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 Post subject: Danish Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 27th, 2017, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:17 am
Posts: 367
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Dislaimer #1:
The report below was originally written for a European forum. I'm sorry, but I couldn't be bothered to rewrite for a predominantly American audience. I hope some of you will enjoy it anyway and not get too annoyed at all the seemingly redundant local information you might take for granted.

Dislaimer #2:
As I'm sure you've all noticed, photography isn't my strong suit. I get lucky every now and then but a lot of the time, well...

This tends to be even more of an issue on these family trips where herping time is limited and photo sessions are usually stressful and often interrupted. For whatever reason this time around it's even worse than usual. I guess mostly it's down to the photographer who seems to be getting ever sloppier and lazier, though matters were certainly exascerbated by camera malfunction and a very dirty lens.

In the interest of completeness this means I have included several severely subpar photos. Please bear over with me.



My sister and her family have been living in The Woodlands north of Houston, Texas, for the past four years. Until recently we had no idea when they might return to Denmark but when they put their house in Copenhagen up for sale and bought a new one over there, the size of a small town, we knew it wouldn't be anytime soon and figured it was time for another visit. This was, of course, to be a family visit / vacation, not a herping trip. Nonetheless, it was Texas, it was April, so of course I expected to stumble upon a couple of critters here and there and perhaps even find the time to actively herp at least a little, either with my family or sneaking off on my own.

After getting up in the middle of the night and an ensuing long flight with a stopover in Frankfurt we arrived, quite tired, at 16.30, Saturday, April 8. My niece wasn't home, so after saying hi to my sister and my nephew I went out into the garden to my brother in law. He is slightly ophidiophobic, though working on it, and the first thing he did upon greeting me was to ask me to find and remove the large, dark snake he had seen swimming in their pool that morning. Even though he asked, he did seem a bit startled when I came up to him two minutes later, yellowbellied water snake, Nerodia erythrogaster erythrogaster, in hand, asking "This one?". Obliging, we carried it a couple of hundred meters out into the greenbelt behind the house, encountering the first of many ground skinks, Scincella lateralis, along the way.

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Back at the house I continued to snoop around the garden for a bit and in a pile of firewood in a cupboard in the outdoor kitchen I soon found a Rio Grande chirping frog, Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides. It got away from me and disappeared into a crack, but that didn't worry me, I figured we'd see plenty more. We didn't.

In a small hole, I don't know what for, partially covered by a broken plastic lid, I then found the first Gulf coast toad, Incilius nebullifer, and what would turn out to be the only eastern narrowmouth toad, Gastrophryne carolinensis.

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Before dinner I also found the time for a short walk through the greenbelt to the neighborhood pond. The pond was full of redear sliders, Trachemys scripta, and at the bank near the runoff into the creek I spotted what from a distance appeared to be a struggle between two fair sized animals. Closer up it revealed itself as a large diamondback water snake, Nerodia rhombifer, with a substantial catfish prey

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All in all not a bad start to something that wasn't even herping trip...

My niece had come home from the beach in the meantime, burned to a crisp, and we all had a great dinner in the garden, complete with a nice glass of wine and plenty of time to talk. Exhausted, we crashed into bed afterwards but as we still hadn't adjusted to the local time zone I woke up at two in the night. Though tired I wasn't able to sleep so I got up and went for a little walk before going back to bed an hour later. In the woods behind the house I saw plenty of bronze frogs, Lithobates clamitans, and spotted a raccoon up a tree by its eyeshine. Back at the house, Mediterranean geckoes, Hemidactylus turcicus, were climbing about on the walls and an emaciated bullfrog, Lithobates clamitans, was swimming in the pool.

The next morning I knew all the women and girls had planned to go shopping so obviously I headed for the woods. Upon heading out I was a bit surprised when my brother in law wanted to tag along. As part of his self education to alleviate his fear of the local snakes he wanted me to show him some of the venomous ones so he would know what to look out for. Along then also came my son, my nephew and even one of my nephew's friends. The pressure was clearly on me to produce something.

