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 Post subject: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 4th, 2018, 10:27 pm 
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Joined: March 19th, 2011, 6:43 pm
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Let me start off by saying that the Washington post is coming...soon... Lol
I know this post make it two posts behind now. I have a full week of Washington photos I have to go through, where these last two posts have just been short weekend gigs. So I was able to pop these out quicker. After this weekend, I will probably have yet another... However, I am going to try to squeeze it in before posting that one.


Recently, I was contacted by ilikesnakes and he invited me to check out some new untouched boardgrounds out in Elk Grove. I hadn't really herped Elk Grove since my childhood fishing trips with my dad. Did a little bit of Road cruising and pond walking that resulted in nothing but DOR turtles and kingsnake, lots of pond turtles, a couple large gopher snakes and Valley garter. So I was really looking forward to this.

We met up just as things started to warm up... there was a mass quantity of AC to flip at this place. All randomly scattered about and I could tell that a herper had not set it up or at least it retained that appearance. This stuff had been here for ages. All of the plywood was heavily weathered and brittle with grass rooting and growing through the top. It was so cool because I hadn't seen untouched flippables in this amount since I was a kid. Reminded me a lot of the old barns and sheds we used to come across as we were hiking through the foothills of Roseville California before the housing development. Lifting these large boards took more delicate effort than strength.

As we took position to flip the first rooted board, I spotted this reddish-orange gopher basking which seemed to have recently emerged from beneath it. It had an odd shaped head with bulging eyes and a nice glossy snake-like dorsal pattern. Which had me wondering possibility of past passed down hybridization.

ImageDSC_0080-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0138-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




Next up, after flipping a couple mountain gartersnakes, was this huge kingsnake. All of the boards were very moist underneath and I knew we would find a kingsnake sooner or later. It was at the bottom of three large boards layered on top of each other. We had to lift up and hold one at a time to get at the bottom of the stack. I got this insitu before grabbing the snake to take a closer look. Then we released it (like we did every snake of the weekend).

ImageDSC_0140-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




The rest of the day was as follows... I'm going to leave the commentary short because I know Bill will want to add some backstories himself. I think he said it best when he made the analogy that it was like opening presents at Christmas. Herping honestly does not get better than this...

ImageDSC_0159-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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R - O - Y - A - L


ImageDSC_0202-2aa by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Backpack-hat trick....

ImageDSC_0242-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0359-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr



After photographing that absolutely beautiful and humorously aggressive gopher snake, we lifted some junk that lay beneath a walnut tree. Hanging on the bottom the AC was a very large jumping spider that had to have been a redback. Most closely resembling the three on the left of my Google search screenshot. Except there was some patterning within the black stripe on it ass. I had never seen one like this before... so naturally, I wanted to photograph it! I tried several times to cup it in my hand but it kept jumping out and back onto the ground. Finally it crawled onto a walnut shell and I gently picked it up after it crawled onto my finger. Slowly, I lifted him closer to bring him into good position for a photo and... Yeeeeoooowwwwwaarrrggghhh!!! It sunk one single fang directly into the underside tip of my ring finger. And it facking hurt!Lol I think I was more surprised than anything because jumping spiders are usually pretty docile, but this seriously had some Venom kick to his punch. It felt like a little corkscrew going into my finger for the next 15 minutes and my fingers swoll up 1/3 the size of my other hand finger. It hurt more than a bee sting and left a single drop of blood on my fingertip which continue to bleed each time I squeeze the venom out.

After taking that bite from the gopher snake with careless attitude, admiration, smiles, and little to no reaction whatsoever.... that little fuzzy bastard surprise the hell out of me! :lol:

ImageScreenshot_2018-05-04-18-36-25 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




Can you see the something...?

ImageDSC_0363-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




Then, we flipped this Valley garter and I was reminded of how much I liked the shot that RenoBart took. So, I put the snake at an interesting angle to the light and nice backdrop for these shots...

ImageDSC_0403-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0391-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr





Then we headed to a boardline for some kings...

ImageDSC_0438-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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This barking Bull dog didn't like our presence one bit... So he howled vodka mad cow at us from across the barbed wire.

ImageDSC_0470-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Strange lizard death bed... drowned during the winter Maybe?

ImageDSC_0527-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Valley garter snake shed...on the right track :thumb:

ImageDSC_0532-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Then we headed off to another area for some racers...

