September I took my first trip out to Texas, Mexico and Arizona. While definitely not the most productive trip I've trip I've had, it came with new friends, new places, and new experiences! Most of all some great times and memories made! Every time I visit the southwest I fall deeper and deeper in love with the land (regardless how it potentially feels about me!) and the people. I couldn't have asked for better company on this trip, I hope to be able to make it out more often these next couple of years.
I want to thank Evan Arambul, Doug Duerre, Noah Fields, and special thank you to Kyle Vargas and Sarah Gartland.
If it wasn't for Kyle this trip wouldn't have been possible I want to thank him for putting up with me this last week. I really appreciate it and can't wait to do it again. Thank you man!
Here are some finds from the trip. I'll start out with one of my favorite photos of the trip, of my lifer Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis).
ImagePrairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Trans-Pecos Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster) Lifer.
ImageTrans-Pecos Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageTrans-Pecos Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix pictigaster) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Prairie Ratsnake (Pantherophis emoryi) Lifer.
ImagePrairie Ratsnake (Pantherophis emoryi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Bairds Ratsnake (Pantherophis (Elaphe) bairdi) Lifer.
ImageBairds Ratsnake (Pantherophis (Elaphe) bairdi) Lifer. TX. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii) Lifer.
ImageCouch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii) Lifer TX by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Prairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus virdis)
ImagePrairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus virdis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImagePrairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus virdis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImagePrairie Rattlesnake (Crotalus virdis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mexican Hognose Snake (Heterodon kennerlyi)
ImageMexican Hognose Snake (Heterodon kennerlyi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageMexican Hognose Snake (Heterodon kennerlyi) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mexico kicked our asses... here's my only three photos I kept from my SLR photos.
Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus ) Sonora Mexico, Lifer
ImageStriped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus ) Sonora Mexico, Lifer by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageStriped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus ) Sonora Mexico, Lifer by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mexican Pine Snake (Pituophis deppei deppei) Sonora Mexico. Lifer.
ImageMexican Pine Snake (Pituophis deppei deppei) Sonora Mexico. Lifer. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Arizona finds.
Twin Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) Lifer.
ImageTwin Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageTwin-Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageTwin-Spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Sonora Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus)
ImageSonora Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSonora Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Reflections of myself, and friend Sarah Gartland.
ImageReflections Sonoran Whipsnake (Coluber bilineatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus)
ImageOrnate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

I did a short jaunt to visit two dens in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, one of which I had not visited in some years, (pictured below). I observed a pair, including a female I've seen for over a decade, and the male the last 6+/- years. It seems this pair had not moved since early spring. A neat photo showing how cryptic their camouflage can be.
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Crotalus oreganus den site, some of the den sites in this area have fascinating rock formations such as this one which is known as "Tombstone" rock of bladed slate and phyllite. Along with oak woodland Blue Oak (Quercus doughlasii) is endemic to California.
The land is many of times as interesting as the animals themselves that we enjoy and love.
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) Den site. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

This series is from a different den site from a separate day.
"Unobscured."
As I walked towards a den, I merely glanced though some thick brush and towards the base of a tree was a basking Crotalus oreganus that seemingly forgot how to camouflage properly. It was so thick this was the only photo I could capture.
ImageUnobscured. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) in-situ. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis)
ImageNorthwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis occidentalis) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus)
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) in-situ. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans)
ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

On another day I was able to capture this time-lapse footage of a Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus). Which was my last C. oreganus photo/video of the year, a female I've been watching since 2010. Although I have a lot of other plans next year, I hope to make time to visit this den at least a few times throughout the year. Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.
https://youtu.be/6TP7ve7ueu8


Still.
ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) basking in-situ. by Chad Lane, on Flickr