I had done a bit of research in advance and found a very interesting looking spot some 20 minutes away where I hoped I might be able to find a timber rattlesnake and figured some of the more common species would be a sure thing. We headed out there and I soon realized that while I might have done some research I hadn't done enough. I had foolishly failed on the number one rule of searching for spots in Texas. Since the great majority of Texas land is privately owned and private in Texas often meets posted with "Trespassers will be shot" signs one should always make absolutely sure that there is public access. I had just looked at the map and satellite photos and figured "some of that has to be public land...". Rookie mistake that could probably only be made by someone from a social democratic community like Denmark.

This failure of course only increased the pressure when I decided we would head back to the nearby state forest where on our previous visit a couple of years earlier I had found disappointingly little. Thankfully, after just a few minutes, basking amidst the leaves on the forest floor next to the path I found a cute little juvenile of not mine but my brother in law's number one target species - the copperhead, Agkistrodon contortrix. As it is the most abundant venomous snake in the area and thus the one he was most likely to encounter on his daily walks through the woods with their dog this was the one with which he was most anxious to familiarize himself. Happy to have found it, also because I had mysteriously missed it on our previous visit (Matthijs claims I am the only herper ever to have found a Texan pygmy rattlesnake before a copperhead) I was also quite relieved to live up to the trust and be able to deliver.

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A father came by with his two small girls and baby son as we were photographing the copperhead. They joined us, curious to see more snakes. We had a nice chat on our walk through the woods but it was getting hot and we didn't see much more - just a western ribbon snake, Thamnophis proximus proximus, a southern leopard frog, Lithobates sphenocephalus, a Gulf coast toad, a few ground skinks and a bunch of sliders.

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We had agreed to meet the girls for lunch at a restaurant downtown where we got a table outside, on the waterfront. As we sat there, waiting for our entrees, a pallid spiny softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera pallida, swam by. I got a crappy cellphone shot, but my first of the species since on previous encounters they had evaded my camera.

After lunch we went out to get some new hiking boots and other gear we were missing, then headed back to the house. Lazing by the pool I spotted a couple of other garden species, adding green anoles, Anolis carolinensis, and broadheaded skinks, Plestiodon laticeps, to the trip list.

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Another late afternoon walk down to the pond produced another four yellowbellied water snakes, including a couple found right behind the garden, another (or possibly the same) diamondback water snake and a snake basking on the edge of the bushes that I only noticed as it sped away when I got close. I am 90% sure this was a buttermilk racer, Coluber constrictor, but I would really have liked to have spotted it a split second before for a certain ID.

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The next morning it was back to work and school for my wife and her family so we headed out west for the road trip part of our stay. On the way to our first stop at Hamilton Pool we passed a couple of DOR's. I felt pretty comfortable ID'ing one as a speckled kingsnake, Lampropeltis getula, and another as a coachwhip, Masticophis flagellum, even as we raced by them.

Hamilton Pool is popular swimming hole located just west of Austin, a natural pool created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to erosion thousands of years ago. Looking like something out of a 1980's Bounty bar commercial, when my daughter found the pictures on Google of course she insisted we had to go.

The forecast was somewhat ominous, thunderstorms threatening, and we considered backing out and heading to the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin instead but in the end we took our chances and got lucky that the weather held up. Unfortunately, however, the pool was closed for swimming for security reasons following a recent drowning accident. Pauline was massively disappointed.

The pool was still beautiful, though, and if we couldn't go swimming, at least we could go for a walk along the creek. This proved a good idea, as we soon found a nice, large cottonmouth, Agkistrodon piscivorius, on the move along the bank of the clear spring waters.

Cottonmouth habitat
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Shortly thereafter we found a red striped ribbon snake, Thamnophis proximus rubrilineatus, then an ornate tree lizard, Urosaurus ornatus ornatus, and a ground skink. Pauline adored the ribbon snake as she remembered a western ribbon snake from our last visit that she had more or less fallen in love with and named Lilleper, a popular character from an old Danish family movie. I didn't stop her from breaking Texas State Park rules by picking it up but it promptly reacted to her transgression by biting her, upon which she immediately let out a little scream and released it. She now infinitely prefers westerns to red stripeds.