ImageDSC_0589-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Took a pic of sky before leaving.... wonderful day of natural lighting, constant changing cloud cover, and ongoing perfect temps. I thanked Bill for showing me around and offered to take him to some of my Sutter locations. We called it a day and drove our separate ways fulfilled with accomplishment.

ImageDSC_0717-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr



They one count totals...

6 - California kingsnakes
6 - Yellow-bellied racers
4 - Valley gartersnakes
2 - Mountain gartersnakes
2 - Pacific gopher snakes
1 - Viscous little fuzzy bastard





Day 2...

Today was my day... originally, we had planned to do Sutter County as the second half of Saturday. Bill however insisted on showing me several of his locations. He told me that he hadn't really ever look for snakes outside of his hometown of the Davis area. So, I thought it would be cool to get him some lifer and do Sunday a little bit different that just herping the Sac-a-tomato delta. So, we planned on herping Sutter in the morning and then heading to the bottom of the Foothills in Rocklin to finish the day.

First, we met up in Yolo County where I photograph this beautiful Valley garter snake who had just begun to shed appeal on his nose. While I waited for Bill to arrive, I gently helped this guy out of his old skin and did a quick photo session.

ImageDSC_0037-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0111-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Then, we hit one of my spots in Yolo real quick on the drive out where we found our first gopher snake.

ImageDSC_0138a-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr



Once in Sutter County, we flipped these two large and uniquely beautiful gopher snakes...

ImageDSC_0162-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0176-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr



I swear, I thought I was looking at a Great Basin gopher snake when I first saw this one. Very close to having a chain-link neck pattern. Along with a lot of bold and dark dorsal patterning...

ImageDSC_0185a-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0196a-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0217-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




Then we flipped this beautiful beast! What an awesome snake. This blackbelly looked very similar to the brown and caramel one I flipped here a few years back. If this snake ain't black, it is the darkest Brown possible! it was as shiny as Darth Vader's helmet and very hard to photograph for that reason. The mirror imagery of the blue skies above and the tan brown grounds below kept stealing my camera's focus. I ended up flipping the snake again a few days later under the same AC. I really hope no herper out there in the world ever takes this snake if they find it... I hope to see him again and to see the young it produces. :mrgreen: :thumb:

ImageDSC_0247a-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Then we headed out to Rocklin to check the small patches of land that exist of my endless wonder world of naturous childhood escape. Still holding some hidden magical gems belonging to Mother Nature herself. Birthed from the Earth...

ImageDSC_0404-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0399-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0441-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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ImageDSC_0489-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Lifer ruby damselfly shot :thumb: I've seen these before but never got a shot of one.

ImageDSC_0513a-2a by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0495-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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...and then. Hell motha uppin' yeah!! Not an easy or common fine for this place. A rare natural jewel indeed...

ImageDSC_0514-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0526a-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0546-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0551-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0550-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr



This snake was so calm and chill the whole time while holding him and throughout the photo session. So I took a unique opportunity to be a weirdo :lol:
..sometimes it's weird to be cool :P ;) 8-)

ImageDSC_0568-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0576-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0577-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




I originally had a Northern Pacific rattlesnake den site planned out to check. However, time ran out and Bill had business to attend to. We still had a little time left though, so we set out for a rattler...






ImageDSC_0639-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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After parting ways at the end of another successful day, I decided to take the long way home. On the drive, I passed up a hawk sitting on the extended barbwire fence. I threw on my bird lens and popped it in reverse to attempt the shot. He hopped down instead of flying away and continued hopping off into the middle of the field. Before I could even get to him... So I left with only an observation. Then as I started to drive off, I looked up and saw this distressed face in sky.

ImageDSC_0679-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr




Nice peaceful drive along the Levee Road... Awesome weekend of field herping :beer:

ImageDSC_0682-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Strawberry moon over strawberry fields...

ImageDSC_0760-2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 5th, 2018, 10:43 am 
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Location: Alaska
Those were some great days in the valley! Sure miss herping there (the people not so much ;) ). Great finds too. I never found a live ringneck up that way. Did find a dor in Rancho Cordova once. Spent next few years hitting that area hard with no luck.

Loved the 2 gators of differnt color. My favorite lizard to see / watch.

Bummer about the spider bite though. Glad I've never been hit, your description sounds painful.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 6th, 2018, 6:17 am 

Joined: April 18th, 2018, 10:18 pm
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What wonderful success! How late into the summer does herping by flipipng things over remain feasible in your valley?

