Spring Break in Southern California

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Ted
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Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Ted » March 14th, 2014, 5:30 pm

Hey all,

So, after having been in New Hampshire for the past few months at college, I've been pretty starved for herps. Luckily my spring break was early this year, so I met with a few forum members, RobertH and gopher, for a few herping trips. First, on Sunday, I met Robert and Nicholas out in Riverside County.

Lizards were almost always visible, and a few different species were represented
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At this location, Red Diamond Rattlesnakes were quite common, but always a welcome sight!
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This Gopher Snake was pointed out to us by a hiker who, despite disliking snakes, was very open about them. It's always nice to come across that kind of attitude while out in the field.
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In the process of flipping rocks we managed to turn up a Garden Slender Salamander, probably one of the last things I expected to find.
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Monday, I met up with Greg (gopher) and one of his friends at the same area in Riverside. Between the three of us we managed a total of 20 snakes, mostly Red Diamond Rattlesnakes. Other than the ones pictured here, there were also a few Gophers, a Kingsnake, and a Coachwhip which either I didn't take a picture of or escaped a picture.

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The Rattlesnake in the next 3 pictures surprised us while we were taking a break. We had been sitting down for five minutes or so, when we heard it hiss behind us. We all spun around and noticed it sitting under a pepper tree. We took it out for some pics, and I swear it's flipping us off in the 3rd picture!
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I came across these 2 Rattlesnakes mating, and it was really cool to see! Both of the following pictures are in situ, the snakes never got disturbed and we left before they finished. Greg got some good video of it I think, I hope he'll post it.
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These two snakes treated us to a fascinating display of behavior. The male was very protective of the female, and actually circled himself around with his head on top of her so that anyone would have to go through him to get to her. After a while the female got a bit annoyed with him though, and whacked him with her tail a few times.
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On Wednesday, Greg and I went through some of Eastern OC, and while it was a bit of a slow day we did manage a skink and a Garden Slender.

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Last but not least, on Thursday Greg, his friend, and I went out to Anza-Borrego State Park for the late afternoon/evening. It was a bit cool, and the moon was bright, but we didn't go home empty handed. We fist took a short hike up a canyon with a permanent steam. The first find was this dead California Treefrog. Does anyone have any idea as to what may have happened to it? Aside from a large wound in its side, it seemed in a perfectly natural position, and a weird position to die in (in my opinion).
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There were also a god amount of small Red-spotted Toads
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One Baja California Treefrog was also found. Has anyone else found them in this area? All other frogs found were California Treefrogs, so it seemed a little out of place.
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We tried a bit of roadcruising, but it was slow going so we stopped and hiked around for a bit. This Shovel-nosed Snake turned up on the crawl, but was the last herp to be seen that night (by me at least, I think Greg and his friend saw a dead Lyre).
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All in all it's been a good week, but it's just about time to be going back east. Hopefully it will thaw soon, so I can do some herping out there! Otherwise, I can't wait to be back in California come May.
Ted :beer:

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MarcLinsalata
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by MarcLinsalata » March 15th, 2014, 12:22 am

Good stuff man - there should be a lot of migrations happening now back home (or back East to you) with Spotteds, Jeffersons and pretty much every other salamander crossing rods going to vernals - good luck!!

RobertH
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by RobertH » March 15th, 2014, 1:32 am

Ted,

It was great we had a chance to herp together in the short term you were here, and I am glad it was a productive week for you. Your pictures turned out really well. I especially like this shot:

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Awesome!

Greg already briefed me on the somewhat disappointing AB trip. That place is always tougher to herp than it sounds, at least on foot. For road cruising it may have been just a little too early and chilly this time.

We look forward to seeing you again in May!

Robert

craigb
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Post by craigb » March 15th, 2014, 6:18 am

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sebastes
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by sebastes » March 15th, 2014, 9:19 am

Amazing shots! They put my ruber pics from last week to shame haha. They were all pretty lazy that day.

