March Madness

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Zach_Lim
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March Madness

Post by Zach_Lim » March 26th, 2014, 2:20 pm

In short, I had an amazing March. We were lucky to have a few sprinkles of rain here and there, which really helped to get the snakes moving. I focused not only on checking off the usual suspects of the list, but also focused on checking out new spots that I have marked on Google Earth for far too long.

I apologize in advance for the quality of photographs- still learning how to use the DSLR correctly.

Pacific Gopher Snake - large adult that I found at a new spot - San Mateo County, CA

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Northern Pacific Rattlesnake- Beautiful yearling NorPac butchered by my camera work - San Mateo County, CA

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Northern Rubber Boa - San Mateo County, CA

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Coast Mountain Kingsnake - Did not expect a Z this early in the year. - Santa Cruz County, CA

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I was beyond thrilled- it is no surprise that zonata are my favorite native snake!

I went back out to the same spot the next day to try the rocks again. No zonata, but did find this odd looking fellow far away from water:

Santa Cruz Black Salamander - Santa Cruz County, CA

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Coast Garter Snake - A very dark individual with interesting labials - San Mateo County, CA

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Northern Rubber Boa - San Mateo County, CA

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer - First Coluber of the year was a pretty adult - San Mateo County, CA

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Went back to my nightsnake spot and found another one of these rear-fanged guys underneath a dirt clog, at Jared's dismay!

California Nightsnake - ..... County.....

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In the middle of the month, I took Luke Talltree, Lawrence, and Jim Maughn to my Nightsnake spot. Lawrence, in the nicest way possible, broke my heart and told me that we were in Santa Cruz County, just outside the border of San Mateo County....still a NAHERP county record nightsnake (refer to my February post)...but not a Mateo record!

Some snakes from that day:

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake - Spotted by Luke as it basked by a large outcropping - Santa Cruz County, CA

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Lawrence was able to find out target species of the day, under a rock that I neglected to flip in the morning!

Coast Mountain Kingsnake - Santa Cruz County, CA

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The day after, Luke, Jared, and I tried out luck down in Santa Cruz proper. Not much....

San Francisco Alligator - in-situ shot of a beautiful adult watching me from a fence post - Santa Cruz County, CA

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My hiking buddy Cam (steepravine.com) hooked it up with a 50 mm lens. Excited, I went to my local ensatina spot in the City to test it out. Under some eucalytpus logs, I found one gorgeous adult. Wish I figured out how to get a wider Depth of field....

Yellow-eyed Ensatina - San Francisco, CA

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Back to snakes.

Northern Rubber Boa - San Mateo County, CA

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Santa Cruz Garter Snake - San Mateo County, CA

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Pacific Gopher Snake - I found this large (easily 4 feet long) while parking my car! Spotted it through the windshield while pulling into a spot! - San Mateo County, CA

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Northern Pacific Rattlesnake - first Crote under a piece of tin I laid out years ago - San Mateo County, CA

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Exploring Luke's spot where he got a Z a few days prior, I found a perfect sandstone rock on rock structure....

Coast Mountain Kingsnake - my second personally flipped one of the year - San Mateo County, CA

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The snake was under a piece of sandstone in the middle of a fallen tree's root system. You can see the rock in this photo (you'll know which one)-

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More habitat shots.

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This past weekend, after taking some time off to attend a 3 day long hardcore and pop-punk (shhh....don't tell my punk friends that I secretly love pop-punk!) in Oakland, I hit the field for some solo hiking and herping.

Starting along the coast, I spied my first SF Garters of the year:

San Francisco Garter Snake - San Mateo County, CA

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After a session with some blue and red, I headed up into the mountains.

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If you followed my narration, you will know that my previous nightsnakes were from Santa Cruz County, not San Mateo County. Although still a county record, I was bummed! So, I made sure I was in San Mateo County (this time, without question- I was in the heart of San Mateo County) and looked for similar habitat.

California Nightsnake - County Record - San Mateo County, CA

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Yup, two county records so far in 2014!

We have 5 more days of March left. Let's see what I can add to this thread!

Edit:

Breeding pair of Crotes:

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Edit: March 30, 2014.