In the place at the retreat center where I saw so many good herps, there were also so many spiders. You can see their eyes in the grass like a city lightscape. One point I was walking in my sandals through the grass and a poor fragile green spider got caught between my foot and my sandal. He bit me but it only hurt a little, not so much like yours. Then he died.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 6th, 2018, 2:42 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1766
Sounds live a very pleasant outing. Well, except for...

Quote:
Slowly, I lifted him closer to bring him into good position for a photo and... Yeeeeoooowwwwwaarrrggghhh!!!


I'm sorry, but I find this hilarious. I have first-hand experience of the power of the little hairballs, so it isn't that I don't know how hard they hit. I can just picture the whole sequence, and...it cracks me up. No harm done, so it's funny, right? Pain, but no damage. All the difference in the world. Ha ha ha. "Respect the hairball, or he will make you." Jumpers are pretty badass, they have some wonderful endowments. And apparent personality.

I think it was probably a fast hard freeze after a run of real nice weather that got those lizards. What's weird is how very many there are. I wonder if they all resulted from the same event, or if that object is a serial killer. What is it, a polyester blanket? I wonder if it has some peculiar thermal properties that are hell on squamates.

Anywho, thanks for the story and pics.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 6th, 2018, 8:43 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 9:57 pm
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Location: Ohio, then Arizona, now South Australia
Really nice post Porter, with lots of cool animals and pics. That Diadophis is an absolute stunner! Many years ago in southern Arizona, when I kept a few herptiles, I caught a very large regalis and had him in captivity for over 20 years - now that I'm older and, well, whatever, I can't imagine bringing a snake from the wild and keeping it caged. And your Phidippus story made me laugh. I haven't had the pleasure of a jumper bite, but a close friend assures me it is not something one wants to experience LOL. One time I was photographing one with my macro, and just as I was about to pull the trigger the little bastard jumped onto the lens. I remember rolling over backwards from the unexpected shock! :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 8th, 2018, 3:26 am 
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sjfriend wrote:
Those were some great days in the valley! Sure miss herping there (the people not so much ;) ). Great finds too. I never found a live ringneck up that way. Did find a dor in Rancho Cordova once. Spent next few years hitting that area hard with no luck.

Loved the 2 gators of differnt color. My favorite lizard to see / watch.

Bummer about the spider bite though. Glad I've never been hit, your description sounds painful.


It's tricky out there... lots of seemigly perfect habitat. But what looks best, is worst for cruising as it seems. I haven't spent much time out there in all honesty. I did for a year back in 2010 or/and 2011. But, I only checked it maybe once a year after that. There's actually a road I plan on giving a 2nd chance this year and I;m gonna force myself this time :lol:

A ringneck DOR is pretty damn awesome for that area :beer: I've never seen a live or dead one.

Wish we had access to all that land... I bet there's some 5 ft lateralis out there like the one I found in Rancho Merieta (2006). HUGE!

Gators are rad :thumb:

It did surprisingly... felt worse than a wasp bite or bee string. Like I could feel the injection of the fang and it felt corse, if that makes sense.


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 8th, 2018, 3:43 am 
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Jhon the herper wrote:
What wonderful success! How late into the summer does herping by flipipng things over remain feasible in your valley?

In the place at the retreat center where I saw so many good herps, there were also so many spiders. You can see their eyes in the grass like a city lightscape. One point I was walking in my sandals through the grass and a poor fragile green spider got caught between my foot and my sandal. He bit me but it only hurt a little, not so much like yours. Then he died.


Thanks man! Hard to say... I don't set up boardlines like most herpers. I just flip junk I find that has been thrown out on the side of the road. Every now and then I'll move that a few feet to better position it, but I prefer to keep it random and spontenious. The way I see it, there was a reason it got put there... so leave it there. I think the farthest I've moved something was like 30 ft. A big TV box. I did put some sheet metal up in the Sierras but only 3 pieces and that was a one time thing. Once the moisture gone it's slim pickens. But you can find a random racer or something year round depending on the day and time. Once it's hot I usually just cruise until its too hot for that. We get shorter windows for herps than bay area and soCal. Scott or some more expereinced guys might say different..idk. The Porter goes underground with the snakes during the heat :lol:

Like for example July sucks... road cruising is dead. But I cruised a melanistic Valley Garter and Flipped an aberrant Blackbelly during the drought. I'm a total against the grain herper with good success. Lucky I guess... The only time I go with the grain is in my photos :lol:

But yeah man, I just go with the feeling. Intuition. Sometimes it feels like a snake day to my skin...


