McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

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ThamnElegans24
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ThamnElegans24 » June 28th, 2011, 5:00 pm

Thanks dave, I should be able to make it. Why so late?

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Biker Dave
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » June 28th, 2011, 10:22 pm

Why so late?
Day temps are over 100 and lows are only expected to be in the mid to low 80s. So I figure there will be more activity later in the evening as the temps drop.

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ThamnElegans24 » June 29th, 2011, 3:53 pm

That's cool. If it is alright, I will probably get there a little earlier. Hopefully it will rain Friday or Saturday before the hike.

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Biker Dave
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » June 30th, 2011, 8:35 pm

EVERYONE!!!!! The daytime temperature is reported to be 117 degrees Saturday day.

Bring a lot of water.... meeting time is 10 pm (2200 hrs).

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 1st, 2011, 11:35 pm

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
I have decided that it would be safer and likely more productive to be at the Preserve much later....

New Meeting TIme!
0230 Sunday morning at the Gateway Trailhead.
Thats four and one half hours later than the original plan. Very early Sunday morning.

Thanks

Dave Weber

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ratsnakehaven » July 3rd, 2011, 6:04 am

Dave, sorry I couldn't make it. Just too many obstacles on my end. The back is out again and I'm just hoping to make it to MI on Tues. BTW, I'll need you watching the forum as usual. Mucho gracias amigo...

TC :crazyeyes:

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 4th, 2011, 9:40 am

Thank you to Bryan Hughes and his friend Paul, Nick Burge, Bill Love and his friend(? ) Bill,and Justin and his mom LuAnn Bagby for coming out for this latest field outing.
Although it was very humid it was stil very dry. We did see a Regal Horned Lizard, DOR Gopher Snake (killed by hawk?), some Utas, Whiptails, a tree lizard(?), and an unoccupied tortoise burrow.

Of course the following day, per the tv news, it looked like the mountains got pummeled with rain. Figures!

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 4th, 2011, 11:29 am

Surpisingly, we had our largest turnout when the start time was at 230 am!
It was pretty humid that night, we think the mountains got a little bit of rain the night before, but the ground was still bone dry.
As we progressed up the GAteway Trail Loop we came across about a half dozen of these characters....

Image

You tarantula guys can tell us the species....

About halfway through the hike we split up into two groups...myself, Bryan Hughes, his friend Paul, and Justin BAgby went down a dry wash westward and Bill Love, his friend Bill, LuAnn Bagby, and Nick Burges continued on the Gateway Loop trail.

I spotted this little feller. He was upside-down in the wash. I thought he was dead. He had a small cholla spine cluster in attached to his belly. I went to pick it up and he started wiggling so I knew it was still alive. I pulled the cholla spines out of his belly and we all took our photos then let him go...

Regal Horned Lizard

Image

Smile for the camera....

Image

About three minutes later Bryan Hughes found this Gopher Snake.

Image

It was quite dead. It had two or three punctures in its lower abdominal area above its vent and on its back and side. We speculated it was possibly due to raptor predation. Maybe it was dropped from the sky and the raptor lost sight of it, or lost interest in it. No one will know for sure... but we continued on.

We had finally returned to the trail head and saw no sign of the other group so we headed back up the trail (its a 3.6 mile loop trail so we went east instead of the original west direction). About a mile up we caught up to the other group.

They hadnt seen very much. But we heard many stories. Here is one of the critters they came across

Banded Gecko
Image (photo by Bill Love)

and they tried to play a trick on us of a albino...... well I'll just let Nick tell you about it.

As we headed back to the trailhead a Side Blotch Lizard was seen basking on a rock alongside the trail

Image

We saw about a half dozen of the Uta's as well as a couple of Tiger Whiptails and we think a neonate Ornate Tree Lizard but they were all too fast to get photos.

We were able to get a passerby to hold Bill Love's big alien camera and snap this photo of the group

Image

After about 5 hours on the trail the temps were starting to get a bit high (95 at 0730) so we called it a day. As we began shuffling to our vehicles, of course, as we all know, a Patchnose snake was found! On the edge of the parking lot by Bryan Hughes.
You gotta love herping....it'll make you crazy otherwise!

Image

Image

See everyone on July 30th !!!!

