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 Post subject: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 10th, 2017, 8:44 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Posts: 62
Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Now that the cold weather has returned it is time to relive my time herping in Arizona in August of this year. The monsoon rains were plentiful which no doubt aided my finding 43 herp species, four of which were lifers.

My first stop was in the Sonoran Desert.
Imagemonsoon season by mitchberk, on Flickr

I had seen Canyon Spotted Whiptail lizards (Aspidoscelis burti) on a previous trip but there were especially abundant this time.

ImageCanyon Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis burti) panting by mitchberk, on Flickr

The lizard pictured here was not at all interested in the White-lined Sphinx Moth (Hyles lineata) caterpillar crawling over its back. These caterpillars were all over the road and vegetation.

ImageCanyon Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis burti) and friend by mitchberk, on Flickr

However this Whiptail was not going to pass up an easy meal. It had to work for some time to get this meal down the hatch.

ImageAspidoscelis burti eating White-lined Sphinx Moth caterpillar by mitchberk, on Flickr

Sonoran Spotted Whiptail (Aspisoscelis sonorae)

ImageSonoran Spotted Whiptail (Aspisoscelis sonorae) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Tiger Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris)

ImageTiger Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris) by mitchberk, on Flickr


Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), male.

ImageGreater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), male by mitchberk, on Flickr

Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), female.

ImageGreater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus), female by mitchberk, on Flickr

Elegant Earless Lizard (Holbrookia elegans).

ImageElegant Earless Lizard (Holbrookia elegans) by mitchberk, on Flickr


Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides), male displaying.

ImageZebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) by mitchberk, on Flickr

On my trip to Arizona two years ago I wanted to see a Regal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare) but had failed to see one. On my last day of that trip a park staff person told me that I could probably see them on a trail I did not hike and it was too late in the day to find them. So this year that trail was foremost on my to do list. Success!! I was looking in the brush off the trail when in my peripheral vision I spotted a Regal Horned Lizard running towards me. I photographed it and came across a better subject later that day.

ImageRegal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageRegal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Desert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister)

ImageDesert Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Schott's Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus schottii)

ImageOrnate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus schottii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

A hike at sunset revealed a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) on a different trail. Was it lying in wait to ambush its prey?

ImageWestern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Later that evening I encountered a Sonoran Coral Snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) as I returned on the same trail. I came across a second Sonoran Coral Snake during a mid-morning hike at a different park. I seem to have dumb luck finding coral snakes.

ImageSonoran Coral Snake (Micruroides euryxanthus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

This Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) was lying in a well traversed trail early in the morning. It did not seem to be annoyed by the hikers passing by. This was the third one that I found at this park.

ImageWestern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) by mitchberk, on Flickr

By chance I spotted a Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizi) just off the trail.

ImageDesert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizi) by mitchberk, on Flickr

The evening brought out the amphibians. A Red-spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus) greeted me near the entrance to the restroom. I should have known to carry a camera with me even to take a shower at the campground restroom. You never know what you will find. I had to go back to the campsite to fetch the camera but the toad was quit willing to stay put. That was not the case with an unidentified snake at the same restroom three hours later that night.

ImageRed-spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Sonoran Desert Toads (Bufo alvarius) were along a trail ladened with puddles. Luckily I spotted one that was parked beneath my car before I drove off.

ImageSonoran Desert Toad (Bufo alvarius) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Toads and snakes were not the only denizens of the night as I saw a few Arizona Blond Tarantulas (Aphonopelma chalcodes).

ImageArizona Blond Tarantula (Aphonopelma chalcodes) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Round-tailed Ground Squirrels (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus) were in abundance at the campground. I would think they would provide a good-sized meal for the rattlesnakes. Indeed there was a Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake lying against the cement curb at my parking space at the campsite upon my return from a nightly search for herps.

ImageRound-tailed Ground Squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Next stop was the mountains of south-central Arizona.

Imagehttps://flic.kr/p/YjfDZp by mitchberk, on Flickr

Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii)
ImageClark' Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), female

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), female by mitchberk, on Flickr

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), male

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii), male by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus)

ImageBlack-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) was on my wish trip list and I was successful for adding this lifer to it during a night road cruise.

ImageTiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageTiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Canyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor) was a lifer.

ImageCanyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageCanyon Tree Frog (Hyla arenicolor) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer)

ImageGophersnake (Pituophis catenifer) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Sonoran Whipsnake (Masticophis bilineatus)

ImageSonoran Whipsnake (Masticophis bilineatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

I love to photograph all types of wildlife. I could not pass up a photo of this Arizona Sister (Adelpha eulalia) butterfly.

ImageArizona Sister (Adelpha eulalia) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Dragonfly ID?

ImageDragonfly ID? by mitchberk, on Flickr


Next stop was southeastern Arizona. Monsoon clouds formed during the morning resulting in a heavy rainstorm later on.

ImageChiricahua Mountains by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageMonsoon storm by mitchberk, on Flickr

I went road cruising that evening after the afternoon torrential downpour. I was glad I did.

Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)

ImageLong-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Desert Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula splendida)

ImageDesert Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula splendida) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)

ImageMojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii), male

ImageCouch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii), male by mitchberk, on Flickr

Couch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus couchii), female

ImageCouch's Spadefoot Toad (Scaphious couchii), female by mitchberk, on Flickr

Mexican Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata)

ImageMexican Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus)

ImageGreat Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Plains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) or Great Basin Spadefoot (Spea intermontana)

ImagePlains Spadefoot (Spea bombifrons) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Green Toad (Bufo debilis)

ImageGreen Toad (Bufo debilis) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Upon my return to the campground I was greeted by a Striped Skunk. The folks at the adjacent campsite set-up a lighted white screen for a moth survey. The next morning they informed me that a skunk had come to the screen and devoured the low-hanging moths. The campers were not inclined to dissuade the skunk from its moth meal. The next morning there were still plentiful moths for them to identify but also numerous moth wings dotted the ground below.

ImageStriped Skunk by mitchberk, on Flickr

The next day I spotted a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) enjoying a snake breakfast. Snake ID?

ImageRed-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) devouring snake by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageRed-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) devouring snake by mitchberk, on Flickr


Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus)

ImageStriped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageStriped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Twin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei). Thanks to Jake Scott and Tim Warfel for finding this lifer for me.

ImageTwin-spotted Rattlesnake (Crotalus pricei) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Eastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae)

ImageEastern Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora grahamiae) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii)

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageYarrow' Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

I failed to find the Arizona Striped Whiptail (Aspidoscelis arizonae) in one of its isolated populations in my Arizona trip two years ago. This time the Whiptail Gods were smiling down on me. I saw only one but managed to get a picture before it raced into a burrow.

ImageArizona Striped Whiptail (Aspidoscelis arizonae) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi)

ImageSouthwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi) by mitchberk, on Flickr

I took a brief excursion into southwestern New Mexico.

Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

ImageEastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) by mitchberk, on Flickr

ImageEastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris) by mitchberk, on Flickr

New Mexico Crevice Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus pointsettii pointsettii)

ImageNew Mexico Crevice Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus pointsettii pointsettii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Two Desert Box Turtles (Terrapene ornata luteola) were out on the road following the torrential downpour the previous night just like their Eastern Box Turtle relatives I am familiar with.

ImageDesert Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata luteola) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Desert Grassland Whiptail (Aspidoscelis uniparens)

ImageDesert Grassland Whiptail (Aspidoscelis uniparens) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Chihuahuan Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis exsanguis)

ImageChihuahuan Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis exsanguis) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Schott's Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus schottii)

ImageSchott's Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus schottii) by mitchberk, on Flickr

Have you had enough pictures? I will hold off with the remainder of the trip photos until Arizona Herping Adventure Part 2 is posted.


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 10th, 2017, 9:30 am 
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Joined: April 2nd, 2015, 7:30 am
Posts: 92
Location: SW Michigan
Amazing finds! I particularly like the lizard shots. And well done on the black tail. I didn't manage to find one this summer. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 11th, 2017, 9:27 am 

Joined: July 2nd, 2013, 9:29 am
Posts: 107
Location: California
Great post!

The snake that the hawk is eating looks like a gopher snake.


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 12th, 2017, 3:20 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:14 am
Posts: 77
You can see a pretty prominent dorsal stripe in the first pic, marcianus or cyrtopsis would be my guess.

Nice shots, always a good time down that way :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 14th, 2017, 7:33 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:46 am
Posts: 189
Very nice post. I especially liked seeing all of the lizard photos, as the lizards are often overlooked in favor of the common snake targets.

FH


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 14th, 2017, 8:35 am 
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Joined: March 18th, 2012, 6:34 pm
Posts: 915
Location: Houston, Texas
Looks like a checkered garter snake being eaten by the hawk.

Nice looking splendida y'all found!


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 14th, 2017, 3:29 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:56 pm
Posts: 294
Location: SW USA
I second the wandering garter id


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 5:52 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:20 am
Posts: 529
... ahm not sure any1 "1st'd" elegans-vagrans ... but i will double tap for marcianus (checkered) :p ...

very nice camera work, and you hit "triple 7's" walking up a corale, i think ive only done that 3-4 times in 35+ years & 10's of 1000's of days in hab !

Your 1st shot looks much more " madrean sub-tropical thorn scrub" than "sonoran" but for all thos beautiful cnemis, you getta pass & a gold star ... looking 4ward 2 part 2 ... : ]


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 18th, 2017, 12:50 pm 
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Joined: June 25th, 2014, 10:34 am
Posts: 62
Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Thanks to EVERYONE for your very kind remarks about the photography. Lizards get top billing for I am able to get the "drop" on them with the camera much easier than I can the snakes. I can't explain my "ability" to come across coral snakes. My first one was two years ago in Cochise County. Now if I can only get a Ridge-nosed rattlesnake or a Rock Rattlesnake!! I have hiked through perfect habitat, at the right weather conditions, at the right time of day but without success!! Go figure.

Mitch


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 Post subject: Re: Arizona Herping Adventure: Part 1
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2017, 7:20 am 
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Joined: February 15th, 2015, 8:13 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Malaysia
Nice set of photos.
Keep them coming!


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