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Down by the river, Gustav spotted another snake basking in a clump of sawgrass on the bank. I took it for another yellowbellied water snake at the time, only later realizing that we were no longer in N.e. erythrogaster range and the species should be blotched around there. Back home a couple of weeks later a closer look at the scalation in my crappy pics revealed it to be a cottonmouth. Good thing no rules were broken with that one!

The rest of the day was just a long drive further west before stopping for the night in Ozona just as the thunderstorms broke en route to our final destination in the Trans Pecos.

We were headed for the Davis Mountains, the largest mountain range in Texas forming a sky island rising above the surrounding plains of the northern Chihuahuan desert to heights of some 2600 meters. Our plan had been to stop for a dip at the springs of Balmorhea State Park but due to the cold and cloudy conditions we turned our plans on their head and opted instead for a stop the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center north west of Alpine. There was a display of desert plants and a couple of trails including a nice little walk down into a canyon with a spring full of tadpoles - don't know which species. Along the way we saw black chinned and broadtail hummingbirds, Mexican ground squirrels, scorpions, Big Bend tree lizards, Urosaurus ornatus schmidti, southwestern fence lizards, Sceloporus cowlesi, common spotted whiptails , Aspidoscelis gularis, and Chihuahuan spotted whiptails, Aspidoscelis exsanguis.

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From the nature center we drove on to Fort Davis. Walking around the old fort we came across a few more whiptails.

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Our final stop of the day was at our base for the next two nights, the Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park. Beautifully situated in the a mountain valley with abundant wildlife and great hikes just outside the door these white adobe buildings from the 1930's provided a refuge for the soul. As the kids spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool I headed out for a walk to explore the surroundings after just a short refreshing dip. In the afternoon heat I saw nothing but the most abundant lizard species already encountered earlier in the day. I also found the time for a quick drive up to some nearby road cuts in the vain hopes of finding a pink rock rattlesnake but alas, it was clearly still too hot and again I found nothing but lizards.

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After heading into town for dinner at a nice Mexican restaurant the rest of the family were tired and I bade them goodnight as I headed out onto the road. Thinking it was still early in the season I liked my chances better going south, out of the mountains into warmer surroundings south of Marfa. It was around 21-22 degrees when I hit the road and when after an hour and a half it had dipped to 19 and I had seen nothing but the hundreds of jackrabbits and desert cottontails through which I was constantly running the gauntlet I was just about to turn around.

Knowing we had another long day coming up and I needed some sleep I had already decided when I would head back if the finds didn't keep me going. Six minutes before reaching this time I came to an intersection with a dirt road and figured this was as good a place as any to turn around. I made the turn and at the last second changed my mind, turning my u-turn into a full loop instead.

100 meters further down the road I found the first Mojave rattlesnake, Crotalus scutulatus, within the next 500 meters two more + one gopher snake, Pituophis catenifer, within the subsequent 1 km yet another + 2 huge DOR western diamondback rattlesnakes, Crotalus atrox. I ended the night with a further two Mojaves and a large Great Plains rat snake, Pantherophis emoryi.

Unfortunately all of my pictures from this wonderful night are complete and utter crap. I would like to blame my camera, but I'm afraid the photographer must take the brunt of it. I don't really know what happened there but maybe the disposition of the Mojaves had something to do with it. Five out of six specimens fully lived up to the species' feisty reputation, rearing up, rattling, hissing and striking at me the moment I opened the car door. One of them incessantly threw itself at me in long lunging attacks any time I moved within three meters.

For a better photographer I'm sure this would have made for a great photo opportunity. Me, otoh, I prefer my subjects to stay still, particularly in the dark.

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The final find of the night came just outside the hotel on my way back, not a reptile this time, but a gray fox quietly crossing the road that put a nice end to the evening.

Wednesday started with Pauline walking over to the lounge, since that was the only spot with wifi, to keep her Instagram streaks alive. As we picked her up on our way to get breakfast she asked "What's that climbing on the wall?" Thanks, Pauline, a cute little canyon treefrog, Hyla arenicolor

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After breakfast we headed out onto the Davis Mountains scenic loop, a 120 km drive with spectacular views of the mountains and plains. Along the way we stopped for a hike at the Madera Canyon trail. It was another nice little walk but we didn't see much in terms of herps. A wild turkey was a nice encounter, though, and - rather surprisingly perhaps - a new one for me.