Dave Weber

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Bill Love
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Bill Love » July 4th, 2011, 1:04 pm

That was quite a hike (3.5 miles) for this (former) flatlander. It was neat to see the eastern sky light up gradually from about 4:30am onward. I'm not sure I've EVER been out on a herp hunt at those hours, so that made it extra cool!

It was great meeting (or getting to know y'all better) Arizonan herpers Dave, LuAnn, Nick (< you were a great 'tour guide' for the old fogies), Bryan, Paul, and Justin. BTW, that was my bro-in-law Bill Libbey with me. And a mucho grande gracias for organizing the whole walk, Dave! Few probably appreciate the year+ effort it took to make a 'simple' little thing like that actually happen.

Here's a link to my version of the morning with a few other images....

http://www.azreptiles.com/forums/showth ... #post88959

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 4th, 2011, 2:10 pm

We're always glad to have you along Bill.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ratsnakehaven » July 4th, 2011, 2:16 pm

Nice pics, Dave. Thanks... :thumb:

TC

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 4th, 2011, 2:26 pm

Try and have fun on your trip Terry...

Dave

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Richard Legere
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Richard Legere » July 4th, 2011, 3:51 pm

Thanks for posting the summary Dave. I was planing to attend for the 10:30 PM start. I just couldn't make it at 2:30 AM after working 36 of the previous 38 days. I was WHIPPED!! With some luck, I'll be there for the next survey.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 4th, 2011, 7:47 pm

OK everyone... lets all pray for no more disasters/tornadoes/floods/etc so that Richard can do some herping!

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 20th, 2011, 10:17 am

Here is a link to the Conservancy's newsletter Mountain Lines, which features some good write ups about us and our work. And it has an artcle I wrote...Desert Survival Reptile Style.

http://flipflashpages.uniflip.com/2/56103/99630/pub/

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ratsnakehaven » July 21st, 2011, 8:22 pm

Dave, nice article. I didn't know you could compose like that... ;)

I liked the newsletter too. Some decent articles in there, although some of the plant and weather related articles could have been a little more exciting.

TC

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 22nd, 2011, 10:14 am

From what I understand the reptile articles were the most popular....

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 29th, 2011, 9:25 pm

Sorry for the late notice on the forum... I sent emails out to the usual participants!

Our next survey outing is tomorrow, Saturday July 30th at 9pm at the undeveloped Tom's Thumb Trailhead at the north end of the mountains.

There are two ways to get there.....

Take Pima Rd to Rio Verde and head east. Then turn right at 128th St and head south until you hit the "T" then turn left onto E. Paraiso Ln. Turn right at 130th St and drive toward the mountains to the trailhead parking lot.
Just wanted you to know that Rio Verde Rd. is actually called Dynamite Road at Scottsdale Road. It doesn't become Rio Verde until east of Pima Rd. Also, going down 128th Street from Rio Verde is a very bumpy dirt road (and very dark up there), so it's probably advisable to be in a truck or higher profile vehicle.

OR.....
Take Pima Rd to Happy Valley Road and head east. Turn Right at E Alameda Rd.
Turn right at N 119th Way and follow it to the "T" at E Casitas Del Rio Dr.
Turn left at Casitas Del Rio Dr.it eventually turns to dirt and becomes E Paraiso Ln. at the "Y".
Turn right at 130th St and drive toward the mountains to the trailhead parking lot.

This is an Undeveloped trailhead, meaning no facilities of any kind. So bring whatever you may need to survive...including headlamp/and or flashlight and extra batteries!

No matter which direction you go you will end up on a dirt road. Be sure your vehicle can handle it!

See you all there....

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 29th, 2011, 9:43 pm

Here is the background on the survey...

http://nafha.org/california-chapter/ari ... ell-survey

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » July 31st, 2011, 3:18 pm

Last night was interesting....we had good participation despite the downpours throughout the valley. There was good habitat and good temperatures. But the preserve was bone dry. And as a result, all we saw last night in the preserve was a Banded Gecko. I wont even bother posting the photo. There were also ALOT of tarantulas!

Next official outing date will be August 20.

Stay tuned

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » August 15th, 2011, 8:23 pm

Our next herp survey outing will be this Saturday evening Aug 20.

