I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

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chrish
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I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by chrish » April 8th, 2014, 9:05 pm

I actually went out and did some herping...mostly because I had the opportunity to go out looking for a particular target lifer with TimCO (Tim Warfel).

We met up in San Angelo and headed out to a few top secret locations for our target critter. It was uncharacteristically cool and overcast which didn't bode well for flipping our target species, but we herped on anyway.

First critter we came across was this cute little Cottonmouth Tim flipped. This is way at the NW edge of their range (Concho County, TX) -

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We did spot a couple of Blanchard's Cricket Frogs and a Leopard Frog that was probably L. blairi but I didn't photograph those.

Just before noon, I managed to flip our target species. This was a big moment for both Tim and I since it was a lifer for both of us and for me, it was a species whose range I lived in for 4 years and never bothered looking for :oops: .

It wasn't a big Concho Watersnake (Nerodia paucimaculata), but it counted anyway!

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Buoyed by this success, Tim and I decided to go to a nearby area for some less targeted rock flipping. We went to a couple of spots, but the weather wasn't great, but we did find some critters.

We found a lot of Prairie Lizards (Sceloporus consobrinus) under rocks and basking near rocks. This was unusual since they aren't usually that abundant in this area. Most of the individuals we found appeared to be gravid females that were basking under/on the rocks on this cool day.

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We also found a couple of species of skinks, including

Short-lined Skinks (Plestiodon tetragrammus) both little...

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and big

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and we found a few Many-lined Skinks (Plestiodon multivirgatus) that I didn't bother trying to get a good photograph of. Here's a lousy in situ as found under a rock -

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Although this area has some other interesting lizards, like Holbrookia lacerata, the only other lizard we managed to see was the much less interesting Eastern Collared Lizard (Crotaphyus collaris) -

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Ground Snakes (Sonora semiannulata) are usually fairly common in this area, but we only found one -

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We flipped two Flathead Snakes (Tantilla gracilis) under one rock and I couldn't be bothered struggling to get anything more than a voucher shot since Tantilla are a royal PITA to photograph -

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I was happy to flip another species of Tantilla, the Plains Black-headed Snake (Tantilla nigriceps). These snakes aren't rare, but I hadn't seen one in many years and had no decent photo. I still don't have a decent photo... :oops:

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The only snake we found that was much bigger around than a pencil was this rather hungry looking Western Diamonback (Crotalus atrox). The scary thing about this critter was that we found it when I looked over by some rocks and saw Tim with his foot right next to it. I was so shocked I couldn't even get the words out to warn him other than to point and make some stupid sounds. Fortunately, he saw the snake and was able to lift his foot and leg out of harm's way while the snake crawled under a big rock. Scary moment though!

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Anyway, it was a fun day out, I got to herp with another FHF'er who I only knew from the phone and internet (thanks Tim!), I found a new lifer and checked off another species off my list of snake species of Texas, we added a new species to the HERP database and finally got some vouchered records for a previously unvouchered county. All in all, a fun day herping.

Chris

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Soopaman
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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by Soopaman » April 8th, 2014, 10:09 pm

Awesome, Chris! Congrats on the lifer.

Who knew after all this time that it would take none other than the likes of Tim to get you to go out and look for real herps (not amphibs!) and then, post pics of all things!

I hope he told you great things of his adventure in East Texas ;)

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by Gluesenkamp » April 10th, 2014, 8:50 am

Now, try to find a Brazos WS and your brace of rare Nerodia will be complete.

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by chrish » April 10th, 2014, 2:19 pm

Gluesenkamp wrote:Now, try to find a Brazos WS and your brace of rare Nerodia will be complete.
These trashy things? Been there done that. Toby and I found quite a few when we went looking back in the 90s.

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Actually, the problem is that I found it so long ago that I scanned the slide to produce a 500 pixel wide image because that was as large as I could ever imagine needing. :lol:

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by chrish » April 10th, 2014, 2:21 pm

Soopaman wrote:Awesome, Chris! Congrats on the lifer.

Who knew after all this time that it would take none other than the likes of Tim to get you to go out and look for real herps (not amphibs!) and then, post pics of all things!

I hope he told you great things of his adventure in East Texas ;)
Yeah, I know. He had to practically drag me up there. Actually it was kind of fun being part of his amazing quest. Hopefully he succeeds....as long as he doesn't hope for things like Tantilla atriceps and South Florida Rainbow Snakes.

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by John Williams » April 10th, 2014, 6:16 pm

Excellent stuff Chris. That's a trip I've told myself I would take the last three springs and have backed out each time, including this year. I had to grab my Dixon book and check the cottonmouth range. Neat find!

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by chrish » April 10th, 2014, 6:48 pm

John Williams wrote:Excellent stuff Chris. That's a trip I've told myself I would take the last three springs and have backed out each time, including this year. I had to grab my Dixon book and check the cottonmouth range. Neat find!
I've actually found them in Irion County, two counties to the west. I was surprised when I moved out that area in the 90s that Cottonmouths weren't that uncommon.

You need to get out there although flipping was pretty bad when we were there. We didn't see a single milksnake which is unusual. It is really dry and we hit a cool front. If they get any decent rains in the next few weeks, stuff will pick up.

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by Shane_TX » April 11th, 2014, 7:40 pm

Nice report Chris! I find your lack of enthusiasm toward the lizardly crotes somewhat snobby though :lol: Always enjoy seeing them. I'll be in OK next week and they're up there on my list. I think you've motivated me to make a dog-leg on the way home too. Those Nerodia have been on my should-see list for quite some time now and I've never made the time.

Shane

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by CTravis » April 11th, 2014, 9:16 pm

Thanks for sharing Chris. It looks like you experienced a really fun trip! I wouldn't mind seeing Tantilla nigriceps myself after flipping so many rocks in their range and only coming up with gracilis. :oops:

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by chrish » April 12th, 2014, 5:05 am

Shane_TX wrote:I find your lack of enthusiasm toward the lizardly crotes somewhat snobby though :lol: Always enjoy seeing them. I'll be in OK next week and they're up there on my list. I think you've motivated me to make a dog-leg on the way home too. Those Nerodia have been on my should-see list for quite some time now and I've never made the time.
Actually, the only uninteresting herp (?) we found that day was the atrox. I really like skinks in particular. I wish I had taken a decent photo of the multivirgatus. We whiffed on the other cool lizard that occurs around there - Holbrookia lacerata. I think I flipped one as something shot out from under a rock at 100mph but I never got eyes on it.

I lived 15 minutes from where we flipped the Concho Watersnake for almost 4 years and never bothered. You just have to make the time.
CTravis wrote:I wouldn't mind seeing Tantilla nigriceps myself after flipping so many rocks in their range and only coming up with gracilis. :oops:
I almost didn't recognize it as a nigriceps because it was so small (slightly longer than gracilis).
A local guy told me that was about normal size for them around there. That surprised me because the ones I used to find in far west Texas were 2-3 times that size.

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Re: I actually did some herping! - Central Texas

Post by Shane_TX » April 13th, 2014, 9:39 pm

I lived 15 minutes from where we flipped the Concho Watersnake for almost 4 years and never bothered. You just have to make the time.
That's Ionides bad so shame on you.

I really do hope the wx is favorable about five days from now.......great for late snowy owls but really putting a damper on my tentative herping plans.

Shane

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