Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

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jonathan
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Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 12th, 2013, 10:42 pm

I've wanted to do a San Gabriel/San Bernardino Mountains post for a long time. I love herping the mountains more than any other habitat in Southern California. Here's some of the interesting stuff I've found there:

If you want to see salamander diversity in Socal, you really have to head into the mountains. The canyons of the San Gabriels can be quite productive under the right conditions. The following salis were all found in mountain canyons between 1300 and 1800 feet.


Black-bellied Slender Salamanders (Batrachoseps nigriventris)

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Montery Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii)

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Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris)

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Coast Range Newt (Taricha torosa torosa)

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pile o' newts found under a log

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Salamanders habitat shot

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The most interesting salamander resident of the San Gabriel range is the San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander, one of the few vertebrates completely endemic to the region. This individual, from close to 4000 feet elevation, was found under a log still covered in snow.

San Gabriel Mountains Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli)

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Habitat shot

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More from the same locality:

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The frog species also change in SoCal when you move from the lowlands to the mountains. As you get into the mountain foothills, the Baja California Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris hypochondriaca) are largely replaced by California Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris cadaverina).

This guy was found near a waterfall at 2800 feet.

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This one was found at 4500 feet elevation.

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Those same streams used to also contain Foothill Yellow-legged Frogs. Unfortunately, they went extinct from the San Gabriels back in the 1970s, and now are no longer found anywhere south of Fresno.

Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (Rana boylii) from Curry County, Oregon.

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Where you find the California Chorus Frogs, you'll likely also find Two-striped Garters. Here's one from over 4500 feet:

Two-striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii)

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That particular garter snake stream once held Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs, but now the species can only be found in about half-a-dozen remote locales. It took several aborted or failed searches before I finally located some of these guys up at 5200 feet.

Southern Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs (Rana muscosa)

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habitat shots

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In a very different type of canyon (very well-profiled by Sam Sweet in this post: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... f=2&t=1833), you can find a toad species unique to the California coast. These cute little guys were in a sandy wash at about 3000 feet elevation:

Arroyo Toads (Anaxyrus californicus)

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Moving away from the canyons, you find high-and-dry spots in the mountains only suitable for reptiles. Several of the common lizard species thrive at high elevations. All of the following were found between 5500 and 6500 feet elevation:

Western Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)

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Western Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus)

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Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)

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San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii)

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Lizard habitat shot

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One lizard species that I didn't expect to find in these mountains is the Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), but I've been able to see one at 4600' on the coastal side of the San Gabriels. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture, so here's a distant shot from a less interesting population found at 3200' in the San Bernardinos:

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There's only one lizard species in the Gabes/Berdoos that is completely limited to high elevation - the Southern Sagebrush Lizard. These were found at over 6200 feet:

Southern Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus vandenburgianus)

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Considering the cold temperatures and lack of vegetation in some of these spots, the snake diversity is truly remarkable. Once again, several species that thrive at low elevations are also found up in the mountains. The following were all spotted at over 6000 feet elevation:

San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens)

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San Bernardino Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus modestus)

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California Striped Racer (Coluber lateralis lateralis)

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One section of the San Bernardinos has a relict population of Mountain Garter Snakes in the higher elevations. You have to go a couple hundred miles north to the southern Sierra Nevadas to find the next population of these. These two were found at over 6700 feet.

Mountain Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans elegans)

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habitat shot

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One beautiful snake that is mostly restricted to high elevations, of course, is the San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake. Finding these is always a highlight. Though they can certainly be found much lower, I only seem to see them at over 6000 feet:

San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra)

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Finally, one of the truly cool herps of the region is the Southern Rubber Boa. While they are not quite endemic to the San Bernardino Mountains (also being found in the San Jacintos and possibly other ranges), the majority of the known localities are here. These boas are almost exclusively known from habitats at 5000 to 8000 feet elevation.

Southern Rubber Boas (Charina umbratica)

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I've wanted to do this post for a long time, but it took so long to get around to finding a live Mountain Garter! I hope you enjoyed it.