Meeting point will be the Lost Dog Trailhead at 7 p.m. Directions to the trailhead are posted in this thread in prior posts.

Along with looking for new additions to the recorded herps in the area, we will be revisiting old verified locations from prior visits to check on current/new activity.

Bring water, snacks, cameras, backup batteries and a good flashlight. Headlamps work very well (they keep your hands free).

Weather service is calling for chance of rain and day time high in mid/upper 90's. Moonrise is showing at about 11pm.

See you there!

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » August 23rd, 2011, 10:43 am

For those who missed this past weekend's outing into the preserve you missed a lot!
2 atrox dens containing 9 snakes between them, 4 other atrox out loose, 1 uta, 1 tortoise, and 1 Gopher snake.

Here is the link to all the critters we have come across so far this year...

http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... &r_county=

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ratsnakehaven » August 25th, 2011, 7:21 am

Dave, congrats. You guys were due for a good night. .. :thumb:

Terry

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project: The ASU Study

Post by Jaffo » August 25th, 2011, 10:41 am

Just to put my little bit of input in, the friend AzAtrox (Kris) is referring to having joined him on an extensive study in the area is me. I was commissioned by ASU to conduct a census on gila monsters in the very area. Kris was not. He merely joined me on most, but not all of my many many hours there. He is correct: no mitchelli. Lots of tigris.

But the part that seems important to me, having come to the thread so late in the game, is the sensitivity of the study by ASU grad students, its integrity, and the fact that I, as a commissioned representative of that study in 2007, and much less Kris, do not have the authority to release records obtained during that study. I took precise GPS data on every gila, tiger rattler, and tortoise I encountered during that 3 months. It was recorded in notebooks, and spots even marked with ribbon in the washes. The grad student supervising the project was present about 5% of the time during my tenure, and I was out there 3 to 5 nights a week for the full three months.

So again, it's nice to see an extensive effort put into that area, and I hope it proves fruitful for the cause, as I think I understand it. But if anyone need refer to the ASU study in 2007, please bring concerns to me. I'm taking that pressure off of Kris officially at this point. I was the one given the permits. I am the one who gathered the extensive data with photo and GPS and field notes. The data had been turned over to the ASU department years ago, and they have it now.

(Kris, under no circumstances are either of us allowed to provide anything more detailed than anecdotal accounts from an official ASU funded, state and locally permitted study. You should now this. :)

Thank you,

Jeff "Jaffo" Miller

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Jaffo » August 25th, 2011, 11:29 am

Oh, and also, not to ruffle any feathers, because I fully support a census and database built by a compassionate conservancy organization, but I have one more concern: if the main objective is to conserve or maintain the integrity of the McDowell/Sonoran wilderness and the animals within that habitat, are you sure it's the best idea to post publically not only specific locations that you are entering with a particularly large amount of foot traffic, but also a list of the animals encountered on these trips?

When I was working on the ASU study, and a couple others like it, the utmost care was taken NOT to divulge specific locations, and especially that diversity of the populations existing there. I don't mean data wasn't taken (census, GPS, field notes, etc). I mean it would never be posted in a public manner, in regard to conservation and integrity of the study and the animals involved... I'm by no means bashing what is obviously a well-meaning projected. But I feel particularly invested in this fairly sensitive area, which is just personal, and I'm just voicing a slight concern. Thanks again!

Jeff

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » August 26th, 2011, 10:56 am

Jeff

I too am sorry you arrived late to the game. More than a year ago I put out feelers regarding any prior herp investigations in the McDowells and came back empty handed from any educational organization. In fact, I received ZERO replies to my emails to persons /departments at ASU regarding the topic.

As such, we (NAFHA and the City of Scottsdale) moved forward, under permit of the City of Scottsdale in conjuction with AZ G&F and other organizations, in what was believed to be the first full flora and fauna survey of the preserve.

While we state areas such as "Lost Dog" on our forums, we are not releasing, publicly, GPS or more exact locale information regarding what we are finding. The data collected is stored in a secure manner in the NAFHA database http://www.naherp.com/search.php?r_owne ... &r_county= .

Information regarding protected species, burrows, and other such sensitive locations is shared ONLY with Preserve management.