A few off topic photos from my day.
"Simplicity."
ImageSimplicity. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A beautiful end to my day before my drive home.
Evening light though the pines.
ImageEvening light in the Pines. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Upon the first rains in October, I headed out to get some much needed Mander therapy. Walking through the forest you hear nature without human interference, Squirrels running around, song birds singing, deer grazing in the meadow on the forest edge. You can hear the water running through the river, the wind whispering quietly. These are what one would expect to experience, but upon the evening after dark on the forest floor awakes the lesser-known and misunderstood. The forest floor is teeming with life after nightfall if you look closely you can observe the wonders of the forest floor.
Small mammals abound, frogs calling, crickets chirping, and if you look close enough on the forest floor you can find Salamanders, searching for food in the dark of the night.
I'm swiftly becoming a fan of walking Amphibians at night and observing.
Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris)
ImageArboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) In-situ. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) x Yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica)
ImageOregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) x Yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageOregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) x Yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A beautiful moonlit evening to end the night.
ImageA moonlit evening. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Towards the end of October I did a rocket run literally whole day trip. Although not all species were photographed it was a great day with great friends. Taricha rivularis (lifer), Taricha granulosa, Taricha torosa, Rana boylii, Aneides flavipunctatus, and Gambliea sila in a single day, life is great.

Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) This years Blunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambeila sila) let me approach within 6' of him for roughly and hour while I snapped away, the most forgiving sila I've ever encountered.
ImageBlunt-nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageBlunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageBlunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageBlunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageBlunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard (Gambelia sila) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

On my way up North from looking for Gambelia I spotted this Road Runner and was able to nab my first photo of one.
ImageRoad Runner by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Speckled Black (Aneides flavipunctatus) This A. flavipunctatus was doing it's best yet poorly in doing so, A. lugubris impression. As spotted in-situ.
ImageSpeckled Black (Aneides flavipunctatus) in-situ by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black (Aneides flavipunctatus) attemping to be an Arboreal Salamander. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus) Mendocino County, California. in-situ by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black (Aneides flavipunctatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Red-bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) Lifer.
ImageRed-bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) Lifer by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Needing some more Hydromantes in my life I went out to find Limestone Salamander (Hydromantes brunus). Not used to turning VC(VR) off on my new lens, so a few of my recent wide angles I used a Tripod without turning the VC off, which resulted in less than tack sharp images, however since the images have great memories from the animal to the people I was with, I decided to post a few of them regardless. This image the animal is particularly soft.

ImageLimestone Salamander (Hydromantes brunus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

An unexpected but not unsurprising find. Valley Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis fitch)
ImageValley Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis fitch) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

A failed trip results in the itch to do some photography, I Believe Convergent Ladybird Beetle (Hippodamia convergens) in winter aggregation.
ImageI Believe Convergent Ladybird Beetle (Hippodamia convergens) in winter aggregation. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Unknown Jumping Spider species.
ImageJumping Spider unknown sp. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

My wife rarely opts to come out with me, one evening I mentioned I was thinking of doing a short night hike for a few things and I was going to being one of our dogs with me, and she said she'd join.
Yellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) from the Sierra Nevada.
ImageYellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageYellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageYellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) from the Sierra Nevada. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageYellow-eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) from the Sierra Nevada. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

On my last major trip of the year I spent with my good friends Natalie, and Mike Spencer on a trip I've been meaning to take up to humboldt and Del Norte Counties in extereme Northwestern corner of California to knock off Salamanders. One of my favorite trips of the year I can't wait to go back.
My lifer Painted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta) from Humboldt County, California
ImagePainted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) Lifer male Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei). Only my second time attempting a wide angle night shot, not quite was I was aiming for, but a decent try I'd guess.
ImageCoastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Dunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) Note to self turn VC/VR OFF when doing tripod work with lifers! This is a better example of the softness that it causes when doing tripod work, the Salamander is soft, and background has a lot of blur that shouldn't have been there from a combination of wind and leaving the VC on.
ImageDunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageDunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Mike found this Pterotus obscuripennis, a species of firefly found on the Pacific coast.
ImageGuess what it is. (I'll edit later) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) female.
ImageCoastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) female. by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus)
ImageCoastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Dunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) Lifer.
ImageDunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Del Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus) Lifer.
ImageDel Norte Salamander (Plethodon elongatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile)
ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Dunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) Lifer.
ImageDunn's Salamander (Plethodon dunni) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Southern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus)
ImageSouthern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Coastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei)
ImageCoastal Tailed Frog (Ascaphus truei) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Clouded Salamander (Aneides ferreus) Lifer. Poor photo, heavy rain + Mander that doesn't want to sit.
ImageClouded Salamander (Aneides ferreus) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Painted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta)
ImagePainted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Painted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta) Del Norte County.
ImagePainted Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii picta) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Later November rains allowed for some movement of Ambystomatids.