Now, is anyone going to do the San Jacintos? Lagunas? Tehachapis? Sierras? White Mountains?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 12th, 2013, 11:26 pm

great post, I enjoyed seeing the great diversity of herps. I to frequent the san gabriel mountains for herping, in fact it is my favorite spot. HAve yet to see a slender salamander but made up for it with Ensatina and newts. Newts my goodness are the most common herp for me, I even get more excited about the common western fence lizard nowadays :lol:

And congratulations on finding the yellow legged frogs. I was looking for them but figured they were all extirpated from the area. My light has rekindled in hopes of finding them! 8-)

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fieldnotes » June 13th, 2013, 12:30 am

Too cool! that was an awesome post, very interesting. :beer:

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 13th, 2013, 6:12 am

Nice Jonathan,
Was this just what you've seen, or meant to be comprehensive? If the latter... missed a few, most notably crotes. Ca kings, Red Coaches and Patch's can be found as well.
Coastal HL's, Whiptails and Gilberts round out the lizards, although legless and desert nights are possible in the right spots. I can add all those later (gotta go to work) but for now, since flipping season is over...
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:thumb: jim
Oh yeah...Congrats and good job on the yellow leg...sounds like quite the effort, for quite the find... :thumb:

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 13th, 2013, 9:15 am

Thanks Jim! I meant it to be comprehensive of the things that are highly characteristic of the mountains, but also include a smattering of other herps that are also found when you go up there. So I didn't include quite everything.

Of the stuff you listed, the only ones I've found at elevation in the Gabes/Berdoos are crotes and whiptails. But you're right that the others are up there too.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Norman D » June 13th, 2013, 9:17 am

Nice job! There aren't any rattlesnakes there? lol

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by RobertH » June 13th, 2013, 2:03 pm

Very nice idea for a post, Jonathan.

To round out the picture, here are a helleri, king and a patchnose, all from the lower elevations of the San Gabriels:

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Robert

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Norman D » June 13th, 2013, 2:37 pm

Beautiful helleri Robert!

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 13th, 2013, 5:47 pm

Norman D wrote:Nice job! There aren't any rattlesnakes there? lol
There are a lot!
When I am having a bad herping day I can typically count on them to cheer me up with a quick glimpse.
Of course you cant pose them or anything so that explains my lack of pictures for them.
One time I noticed a baby southern pacific crawling on my boot. I am not kidding either, I should have took a picture...but I was sane and just froze.
Here is a video of it slithering away into a caved in burrow after started breathing again :lol:

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 14th, 2013, 8:46 am

Lets see... from the Berdoos...
Red Coach
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Sd gopher (coastal slopes)
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Desert slope SD/GB intergrade
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Cal King (south slopes)
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North (desert) slopes
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Uhhhhh... Rosy Boas... :shock: (northern slope intergrades)
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Patchnose (S.h. vigultea) west siiiiiddeee
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S.h. hexalepsis Mid range to eastern extent (possible vitgultea intergrade)... dor
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Desert slope Mojavensis
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Desert-phase Z from desert slopes
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Lyre (desert slopes below Big Bear)
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North slope Longnose
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Deep Creek Glossy
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Desert Slope Scute
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Helleri
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Actually... lots and LOTS of Helleri... :o
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Speck
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3 specks on 1 flip (desert slopes)
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Bout the only snakes I don't have from the Berdoo's are SRB (seen them flipped... just never flipped one myself... :roll: ) and Mormon Racer, which I been trying for, for a decade... :shock: And Tantilla, from the coastal slopes. :?


Legless Lizard (coastal slopes)
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Night lizard (desert slopes)
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Yellow Back Spiny (desert slopes)
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Coastal HL
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Hypo SAL (Lake Arrowhead)
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Desert slope Leopards
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Gilberts
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Guess that's it... :crazyeyes: 8-) jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Jeff Teel » June 14th, 2013, 10:23 am

Blind snakes too, Jim. I'm sure they are on coastal slopes and desert slopes of the berdoos. I have got one in the Cajon Pass, so I'm sure they are all through the berdoos.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 14th, 2013, 10:49 am