If you have access to data (or contact info to obtain that data) that can be relevant to our survey it would help us immensely in tracking populations, den sites, etc. in order to better assist the preserve in protecting these populations. While we greatly admire your dedication and hard work, keeping this information locked up does no one any good, especially the animals we all wish to protect.

We would appreciate your assistance in this matter.

Thank you

Dave Weber
President
AZ Chapter
NAFHA

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Jaffo » August 26th, 2011, 12:03 pm

Thanks Dave. I appreciate the note about the secrecy.

Just to be clear, I am not the one who would be locking up the data, nor was it my intention to suggest that to be the case. :) I gave all of the extensive data I had gathered (notebooks, GPS units) to the ASU Biology Dept a long time ago, under the restrictions and requirements of my contract. All materials I used at the time belonged to them, and were issues to me specifically for my use in gathering data for their study. In terms of a contact name, the study was conducted under Dale DiNardo, and I haven't been in contact with him much since. Since I was a private commissioned assistant, you will get better results inquiring in regards to data obtained as a member of an organization. In addition, depending on the status of that funded study, (I'm not thinking it's still active) the data may not be as sensitive at this point (good), or possibly disposed of completely (not so good). I'm not sure what they do with it. I have a lot in my head, but under the contract and guidelines I must adhere to, I don't think I can do much with it. That all being said, if you are surveying any of the main washes in Lost Dog, it won't take your team long to locate a few permanent tortoise burrows. The gilas moved around all over the place and were never found in the same spots. But the end of my tenure with the study, we had approximately 13 radioed Heloderma in the area. I do not know the status now. That's about as much as I can offer, if it helps at all. Any more specific data in terms of GPS points, field notes, etc, would have to be inquired about through the department as ASU.

Now, if you continue to get zero response from the institution, not to fret. The area is a prolifically diverse habitat in terms of fauna, and the frequency in which I encountered a variety of different species was very high. I don't imagine it would take very long for a group a few times larger than myself and a frequent tag along buddy to encounter enough species to give you accurate census data in the area. But it may depend on what topographical land areas you have access to, or are restricted from. We, at the time, had zero restrictions.

I hope this helps! :) I certainly had a blast running that area so much during that year.

Jeff

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » August 26th, 2011, 1:36 pm

Jeff

Thanks your feedback.

If you like you are more than welcome to join us on our outings in the preserve. Your knowledge and insight in the area would be of great assistance!

I will ask the Preserve management if they could contact Mr DiNardo and possibly get access to the field notes and other information you created in your study.

Would you know off hand exactly what dates you were there and possibly any paper titles regarding your work that would help in accessing this data?

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Jaffo » August 26th, 2011, 1:58 pm

It was between March and I'd say September 2007. I am unaware of any papers finished that included my data, as I just turned it all over in the form of notes scribbled on a couple of notebooks.

I may be interested in joining on a hike or two. I'll watch the board and try to coordinate. Thanks for the invite!

Jeff

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » August 27th, 2011, 2:58 pm

Our next venture will be Sept 17.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ratsnakehaven » August 29th, 2011, 10:06 am

Jaffo wrote:It was between March and I'd say September 2007. I am unaware of any papers finished that included my data, as I just turned it all over in the form of notes scribbled on a couple of notebooks.

I may be interested in joining on a hike or two. I'll watch the board and try to coordinate. Thanks for the invite!

Jeff

Jaffo, great to see you're still around the Phoenix area. It would be good to see you again...

Terry Cox/AZ Chapter Sec. :beer:

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Jaffo » August 30th, 2011, 7:36 am

Hi Terry! It's been too long indeed. I'll see what I can do about the next outing. :)

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » September 5th, 2011, 9:28 am

Our next outing will be September 17 in the evening. It will be in the Spring area of the preserve.
I am working out details for this as in order to get to this area we have to go into a gated community which will require a meeting point and then car pooling in to reduce vehicular traffic.
Stay tuned as more details come...

Thanks

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » September 13th, 2011, 9:39 pm

Greetings All


This Saturday evening, Sept 17, we will be heading into the Preserve to a special area. We will have to meet at a common point and carpool into the preserve as we have to access it through a gated community. This will require us to carpool from our meet point to the trailhead. We have to limit our vehicle count to as few as possible. There is a one mile hike in before we even get to the area we are looking at which is the Spring area.