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 8th, 2018, 3:57 am 
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Jimi wrote:
Sounds live a very pleasant outing. Well, except for...

Quote:
Slowly, I lifted him closer to bring him into good position for a photo and... Yeeeeoooowwwwwaarrrggghhh!!!


I'm sorry, but I find this hilarious. I have first-hand experience of the power of the little hairballs, so it isn't that I don't know how hard they hit. I can just picture the whole sequence, and...it cracks me up. No harm done, so it's funny, right? Pain, but no damage. All the difference in the world. Ha ha ha. "Respect the hairball, or he will make you." Jumpers are pretty badass, they have some wonderful endowments. And apparent personality.

I think it was probably a fast hard freeze after a run of real nice weather that got those lizards. What's weird is how very many there are. I wonder if they all resulted from the same event, or if that object is a serial killer. What is it, a polyester blanket? I wonder if it has some peculiar thermal properties that are hell on squamates.

Anywho, thanks for the story and pics.

cheers


Dude, it WAS hilarious!! :lol: :lol: :lol: I yelled so loud it made Bill jump lol Funny as hell because I'm usually one of those guys that you can't sneak up on or scare. Only in rare occasion. Not only that but I've picked up migrating tarantulas at Mount Diablo and convinced my ex-girlfriend too as well. So I thought this is nothing compared to that. That little fuzzy shit got me tho... first time I ever felt that venom corkscrew. Trippy... I was honestly freaked out at first.

It was some foam coating in a matress. The sheet pulled back was the matress liner. Weird and spooky...

Thanks :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 8th, 2018, 4:12 am 
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John Martin wrote:
Really nice post Porter, with lots of cool animals and pics. That Diadophis is an absolute stunner! Many years ago in southern Arizona, when I kept a few herptiles, I caught a very large regalis and had him in captivity for over 20 years - now that I'm older and, well, whatever, I can't imagine bringing a snake from the wild and keeping it caged. And your Phidippus story made me laugh. I haven't had the pleasure of a jumper bite, but a close friend assures me it is not something one wants to experience LOL. One time I was photographing one with my macro, and just as I was about to pull the trigger the little bastard jumped onto the lens. I remember rolling over backwards from the unexpected shock! :beer:


I think it's something we all have to do at one time or another, rather it's in childhood or later. Then you realize the importance of it's feedom. I notice most keepers aren't herpers. So, I think the connection to nature has something to do with it. Any time I meet someone who has pet snakes they rarely know the difference between a garter, gopher, or king and can't describe which is a garden snake :lol:

Haha that awesome. They're cute little things when they're hopping. Treacherous little vampires in disguise :lol:

The one that got me had arms and legs like the bottom left spider. In proportion and color (a little darker). The abdomain was the same in proportion but had the red and black most like the middle left spider, with some light grey or white design patterning within the black. It looked super cool! I still wish I had a photo of it


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 10th, 2018, 11:06 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:22 am
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Finally had some time to check this post out! Good looking stuff, Porter!

Bart


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 18th, 2018, 5:58 pm 
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Location: "Buy My Books"-land
Good finds Porter. :thumb: I appreciate you finding my awesome black-belly that escaped a couple years ago. I followed the gps in your photos and was able to retrieve it. I'm not sure how it managed to get all the way up there from AZ, but snakes are sneaky devils... :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 18th, 2018, 11:35 pm 
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Brian Hubbs wrote:
Good finds Porter. :thumb: I appreciate you finding my awesome black-belly that escaped a couple years ago. I followed the gps in your photos and was able to retrieve it. I'm not sure how it managed to get all the way up there from AZ, but snakes are sneaky devils... :lol:


I'm not even sure how to interpret that...lol that is about as confusing as me going around on a forum pretending to be a bastard "insert profanity here" and expecting people who have not met me in person to know that it's a display of irony and playful sarcasm :lol: the only thing I know for sure is it has something to do with Chad Lane because he recently faved a photo of that snake and he never favs any of my good photos nor does he follow me on Flickr lol

How in the world are you getting a GPS coordinates from my photographs? And how long have I been doing this? Lol


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 Post subject: Re: 2 Days in the Central Valley - We Like Snakes
PostPosted: May 18th, 2018, 11:38 pm 
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Thanks Bart!


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