I’m currently contracted through the Arizona Game and Fish Department to camp out in the desert, ten days on four days off, monitoring a bald eagle nest. For someone who has recently moved to Arizona for the state’s natural history, this job is a wonderful way to start my residency. I’m situated in a riparian corridor and surrounded by mountains that provide me numerous biotic communities to explore. The past two months haven’t seen many herps, other than common side-blotched lizards and tree lizards, but the past couple of weeks things have heated up and I’m starting to see a bit more diversity.
Of the following photos, some are just crummy phone pics I took for NAFHA records, while others I put some effort into…this should be obvious.
Desert banded geckos were found occasionally throughout the winter under cover.
This greater earless lizard was an early spring find.
The first snake of the season was this Smith’s black-headed snake.
About a week ago, I was happy to see this regal horned lizard scurrying across the road.
A walk up a beautiful spring fed wash near my camp resulted in this long sought lifer stretched out in the sun.
The black-necked garter snake might not be a big deal to other herpers, but it’s a species I’ve alwas wanted to see.
The walk back to camp got me a glimpse of a Sonoran whip snake that was just too fast for me to get my hands on, as well as this retired desert tortoise.
Just before coming home the other day, I found a beautiful canyon, with a seemingly permanent stream running through it, where I came across this red-spotted toad. This place looked amazing, but it was getting dark and I had to get back to camp, needless to say, I can’t wait to get back and explore the area further.
Since I’m in the field ten days in a row, my time at home is mostly spent enjoying the company of my dog and my girlfriend. Luckily, while chasing herps around might not be her thing, she does like to play outside. This allows me to get a little coincidental herping in.
Yesterday we went mountain biking where we found this crossing the trail. Diving for a desert patch-nosed snake while clipped into the pedals of your mountain bike doesn’t look too graceful.
Excited by having just life listed the patch-nose, I had to have a closer look at some sunny boulders along the trail. Almost immediately, I was greeted by this big atrox that was out on the crawl.
I’m back into the field for another ten days starting tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see what turns up.