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Near the end of the loop we came across a couple of groups of pronghorn roaming the plains as we headed for the town of Marfa.

Marfa is a hip little artsy desert town owing to the fact that Donald Judd moved there in 1973 when he got tired of New York. My wife, being an alround art nut and complete Judd fan, loved it. The rest of us enjoyed it as well, quaint little town with lots of nice touches. We had lunch at the Food Shark and went to see the Judd sculptures at the Chinati foundation. The little striped whiptail, Aspidoscelis inornatus, that showed up there was really just an added bonus.

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We were all a bit hot and tired by now, stopped by a caboose in Fort Davis for ice cream before heading back to the hotel, where the kids enjoyed the pool, my wife enjoyed her coffee & book and I enjoyed the lizards and hummingbirds.

In the late afternoon a storm started brewing in the distance. I had planned to cruise the mountains for rock rattlesnakes at night but when the rains started during dinner I gave up on that. Thinking the storm would largely pass us by I headed out nonetheless, hoping for amphibians instead. That proved a bit of a miscalculation. Turning around on my way to the spot I had targeted as the thunderstorm closed in, any of the mysterious Marfa lights were drowned out by the inferno of lightning flashes all around and the hail started hammering down I eventually had to stop by the side of the road when I couldn't see anything at all through the wall of water crashing down on my windshield, even with the wipers at full speed. I knew my family would be uneasy about my being out in that weather so I headed for the hotel, eerily passing a large mule deer that stood right next to my car by the road side, in the shelter of a lonely tree, staring in like some otherworldly gatekeeper.

Before leaving in the morning we went for a hike up the crest behind the hotel. The views were absolutely magnificent - nothing but 360 degrees of mountains and wide open high desert plains. Along the way we saw the usual fence and tree lizards as well as a single new species, a fourlined skink, Plestiodon tetragrammus. Sadly it got away unphotographed.

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The weather now much better than a couple of days before we headed north through the mountains for Balmorhea after a short drive up Skyline Drive for more views. On our way down we passed a tarantula on the road. I wanted to stop for photos but we had a car right behind us with another one headed up in the opposite lane so I passed it to avoid blocking the traffic. From the valley floor I could see the car behind us had stopped, the driver obviously still photographing the tarantula some 5-10 minutes later.

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The main attraction of Balmorhea State Park is a pool built around the San Solomon Springs. 9 meters deep with year round temperatures of 22-24 C the crystal clear waters host a number of rare fish species such as Comanche Springs pupfish, endemic to these springs, Pecos gambusia and headwater catfish. Around the pool the springs flow through desert wetlands supporting aquatic reptilian fauna as well. We enjoyed a couple of hours there, swimming, watching the fish, ground squirrels, sliders, birds, a couple of blotched water snakes, Nerodia erythrogaster transversa, common checkered whiptails, Aspidoscelis tessellatus, and a single shy Texas spiny softshell turtle, Apalone spinifera emoryi.

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From Balmorhea we drove back east to spend the weekend with my sister and her family in the Texas Hill Country. We made a single stop on the way, at Fort Lancaster where we enjoyed the views of the Pecos Valley, found a couple of common spotted whiptails, a couple of common but iconic Texas birds, the vermillion and scissortailed flycatchers and I backed the car into trash can (bad move!). We spent the night in Junction, enjoyed a nice Texan BBQ brisket & beer dinner before crashing into bed in our motel.

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After waffles for breakfast the next morning we headed for Enchanted Rock, a huge pink granite dome in the central Hill Country. It being the Easter weekend we had been advised to be there early as the State Park is very popular and there are limitations on the number of visitors. Thankfully, even though we were a bit later than we had hoped / planned for we had no problems getting in. It was an overcast morning which probably wasn't a good thing in terms of the display of colours in the granite but quite fortunate in terms of the number of visitors. It might also have contributed to a nice little surprise find at the start of our hike.

Just as we crossed the stream next to the parking lot a beautiful Texas coral snake, Micrurus tener, casually made its way across the path in front of us. Though there were plenty of visitors all around we were the only ones on that section of the path at that moment and I don't think anyone else saw it. Perfect timing.