As I will be stuck at work until the weekend, my March has officially ended. Work is probably the most painful, mentally constricting aspect of daily life. Haha.

So, I leave you with my recent finds from this past weekend to close out the month.

I found quite a few gopher snakes while hiking up to some rocks I have never checked before. One was HUGE!

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A couple of these speedsters made an appearance under some of the bigger rocks:

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A yearling Crote under a rock on rock situation that quickly bolted down a crack (read: he thinks he is a Z!)

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This is what happens when I bring my non-herper, old high school buddy out on a hike.

He lifts a rock and goes "Is this a good one?"

Shaking me head forever....

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The next day, it poured rain. Jared Heald and I hit the redwoods to see the newt migration and I ended up finding two of these things:

California Giant Salamander- San Mateo CO

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Habitat

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Hungry slugs

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While driving there, I noticed a DOR.

Coast Garter Snake

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Sorry to end on a sad note, but DOR's are a part of herping and make for good records.

So yeah, had a great month, for sure!

Here is to a great April.

mwentz
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Re: March Madness

Post by mwentz » March 26th, 2014, 2:40 pm

Looks like you had a great month so far! Love those Z's, the one that you have pictured in your hands has a great head pattern.
You didn't think you would find any this year, and yet you found 3 in March. I wonder how many you could find in a good year.

We just had some good rain up my way, so I think Z season has been extended a few weeks. I don't know about the Bay area, but maybe you guys got some rain also.

Keep up the good work :beer:

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Fundad
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Re: March Madness

Post by Fundad » March 26th, 2014, 2:50 pm

Nice Zonata.. Good Work

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JAMAUGHN
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Re: March Madness

Post by JAMAUGHN » March 26th, 2014, 4:48 pm

Great finds and narration, Zach. I'm glad I got to be along for the ride on a few of these. April will be blainvilli and lateralis month!

JimM

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Mr.Talltree
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Re: March Madness

Post by Mr.Talltree » March 26th, 2014, 5:13 pm

That nightsnake is a nicesnake--a real looker. :beer:

RobertH
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Re: March Madness

Post by RobertH » March 26th, 2014, 7:19 pm

You're killing it, Zach. A(nother) truly great month for you. :thumb:

Robert

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gopher
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Re: March Madness

Post by gopher » March 26th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Geeze Zach great job yet again. I am tempted to head up north now!
Nice boas and county records of course. Go find an adult Northern Pacific during your last week to really get my blood boiling :lol:
Good luck

Zach_Lim
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Re: March Madness

Post by Zach_Lim » March 27th, 2014, 8:05 am

Thanks, guys!

It has been a great March, for sure!

How did I forget this pair of breeding Crotes...

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Rancorrye
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Re: March Madness

Post by Rancorrye » March 27th, 2014, 6:30 pm

Awesome stuff! Looks to me like you're getting a hang of that camera. Makes me want to plan another trip out that way. First two times I didn't have much luck. Maybe third time will be a charm.

Rye

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Fieldherper
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Re: March Madness

Post by Fieldherper » March 27th, 2014, 9:32 pm

Great stuff! The z with the red head head is smokin' and one of the nicest I've ever seen!! Always awesome to see good finds from my favorite old stomping grounds.

FH

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LouB747
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Re: March Madness

Post by LouB747 » March 28th, 2014, 10:45 pm

What a great mix. Nice to see some habitat shots. I've gotta get back up there!

Zach_Lim
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Re: March Madness

Post by Zach_Lim » March 30th, 2014, 8:55 am

Now with more Z's!

Damn....4 this month....2 personally flipped, 1 in front of me, 1 next to me by a non-herper.....

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liucommajames
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Re: March Madness

Post by liucommajames » March 31st, 2014, 2:15 am

I come back from my 8 month hiatus from "internet herping" and you just rub it in. I have found ONE snake this year. one measly SC garter.

Let me know when you and Jim go looking for horned lizards. I need to find some adults in the bay area and i want to film some eating hopefully.

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Ross Padilla
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Re: March Madness

Post by Ross Padilla » April 5th, 2014, 3:17 am

Love the zonata and SF Garter. :thumb:

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