Jeff Teel wrote:Blind snakes too, Jim. I'm sure they are on coastal slopes and desert slopes of the berdoos. I have got one in the Cajon Pass, so I'm sure they are all through the berdoos.
Thx a LOT Jeff... :roll: :lol: :lol: Nawwww... good to know. I'll put them on my list... 8-)
Jonathan... the Gabes are FAMOUS for some of the most vibrant hi-ele Coastal Rosys... and the hi-ele berdoo boas are just as nice, but rarely found. All the Berdoo boas I posted would be considered coastal/desert intergrades.
Might as well mention the weakest link in the Ensatina Ring complex... the 'Berdoo Klauberi"... found on like one or two hillsides. Josh, Phil and I found the spot (natural springs)... now just a matter of being there at the right time... :D jim
I (or Phil and I) are confident we'll eventually confirm Berdoo Aboreals, as well... 8-)

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 14th, 2013, 11:23 am

Thanks for all those contributions, especially the pics Jim.

Since everyone's talking about crotes...

The very first snake I ever saw in the San Gabriels was a helleri. My friends and I had hiked to the top of Mt. Wilson from Chantry Flats (14 mile round trip), and were a little tired about 12 miles in, looking to be done soon. I was the third guy in line and just sort of following the guys in front of me, when I suddenly saw my foot land inches from a huge helleri stretched out on the trail! I did an exaggerated quick-step tip-toe to get around it, and it didn't even move. My friends had both walked within a few inches of it themselves without even seeing it, but as it was parallel to the trail and in a dappled shadow area, it just sort of blended in. It didn't move an inch until I used a long branch to sort of lever it off the trail, and then it got all sorts of pissed off. I think it was digesting something large.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fundad » June 14th, 2013, 11:28 am

Mr. Toad says he is pretty upset he was left out of all the glory..

Therefore he is leaving the party.
Image

Fundad

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 14th, 2013, 11:34 am

Haha - yeah, I thought about posting a toad, but then I'd have had to post a Pseudacris hypochondriaca too, and then everyone would have wanted to be invited!

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by RobertH » June 14th, 2013, 11:39 am

One lizard species that I didn't expect to find in these mountains is the Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), but I've been able to see one at 4600' on the coastal side of the San Gabriels.
Nick and I are going there tomorrow.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 14th, 2013, 11:53 am

Fundad wrote:Mr. Toad says he is pretty upset he was left out of all the glory..

Therefore he is leaving the party.
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Fundad
:lol: :lol: :lol: On nights when I see NOTHING else.. I can usually count on seeing one of them... :roll:
I posted Western toads, Ca & Baja treefrogs from the Berdoo's yesterday. :crazyeyes: :lol: :lol: just glad I never see Bullfrogs at that spot (yet)
And while we're at it... here's another berdoo guy who didn't get an invite...
Berdoo coastal slopes Spade.
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:D jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fieldnotes » June 14th, 2013, 11:56 am

Here are a few that have yet to be posted…

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Coastal slope at 2000 ft., Coast Tiger Whiptail

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Coastal slope at 1465 ft., Garden Slender Salamander

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Coast slope at 2500 ft., San Diego Night Snake

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Desert slope at 4500 ft., Great Basin Gopher intergrade

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 14th, 2013, 12:13 pm

I just entered a couple of those whiptails at 4600 feet on the coast slope. I think I've seen them at 5000 feet on the other side. I wonder how high up they get?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 14th, 2013, 12:14 pm

Well now that it is an open party :beer: I thought I might invite a few others that have not been posted.
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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 14th, 2013, 12:44 pm

SD Night flipped at 6400 ft, by my little herping buddy (before your time, Nic... :lol: ) Carmen V... (Cedar Glen)
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Kinda highlights the diversity of the berdoo's, that it takes like half a dozen of us... to NAME them all... :roll: :lol: :lol:
GB Whips (t.tigris) and Zebras also found on desert slopes... 8-) jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by ramblon » June 14th, 2013, 5:11 pm

Image

The Crestline area is rich with critters such as this specimen, albeit this individual was documented on the move towards the desert slope.

Mentioned something about a "hefe"...

:beer:

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Jeff Teel » June 15th, 2013, 10:19 am

hahahahahaha....it's yo boy CC player. Meet at Rite Aid?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 15th, 2013, 11:33 am

Went to the gabes last night and walked 16 miles!
Only thing I found were newts, a DOR ringneck snake and a cult in robes surrounded by a ring of fire :?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 15th, 2013, 12:09 pm

deleted

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » June 15th, 2013, 12:17 pm

Since I'm the one who started this thread, I'll say it.