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We continued up the rock, passing a small trickle with plenty of Rio Grande leopard frog, Lithobates berlandieri, tadpoles on the way. At the top we enjoyed the views of the surrounding Hill Country, the rock squirrels scurrying about and a little picnic before heading back down to walk around the base of the rock. The weather wasn't particularly good for basking lizards so we didn't see as many as I might have expected but we didn't encounter a single ornate tree lizard and, more significantly, a beautiful crevice spiny lizard, Sceloporus poinsetti - in a crevice to boot.

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After Enchanted Rock we headed into Fredericksburg to meet up with the others. We had lunch and ice cream, walked around town for a bit, then drove by way of the scenic Willow City Loop, bluebonnets and other widlflowers painting the roadsides blue, red and yellow to our weekend home on Lake LBJ in Kingsland.

At the house a predinner walk around the garden and down the road revealed a Gulf coast toad, a couple of ground skinks, a bunch of green anoles and a big bad Texas red headed centipede, according to my brother in law the nastiest, creepiest thing he had ever seen.

In the morning we drove to Colorado Bend State Park. We went for a little hike to a beautiful waterfall and continued down along the Colorado River. On the way I flipped a bunch of striped bark scorpions and a couple of Texas spiny lizards, Sceloporus olivaceus. A couple of ground skinks and Blanchard's cricket frogs, Acris blanchardi, also made their presence known.

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At a point just as we approached the river for the first time I strayed off the path to get a look at the cliffs along the gorge, splitting off from the rest of the group. On my way back to them I flipped a couple of logs and found two rough earth snakes, Virginia striatula. The others were waiting for me at a bridge where a water snake – probably a diamondback – had just passed by.

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Back in Kingsland we were ready for coffee, cake and ice cream and found our way to The Antlers, a rather odd but very charming inn where the house from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre serves as restaurant and old cabooses function as hotel suites.

Enjoying the serving in the garden we could watch the Texas spiny lizards crawl about on the tree trunks and rocks while the anoles stayed in the bushes.

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We then took a walk through the hotel grounds down to the lake shore where we found several small Texas map turtles, Graptemys versa, endemic to the Colorado River drainage in central Texas, basking on the rocks.

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Watching the turtles I fell behind as usual. On the way back to the car by myself I suddenly noticed a coachwhip basking at the edge of the bushes, a very pleasant surprise.

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After shopping for dinner we headed back to the house. I found a red striped ribbon snake and a blotched water snake down by the water before my sister and I each grabbed a kayak and went out for a little trip around the inlets. Texas map turtles were plentiful with a few sliders thrown in here and there and out on the water, it was possible to get much closer to these shy creatures. Alas, I didn't take my camera with me.

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Sunday morning we all headed into Austin. After a bit of kayaking down the river enjoying the views of the city, the birds, hundreds of Texas cooters, Pseudemys texana, sliders, spiny softshells (apparently intergrades between ssp. pallida and ssp. guadalupensis) and snapping turtles, Chelydra serpentina, it was time for our hosts to head home while we stayed around exploring town for the next day and a half. Austin has plenty of green areas with lots of wildlife but in deference to the wishes of the female half of the family this was all about city life – shopping, cafes, a musem visit, and the like. Wildlife watching was limited to seeing the millions of Mexican freetailed bats emerging from the colony on the underside of the Congress Avenue bridge at night.

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By Monday afternoon we were all tired when we made our way towards The Woodlands. It had been a good week but it had been a long week. We had seen and done plenty and we were all feeling just a tad full and sleep deprived. It was Henriette's birthday and while we had celebrated her a little already plans were for a birthday dinner at Fajita Jack's on Lake Conroe. However, just as we left Austin the heavens opened and the attraction of sitting outside above the lake diminished somewhat when it was just as wet above as below. Thankfully my sister had improvised a little birthday dinner a their house instead, complete with cake, a real treat to come home to.