We will be meeting at the DC Ranch Village Health Club Parking lot . It is located at the corner of Thompson Peak Parkway and Legacy Blvd in North Scottsdale ( a little north of the Gateway trailhead) at 530pm and departing for the trailhead at 6pm. If you are late you will miss the trip.


Directions are pretty easy if you are not familiar with the area.

From the Scottsdale Loop 101 freeway exit the Pima Princess exit and head north on Pima.

Turn right on Legacy Blvd (it used to be Union Hills Rd I am not sure if they changed the road signs)

Follow Legacy till it ends and just after you cross Thompson Peak Parkway turn right into the parking lot of the DC Ranch Village Health Club.

Look for my black Toyota Tacoma Double cab truck near the south end of the lot.

Arrive early to ensure access.


Dave Weber

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » September 18th, 2011, 10:53 am

Update from last nights outing into the Preserve...

1. One Blacktail Rattlesnake
2. Multiple Red Spotted Toads of all ages
3 One Adult atrox
4. One DOR Nightsnake (on the road out)
5. Exactly one crapload of petroglyphs

Dave Weber

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » September 29th, 2011, 8:46 pm

Greetings All


Our next day out will actually be in the day. Saturday Oct 8 at 7am. We will be meeting at Lost Dog, but covering as new area farther into the preserve from our usual Lost Dog area.
Directions to Lost Dog are listed in prior posts to this thread.


Hope to see everyone there.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by sjfriend » October 11th, 2011, 4:48 pm

Oh come on Dave :? Why Do you do this to me. I make it back down and you have to have the survey just before I get there.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » October 11th, 2011, 7:09 pm

Sorry Steve....

Rich Lagere and myself had a good morning exploring a couple of "new" washes. While we did not find any animals, save a few Uta's and a whiptail, we did discover a VERY active tortoise wash and found an atrox shed just outside of one of the burrows.

Our next time out will be Oct 29. Time and location to be announced.

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by sjfriend » October 26th, 2011, 5:29 pm

Dave, is the 29th still on and if so, any ideas on timeframe yet?

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » October 26th, 2011, 8:39 pm

Our next outing is Saturday Oct 29 at 0900 at the Gateway trailhead. We will be exploring some new area near the old mine.
See prior posts for directions to the GAteway Trailhead.

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by sjfriend » October 28th, 2011, 8:59 am

I'll be there.

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » November 3rd, 2011, 10:01 pm

We had a good turnout this last outing. Steve Friend came all the way down from Alska and flipped a Night snake (H. torquata) sleeping with a Desert hairy Scorpion, Bill Love located a rather emaciated gopher snake that I gave water, and Bill also located a very large fat male Desert Spiny Lizard basking on a downed saguaro.

Stay tuned for details on our next outing!

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » December 4th, 2011, 9:13 am

Last weekend I went out to explore the Lost Dog area. I revisited some of the known "denning" areas. I found zero activity in these dens. There were no snakes visible. Only a few Uta's were out.

Dave

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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » January 10th, 2012, 8:51 pm

Congratulations Everyone (who assisted in the Survey). Our permit has been renewed for another year and now includes the ENTIRE Preserve not just certain areas!

Great job all!!! :beer: :beer: :beer:

Dave Weber

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ThamnElegans24
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by ThamnElegans24 » January 11th, 2012, 2:36 pm

Sweet!!! So when's the next outing?

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Biker Dave
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » January 11th, 2012, 5:26 pm

Probably March

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Biker Dave
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » February 21st, 2012, 7:35 pm

I will be presenting my "Herping 101" presentation to the new preserve volunteers for this years survey on Saturday.
I will be scheduling an outing in the next couple of weeks for those who may be interested in attending.... stay tuned!

Dave

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azatrox
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by azatrox » February 21st, 2012, 10:25 pm

Dave...can you guys get down in the washes or are you still confined to the trails and such?

-Kris

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Biker Dave
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by Biker Dave » February 22nd, 2012, 7:38 pm

We were NEVER confined to the trails. We have been up on rockpiles, down in washes, and all points in between.

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azatrox
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Re: McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Project

Post by azatrox » February 22nd, 2012, 7:55 pm

Good to hear...Keep us updated. I may have to come out a time or two. I miss that place.

-Kris

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