Posting pictures of people who aren't part of the forum and then mocking them isn't cool.

This is a herping forum. I'm sure there is some other forum on the internet where you can mock pictures of people.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 17th, 2013, 7:03 am

Since no one else will mention the 'elephant in the room'... I will, cause it causes me to ceaselessly wonder.
WHY... do theses two connected sections of the Transverse ranges differ so much, in regard to what can be found. NO WPT, Aboreals, Newts, and a lack of Slenders in the Berdoo's, and NO SRB in the Gabes? :shock: jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 17th, 2013, 10:44 pm

Just another Zonata from the San Gabriel mountains. Find from today.
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Image

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 18th, 2013, 6:04 am

Those are now 'no take', so I'm not sure you want to say you 'caught' it... :? jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 18th, 2013, 6:49 am

Without disclosing any information about exact locality or my occupation, I was in the position where I could collect data on the snake as well as move it to a traffic free information without repercussion.

But I see your point, thanks for the concern.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by ramblon » June 18th, 2013, 5:02 pm

Jon, how insensitive of me to publicly mock a tweaker lot lizard solely for the amusement of myself and a few friends. But I will file your complaint with the others, in the "who gives a $hit" department...

Thanks for the input, no hard feelings.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by ramblon » June 18th, 2013, 5:15 pm

Jim, I've often wondered the same, mostly in regards to the rubber. Certainly seems to be suitable habitat especially above 6K, maybe the difference in flora/drier nature of the San Gabriels? Maybe the age comparison of the ranges (fyi; I have no idea what that difference is but now I'm curious) could hold a potential answer, or maybe more questions?

Maybe Mr. Hoyer is following this thread and could offer some of his theories to the absence of the boa? Would certainly be enlightening and a good read.

Image

To add something "productive", heres a sickly tweaker looking boa from the Berdoo's...

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » June 18th, 2013, 5:19 pm

My first patch nose from the Gabes
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Image

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 19th, 2013, 3:41 pm

And... to my knowledge, no specks from the gabes, either... :shock:
I've often talked with fellow herpers (usually while getting skunked) bout why certain areas, that seem suitable for certain herps, may be devoid of them.
I think it may be something typically below our notice, like a slightly different soil composition, causing perhaps certain plants not to grow, that support certain rodents, that might be a primary food source for that herp. Or an insect is missing, so not enough lizards. Or overall humidity too low for a certain species to thrive.
In short... some missing link in the food chain or weather-related factor, that we don't notice/understand.
That's the best I can come up with... :roll: :lol: :lol: jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by mattg » June 21st, 2013, 7:14 pm

I have been told that there are specks in the gabes in one specific locale by a herpetologist and one of the rangers up there , has anyone ever found specks or rosys on the coastal side of the berdoos ?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fundad » June 21st, 2013, 9:28 pm

has anyone ever found specks or rosys on the coastal side of the berdoos ?
yes

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 22nd, 2013, 5:45 am

not a bunch... but some. jim

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by RobertH » June 22nd, 2013, 10:44 am

Since I'm the one who started this thread, I'll say it.

Posting pictures of people who aren't part of the forum and then mocking them isn't cool.

This is a herping forum. I'm sure there is some other forum on the internet where you can mock pictures of people.
I agree.

Robert

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fieldnotes » June 22nd, 2013, 11:11 am

mattg wrote:I have been told that there are specks in the gabes in one specific locale by a herpetologist and one of the rangers up there
I have heard rumors like these as well; too bad no one has the proof to back it up.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Jeff Teel » June 22nd, 2013, 5:01 pm

I have hunted 2 diff. spot in the gabes-(coastal slopes) hoping for mitch with no luck so far. As for the coastal slopes of the berdoos having mitch and boas...like Fundad said, yep. I have quite a few canyons, hillsides, etc that have both mitch and boas. IMO, the only spots where boas and mitch aren't are the extreme high elev. areas.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Robert Hansen » June 23rd, 2013, 8:51 pm