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Tuesday and Wednesday were rather uneventful days spent moseying about the neighbourhood, relaxing by the pool, going for short walks in the woods, shopping for clothes in town, etc. The rains continued most of the time so it wasn't prime herping weather but of course we saw plenty of the usual stuff, ground and broadheaded skinks, green anoles, Mediterranean geckoes, sliders, Gulf coast toads, bronze and southern leopard frogs, yellowbellied and diamondback water snakes. I had high hopes of finding an eastern hognose or another buttermilk racer in the greenbelt but that never happened. Somehow I even missed the abundant and beautiful broadbanded water snakes as well. A week or two after returning home of course my brother in law sent me a hognose pic from one of his dog walks behind the house where I had spent hours...

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I had been in touch with local herper Nathan Wells and we had made plans to go flipping and cruising Tuesday night but that rained away and we postponed. When the rains stopped in the evening I gave it a slightly desparate go myself. Conditions weren't great and I got out kind of late so my expectations weren't high. They were met.

All I saw was a whole lot of bullfrogs, a couple of green treefrogs, Hyla cinerea, and a single Blanchard's cricket frog. Headed back, thinking the night had been a predictable disappointment it was saved by a surprise encounter. While most of my active wildlife searching is herping I certainly do appreciate other taxa as well and the number one species on my Texas mammal wishlist had always been the armadillo. I guess this is typical for herpers as these weird, ancient looking creatures really do have a bit of a reptilian feel about them. I had seen lots of them, all frustratingly DOR (as with the oppossums and skunks) but here, just as the rains were starting again a very live and quite large specimen crossed the road right in front of me. I was thrilled. I got only the crappiest of pics but that was okay. The experience completely made the night worth it.

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Our hosts had a traditional wood fired pizza oven in the garden that they had never figured out how to use. As I have a past working as a cook of course this fell on me. We were lucky that the rains stopped Wednesday afternoon and though it took a while getting the oven heated it was a wonderful night with excellent pizzas, nice wine and great company, ending with the kids roasting marshmallows above the fire pit in the dark to the sound of the backyard anuran chorus, fireflies providing the supplementary lighting.

Thursday was our last full day there. Henriette & Pauline still felt we hadn't seen enough of the cities and thought it weird that we hadn't been to Hosuton yet so we drove into town, this time exploring Chinatown a bit. It was a hot day and when we got back there wasn't really anything better to do than hang around the pool, enjoy the backyard herps and ruby throated hummingbirds constantly moving to and from the feeder on the terrace.

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Nathan and I had rescheduled for the late afternoon when he got off from work. Our plans had been to first go flipping near College Station – mainly for racers, coachwhips and copperheads, then start cruising. Unfortunately traffic was heavy and it soon became clear that stopping by the flipping spot would mean we got a late start cruising so we skipped that. As we were headed for the first open landscape dirt road, apparently good for speckled kings and Texas corn snakes we passed a few DOR's, a number of Texas rat snakes, Pantherophis obsoletus, and a coachwhip, as well as a couple of crested caracaras feasting on a roadside carcass along with the always plentiful vultures – amazing birds.

When we arrived at the road it turned out it was blocked at the bridge near our end so we had to go around and start from the other end. Giving up on flipping began to make sense.

I had high hopes for this beautiful road but we didn't find any of our target species. We did find a bunch of other stuff, though...

The first pass saw an absolutely stunning, large copperhead stretched out in front of us. Headed back another, very differently coloured, was found just 100 meter further down the road, then a third. Next pass provided a dark Texas rat snake, kinked up in classic rat snake pose, and a large Texas brown snake, Storeria dekayi.

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When we didn't find anything on the return pass we decided to head for the forest. Frogs started showing up on the roads, along with more DOR's and, just as we entered the forest, yet another copperhead.

We had our hopes up for timber rattlesnakes but it wasn't to be. Snakes became fewer and further between, particularly the live ones. Another armadillo crossed the road in front of us and both of us completely focused on this Nathan suddenly exclaimed ”S***, I think I just ran over a copperhead”. Luckily we had missed it, and it was alive and well.

This was to be the last live snake of the night. We added a few more DOR's – rat snakes, a juvie copperhead and, just as we drove out of the forest a beautiful Texas corn snake, Pantherophis slowinskii, freshly hit, still twitching, heart still beating, a heartbreaker.