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Phillodactylus
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Phillodactylus » March 15th, 2014, 10:29 am

Great job, Ted! Glad you had such success. That is a gnarly picture of that dead CA Treefrog. Almost as though he died very suddenly, and in that spot.... Are Botflies a thing out here? Thanks for sharing all that with us!

-Phil

daniel
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by daniel » March 15th, 2014, 11:53 am

Great photos!

My guess is that tree frog died from a Gordiid (horsehair worm). They usually parasitize insects, but are sometimes found in aquatic vertebrates that have ingested insect hosts. The "exit" wound looks pretty large but that could just be from the carcass drying out... anyway, just a guess. :)

Daniel

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Ted
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Ted » March 15th, 2014, 12:29 pm

Thanks everyone! I can't wait to be back for more :beer:

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SurfinHerp
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by SurfinHerp » March 15th, 2014, 7:26 pm

Way to go RuberMan!

So many excellent photos of red diamonds, and other herps as well. Glad you had some success on your Spring break. Don't feel bad about your time in Anza-Borrego. It's still too early for most species to come out in good numbers. I bet you'll have much better luck out here in May (I'm herping ABDSP right now and not seeing much either).

Talk to ya later,

Jeff

Zach_Lim
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Zach_Lim » March 15th, 2014, 7:46 pm

Amazing shots.

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Nature Nate
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Nature Nate » March 15th, 2014, 8:37 pm

If you found that baja chorus frog in the canyon of palms that I'm thinking of then that is definitely out of place. I've vouchered tons of frogs from that local over the past five years and have only seen the California tree frogs. Thanks for the field report!

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Ted
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Ted » March 16th, 2014, 4:58 am

Nature Nate wrote:If you found that baja chorus frog in the canyon of palms that I'm thinking of then that is definitely out of place. I've vouchered tons of frogs from that local over the past five years and have only seen the California tree frogs. Thanks for the field report!
It was found in the Palm Canyon indeed, and certainly seemed out of place.

RobertH
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by RobertH » March 16th, 2014, 10:21 am

Ted,

You may want to shoot Fieldnotes a pm about that Pacific Tree Frog. He would know whether this is a range extension or "just" a rare find. Even if it's just the latter, it's still significant and an valuable data point for the database.

EDIT: So I did a little online research and found this amphibian survey report from 2000:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q= ... eTFAveIMzQ

It shows that hypochondriaca (called regilla in the report) were found in several canyons in AB, but not at the canyon where Ted found his.

So, it seems like it's probably not a range extension, but quite a rare find, since it didn't turn up in the survey and no one else here has found any there, either, and lots of us have been to that canyon over the years.

Robert

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gopher
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by gopher » March 16th, 2014, 4:34 pm

Yeah the Baja was really cool! After we dropped you off at your car Ted we walked back to look for more. Another one was spotted and I heard a call from up stream.
Hard to believe that the Baja's we found received the most attention :lol:

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gopher
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by gopher » March 18th, 2014, 8:31 pm

Ted wrote:I came across these 2 Rattlesnakes mating, and it was really cool to see! Both of the following pictures are in situ, the snakes never got disturbed and we left before they finished. Greg got some good video of it I think, I hope he'll post it.
Here is a clip of the video (shortened because it gets really repetitive) Which isn't necessarily bad :crazyeyes:

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Fieldnotes » March 19th, 2014, 2:12 am

First, interesting post! :beer:
Western Toad, Red-spotted Toad, California Chorus Frog, and Pacific Chorus Frog are all known from that canyon. However, as for the man-made pond, with all the other species colonizing it, Pacific Chorus Frogs were bound to turn up there too. That site is arid, yet amazingly, Pacific Chorus Frogs occupy even more desolate oases and seeps to the north and south of that location.

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Fundad
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Re: Spring Break in Southern California

Post by Fundad » March 19th, 2014, 5:17 am

Nice work, .. :thumb:

Fundad

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