The absence of some stuff in the San Gabriels might be the result of climatic warming/drying cycles during the Pleistocene. Here's a possibly related example. In northern Baja California, you've got two significant mountain ranges: the Sierra Juarez and the more massive Sierra San Pedro Mártir. Sagebrush Lizards (Sceloporus graciosus) occupy the conifer-clad mountains of southern California, as well as occurring in the Sierra San Pedro Mártir. Curiously, despite the extensive Jeffrey Pine forests in the Sierra Juarez, Sagebrush Lizards are absent from this intervening range. They no doubt occupied those mountains at one time, but presumably "blinked out" during a drying/warming period, while the higher elevations of the Martirs to the south provided an adequate refuge for graciosus during this same time.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Jeff Teel » June 24th, 2013, 8:35 am

Wow, herping in both of those ranges in Baja quite a few times, I never even realized Sagebrush liz were not in the Juarez. They sure are everywhere in the Martirs.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by hellihooks » June 24th, 2013, 11:38 am

Seems like a good place to mention that this year's Grassy Hollow Herp talk, by Josh (Geckoguy) will be coming up towards the end of July (23rd?)
Rather than me providing all the live herps, for the talk... this year is turning into a collaborative effort, by present and past Ed specs... :thumb: we are borrowing what we can, from private collections... but with almost 90 herps in SB Co.. it's a challenge... :roll:
That said... most everything you can find in the transverse ranges (berdo/gabes) should be on hand to see.. if you have kids (or you're) into local herps. Many Nafha members should be there, and it's always a good time. Might be a good way to spend a late July afternoon...do a little Mt herping afterwards... :thumb: jim

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gopher
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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by gopher » December 8th, 2014, 10:08 pm

Old thread but here are a few unrepresented members of the san gabes.

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by Fieldnotes » December 9th, 2014, 3:39 pm

Since this post, new populations of Rana boylii have been found, one population was found lingering in the headwaters of the Kern River, Tulare County.

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jonathan
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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » December 9th, 2014, 4:01 pm

Fieldnotes wrote:Since this post, new populations of Rana boylii have been found, one population was found lingering in the headwaters of the Kern River, Tulare County.
Nice! Do you know who/how they were found?

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by RobertH » December 9th, 2014, 7:47 pm

Since this post, new populations of Rana boylii have been found, one population was found lingering in the headwaters of the Kern River, Tulare County.
And this relates how to "herps in the San Gabes and San Berdoos"? ;)

One a more serious note: Has anyone found any GB Collard Lizards on the desert (not the coastal) slopes of the San Gabes? I have learned of one confirmed (= vouchered) spot (at about 5000 feet, so actually IN the mountains) that we intend to check out next year.

Nick and I checked out the known spot on the coastal slopes twice last year, with no success. My sense is they are gone.

Robert

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by jonathan » December 9th, 2014, 8:19 pm

RobertH wrote:
Since this post, new populations of Rana boylii have been found, one population was found lingering in the headwaters of the Kern River, Tulare County.
And this relates how to "herps in the San Gabes and San Berdoos"? ;)
Because I referenced up above that they weren't found south of Fresno anymore.


RobertH wrote:One a more serious note: Has anyone found any GB Collard Lizards in the San Gabes? I have learned of one confirmed (= vouchered) spot on the desert slopes of the San Gabes (at about 5000 feet, so actually IN the mountains) that we intend to check out next year.
They've on the other slope too. I've seen one, but missed the voucher. However, I've seen vouchers from the same spot.

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by mattg » December 9th, 2014, 8:54 pm

They are definitely on the desert side I've seen pics from a hiking blog I've been meaning to look for them myself . I was happy to get one from la co. period this year .

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Re: Herps of the Gabes and Berdoos

Post by RobertH » December 9th, 2014, 9:04 pm

Interesting, guys. I have a feeling we might all be talking about the same spot :-) AndrewZ just pm'd me and he knew the spot, too. I guess it's not as top-secret or new as I had hoped. :lol: Then again, no one here has vouchered a Collared there yet. Alas, we'll have to wait a little while before we can give it a shot.

Jonathan: I understand about YLFs south of Fresno now. Thanks.

Robert

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