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We were back in The Woodlands around midnight, I thanked Nathan for a great night and headed back to the house. As I got there the geckoes were busy on the walls and the toad chorus from the greenbelt was much louder than it had been any other night. I went out to have a look at them, maybe I shouldn't.

The next morning I woke up with an itching rash that only got worse the following days, after we got back to Denmark. Eventually it was diagnosed as a severe case of poison ivy induced allergic contact dermatitis that got spiced up along the way with a secondary staph infection, not the best souvenir.

Anyway, Friday morning we had a few hours before we had to leave for the airport. We spent a fair amount of time just packing but I also found time for one final walk through the greenbelt down to the pond. Three diamondback water snakes, one yellowbellied, a rough earth snake, ground skinks, broadheaded skinks, green anoles and a lot of redear sliders provided a nice goodbye.

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Can't wait to get back for more...

Species list:
Eleutherodactylus cystignathoides 1
Gastrophryne carolinensis 1
Incilius nebulifer many
Acris blanchardi 3
Hyla arenicolor 1
Hyla cinerea 2 (+ 1 DOR)
Lithobates berlandieri many tadpoles
Lithobates catesbeianus many
Lithobates clamitans several
Lithobates sphenocephalus several

Apalone spinifera 5 (2-3 ssp.)
Chelydra serpentina 3
Graptemys versa many
Pseudemys texana many
Trachemys scripta many

Micrurus tener 1
Nerodia erythrogaster 10+ (2 ssp.)
Nerodia rhombifer 4+
Storeria dekayi 1
Thamnophis proximus 3 (2 ssp.)
Virginia striatula 3
Agkistrodon contortrix 6 (+ 1 DOR)
Agkistrodon piscivorius 2
Crotalus scutulatus 6
Masticophis flagellum 1 (+ 2 DOR)
Pantherophis emoryi 1
Pantherophis obsoletus 1 (+ 6 DOR)
Pituophis catenifer 1
Crotalus atrox 2 DOR
Lampropeltis getula 1 DOR
Pantherophis slowinskii 1 DOR

Plestiodon laticeps 7
Plestiodon tetragrammus 1
Scincella lateralis many
Hemidactylus turcicus 5+
Anolis carolinensis many
Urosaurus ornatus many (2 ssp.)
Sceloporus cowlesi many
Sceloporus olivaceus several
Sceloporus poinsettii 1
Aspidoscelis exsanguis 4
Aspidoscelis gularis 3
Aspidoscelis tessellata 2
Aspidoscelis inornata 1

Ophidia sp. (probable Coluber constrictor) 1

All species in bold are lifers / would be lifers


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 Post subject: Re: Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 27th, 2017, 7:13 pm 

Joined: September 25th, 2013, 7:04 pm
Posts: 13
Nice post! Would love to get out there myself.


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 Post subject: Re: Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 28th, 2017, 3:12 am 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 11:13 pm
Posts: 2399
Location: Greater Houston TX Area
You saw more species than I typically see on an outing here! :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 29th, 2017, 9:08 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:17 am
Posts: 367
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Thanks for the kind words to both of you. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Danish Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 31st, 2017, 10:30 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1663
I love it that you come out and get to do these multi-emphasis family trips. They (your wife & kids) are very indulgent but you seem like a great dad and husband. Your kids will have pleasant, lifelong memories.

Thanks for the vicarious herping and stories. It makes me miss living in the humid south. There's a lot more to see there, for way less effort, than in a cold northern desert!

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Danish Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 31st, 2017, 11:29 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:17 am
Posts: 367
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Thank you very much, Jimi.

That is perhaps the nicest comment I have ever received for any of my reports.

I would be very happy and proud if your asessment were even half right.

...and yes, they are indulgent. I am blessed that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Danish Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: May 31st, 2017, 4:40 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:11 pm
Posts: 745
Location: cape cod ma.
That was a great post! What an adventure for your kids! You had some great luck with multiple species.
I always enjoy your posts.
Pete


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 Post subject: Re: Danish Texas family visit, April 2017
PostPosted: June 5th, 2017, 3:16 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:17 am
Posts: 367
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Thanks, Pete.

- always nice to know someone appreciates it when you spend time putting a report together :)


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