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)
ImageCalifornia Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum)

ImageSanta Cruz Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

ImageSanta Cruz Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum) by Chad Lane, on Flickr

I hope you enjoyed!




Cheers,
Chad

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Kelly Mc
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Kelly Mc » December 28th, 2016, 6:00 pm

Masterful...achingly so.

Loved the bright, crisp and informative herping report too.

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Calfirecap
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Calfirecap » December 29th, 2016, 6:05 am

Top notch post Chad, great photos and adventures, good to have you back in the game. Thanks for post this, it was refreshing.

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Ameron
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World-class fun

Post by Ameron » December 29th, 2016, 5:31 pm

This post was incredibly fun & interesting. My favorite was probably the CA Mountain Kingsnake.

Sorry to hear about the loss of Sean. I'm quickly nearing the age where losing friends & family will be an issue.

Along with the usual gang of favored reptiles, it was good to see some Rubber Boa photos. It's incredible how widely ranging they are,
yet how few people even know of their existence. Common in my area, I've only once seen them, due to being with an experienced
herper and a SME on the subject.

These are memories to last a lifetime, thanks for sharing.

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Porter
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Porter » December 30th, 2016, 12:21 pm

Nice post :thumb: Good to see ya herping again! I've already commented on most of the ones I liked earlier this yr, via flickr. However, I also really like that first night shot of that aneides in situ on the tree and that Great Basin Gopher snake variation. I found a total of 5 (counting 1 DOR) chain-linked neck patterned gopher snake morphs out there this year, which made for most productive morph finds for a single species in one trip for me. All different elevations and at least a 20 minute drive from each find (first way up by mono). But that ALL BLACK blotching on that snake looks incredible :beer: I've never seen an all black blotched gopher snake of any subspecies. Super cool find man :thumb:

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Jeff
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Jeff » January 1st, 2017, 1:10 pm

removed

Jimi
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Jimi » January 3rd, 2017, 11:52 am

These time of observations are what I cherish and enjoy significantly in the field, just enjoying nature with the least amount of interaction outside photography as possible.
Indeed, indeed.

Sorry to hear you lost a friend. The human condition can be a rough ride, just an accelerating series of heartbreaks. Gotta mortar them up with as much good times and memories as you can make with those you care for, and who care for you.

Congrats on the stephensi and lutosus. As you indicate an appreciation for the east side, may I suggest Lassen County? The area around Susanville has a great diversity of habitats and species. There's a granitic uplift south of town called Diamond Mountain that should give you long-toed joy, if you can get up through the snow in spring. Also some nice cracks to work later in spring, etc etc. Plenty green up top, lots of streams and wetlands, woods and meadows. Then right off the eastern drop-off, you've got a thousand miles of sagebrush to play around in. Nice, nice country. The highway up out of Chico is pretty fast, or loop around from Reno.

On your Humboldt trip, good job on the NW sally. Of all the species up there, that for me was/is probably the hardest one to just go out and find, without a known precise spot beforehand. And that usually just produces larvae. Adults are sweet finds. Aren't they beasts?

Curious - did you walk or cruise that pictigaster? Nice animal, I like the grey ones.

Thanks for sharing your pics and stories. Shoveling a lot of snow lately where I live - blah - these posts help keep me going. I'm a tropical monkey way beyond my happy place!

cheers

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Will Wells
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Will Wells » January 5th, 2017, 4:24 pm

Wow, really good stuff!!!

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Chad M. Lane » January 12th, 2017, 2:01 pm

Thanks Will!

Thank you Jimi! I've spent very little time in Northeastern California, I do need to try and get up that way in the following years.
We cruised the pictigaster.

Thank you Ameron!

Thanks Calfirecap!

Thank you Kelly!

Rman
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Rman » January 12th, 2017, 4:15 pm

Nice post Chad! That Great Basin Rattlesnake is terrific!

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Chad M. Lane » January 20th, 2017, 2:22 pm

Thank you Rman!

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Porter
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Re: It's been awhile! Year end review 2016 (CA, TX, AZ, and

Post by Porter » January 23rd, 2017, 8:40 am


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