Anza-borrego advise?

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bgorum
Posts: 618
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
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Anza-borrego advise?

Post by bgorum » March 11th, 2017, 7:59 am

With all the rain that’s fallen this year and the forecast for an exceptional wild flower bloom I’ve decided its time for me to make a trip to Anza-Borrego. I have spring break coming up one week from today. It looks like I may be a little late for the peak of the wild flowers, (online sources seem to indicate that is happening right now!), but I want to come anyhow.

My questions for you all though concern herps. For those that don’t know me, my interest in herps is in the realm of observation and photography. I don’t collect, not even to hold an animal for photos the next day. Do I need a license in California just to observe and photograph?

I have several goals for this trip and would appreciate any insights or suggestions people familiar with the area could give me. Goal number one is to get in situ shots of the typical sand dune specialist, (sidwinders, fringe-toed lizards, flat-tailed horned lizards, and maybe even shovel-nosed snakes), in typical sand dune habitat. I’m planning to visit the North Algodones Dunes Wilderness to try for these. Any suggestions? Other area to consider?

Once I get to Anza-borrego proper my number one goal is going to be Baja California Collared Lizards. I’ve been to Anza-borrego twice previously and have yet to see the species. Any suggestions on where and how to locate these would be greatly appreciated. I’m also very interested in getting good pictures of Granite Spiny Lizards and in photographing Desert Iguanas eating flowers, (I missed this opportunity years ago thanks to the nagging of my then wife ☺).

Another goal, though I don’t know how practical it is, is to night hike and photograph some of the nocturnal lizards, (Barefoot Geckos, Leaf-toed Geckos, and any of the Night Lizards). Has anyone been successful at hiking these as apposed to flipping them? How about road cruising them, and then watching them?

Those are my main goals. Secondarily I’d like to photograph Speckled and Red-diamond Rattlesnakes, Rosy Boas, Leaf-nosed Snakes, Desert Horned Lizards. Any suggestions on those would be greatly appreciated as well.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

bgorum
Posts: 618
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Contact:

Re: Anza-borrego advise?

Post by bgorum » March 11th, 2017, 9:18 am

Sorry for the misspelling in the title! Where dd the edit button go?

Knormal
Posts: 22
Joined: December 23rd, 2014, 11:32 am

Re: Anza-borrego advise?

Post by Knormal » March 13th, 2017, 10:39 am

In California I think technically you need a fishing license to even go out looking for reptiles, but realistically no one's going to be able to enforce that, especially if you're not even catching to photograph. If you're going there to photograph "wilderness" and not reptiles specifically then you're fine. Were you catch-and-releasing for pictures then you would legally need a fishing license, but if you're going to parks and preserves then that's off the table anyway.

The Algodones Dunes are great for your target species there, I've seen everything you listed. Flat-tailed horned lizards will be the hardest to find of course, everything else should be abundant as long as you're there in the right time of day. I'll advise shovel-nosed snakes seem to be more crepuscular that strictly nocturnal. The one drawback you're going to find there is timing, this early in the year I believe the South Algodones are still open to OHVs, and are probably going to be packed. That shouldn't affect you hiking into the North Dunes, but will make road cruising anywhere around that area basically impossible.

Anza-Borrego I can't help you with, every time I've gone there I seem to have terrible luck and don't see anything besides chuckwallas.

craigb
Posts: 625
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:02 am
Location: Southern Cal.

Re: Anza-borrego advise?

Post by craigb » March 14th, 2017, 6:35 am

I have found the rangers in Anza Borrego to be professional and concerned. I was stopped on a road and standing in the middle photographing a DOA Speckled Rattlesnake with a hook leaning on my leg. As the truck approached I hooked the DOA to the side of the road and started walking back to my car. Mr. Ranger stopped for a talk. I told him I knew I was inside the park and was just photographing animals. He questioned the hook and I came clean that I was going to look outside the park on my way home. His only suggestion was to leave my hook in my trunk and not my front seat. He admitted that he himself had moved DOA animals from the road. I was on my way in 10 minutes or so. I always get a fishing license because I ocean fish, so when outside the park I am also covered.

There are so many folks out looking at wildflowers this year I am sure the trails will be packed.

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