Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

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krismunk
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Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » September 28th, 2014, 11:45 am

It's the Danish guy again...

I wrote an RFI in relation to my upcoming family visit to the Woodlands a few months ago - http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... 10&t=20081. This is just a little update to remind you guys in case anyone has the time and interest to meet and go herping together and to try to squeeze even more info out of you than that for which I am already very grateful ;)

Anyway, we arrive Saturday night, October 4 and leave two weeks later. The first week or so we're staying at my sister's in the Woodlands going on a number of short east Texas trips. In terms of herping locations I'm looking at the Gulf Coast, Sam Houston Nat'l Forest, Brazos Bend, perhaps Big Thicket & of course WG Jones State Forest less than a mile from my sister's house.

Following that some time Saturday - Monday we're headed west for 4-7 days. We'll make it at least as far as the Hill Country, perhaps even all the way to Big Bend, depending largely on the plans of our hosts & the patience of my kids in the back seat.

As mentioned I am thankful for the help I have already received but if anyone could offer a few tips on finding corals or on Hill Country herping in general I'd be even more grateful. While certainly very interested I am a little hesitant to solicit help for Big Bend herping not knowing whether we'll even make it that far.

As almost anything is a lifer, anything is interesting.

Drop me a PM if you want to meet ;)


PS: Any tips for finding armadillos - just evening road cruising pretty much anywhere you might also hope to find snakes, or?

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chrish
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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by chrish » September 28th, 2014, 7:37 pm

I wouldn't bother going to Big Bend to herp in October. There are herps there and it is certainly beautiful, but its a long way for limited herps at that time of year.

As for Coralsnakes, October is actually a great month for them. They are generally active in the mild days of october and into the warmer nights if there are any. I think they are easier to find in east TX than in central Texas although I have found them in both areas in October. Every one I have found at that time of year has been a daytime/crepuscular find rather than at night and they have all been on the crawl, not under stuff. Keep your eyes open for them as you hike around the parks and driving quiet roads.

October can be interesting in the hill country for Alligator Lizards and some other herps. All the hill country areas are protected (State Parks, etc.) but you can hike and see some stuff, depending where you go. Some hill country spots, like Lost Maples State Park, are quite crowded in October due to people coming to see the leaves turn (which is pretty lame in TX, but this is the best area we have).

If you are herping in the Jones State Forest, keep an eye out for the endangered Red-cockaded Woodpecker. That is a great place for them. And of course, herping in state parks is prohibited. You can hike and look, but it is hands off.

I think you should spend as much time as possible around the lake in the Sam Houston State Forest. It is close to you and along the edge of the lake I have had good luck herping.

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krismunk
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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » September 28th, 2014, 9:42 pm

Thanks, Chris :)

A couple of follow up questions, though...

How about road cruising in the Hill Country?

A Big Bend trip would not primarily be for herping but since you mention it, is October not a good time for herping there?

The lake you mention, I guess you're referring to Lake Conroe?

... oh, and I already read about the woodpeckers, will make sure to check them out.

Hands off is fine :)

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by chrish » September 29th, 2014, 10:26 am

How about road cruising in the Hill Country?

I've never had much luck road crusing in the hill country except for a few productive spots. Again the hill country is a large area, so it depends where you are. The interesting thing about the hill country is that although roadcruising is slow, there are some neat critters to be found.

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A Big Bend trip would not primarily be for herping but since you mention it, is October not a good time for herping there?

It isn't that it is terrible, it is just that it is getting cool pretty quickly at night and nocturnal activity is pretty limited in my experience. I guess if you are low enough (e.g. the river road) there will be a few things moving?

The lake you mention, I guess you're referring to Lake Conroe?

Yes. Look at the maps and find the forest roads that go all the way to the lake (or close to it). Herping around the lake edge can be productive even in the cool weather. Flipping logs or bark at the base of dead trees can produce copperheads, etc..

oh, and I already read about the woodpeckers, will make sure to check them out.

Learn to recognize their trees (it is pretty easy since they are usually prominent marked with paint!) and then learn to hear their calls. I find them easier to see in the late afternoon as they return to their nest areas after foraging. You hear them before you see them usually.

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by John Williams » September 30th, 2014, 6:50 pm

There are some preserves right near your sister's house along Spring Creek that could have some interesting herps. They should have more wetlands and bottomland habitats so you could different species than the mostly upland species you'd find at Jones.

You'll be in a good area for buttermilks. Try walking the edges of upland forest and grassland or maintained areas (like pipeline right of ways). They like to forage in the dappled light at the transition zone.

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 1st, 2014, 2:37 am

Thanks, John :)
John Williams wrote:There are some preserves right near your sister's house along Spring Creek that could have some interesting herps. They should have more wetlands and bottomland habitats so you could different species than the mostly upland species you'd find at Jones.
I'll make sure to check out the wetlands as well. On Google Earth I've found some wetlands that look nice along the San Jacinto River just north of my sister's house as well - don't know whether that's public land though.
John Williams wrote:You'll be in a good area for buttermilks. Try walking the edges of upland forest and grassland or maintained areas (like pipeline right of ways). They like to forage in the dappled light at the transition zone.
Wedged in between my sister's house and Jones is a narrow tract of woodland with a clearing along a powerline cutting through the length of it. I had planned on checking it out regardless. Now I have an idea what to hope for :-)

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 5th, 2014, 12:00 pm

Arrived late last night, haven't had a chance to do any serious herping yet but already seen one snake species, one turtle species, two lizard species, two anuran species + several annoyingly unID'ed little frogs jumping into small pools in the woods and one equally annoyingly unID'ed stocky brownish 20 inch snake slithering away through the leaves in dappled late morning light.

All within ½ mile of my sister's house and the result of just a little morning stroll - loving it already :)

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by chrish » October 6th, 2014, 3:41 pm

krismunk wrote:Arrived late last night, haven't had a chance to do any serious herping yet but already seen one snake species, one turtle species, two lizard species, two anuran species + several annoyingly unID'ed little frogs jumping into small pools in the woods and one equally annoyingly unID'ed stocky brownish 20 inch snake slithering away through the leaves in dappled late morning light.

All within ½ mile of my sister's house and the result of just a little morning stroll - loving it already :)
That's pretty impressive for your first day! Good luck and keep us updated.

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krismunk
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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 6th, 2014, 6:14 pm

chrish wrote:
krismunk wrote:Arrived late last night, haven't had a chance to do any serious herping yet but already seen one snake species, one turtle species, two lizard species, two anuran species + several annoyingly unID'ed little frogs jumping into small pools in the woods and one equally annoyingly unID'ed stocky brownish 20 inch snake slithering away through the leaves in dappled late morning light.

All within ½ mile of my sister's house and the result of just a little morning stroll - loving it already :)
That's pretty impressive for your first day! Good luck and keep us updated.
OK.

Ending a little to the north I finished the day with 14 species including one of my most wanted (counting DOR's, 13 without, 12 if D means dying). I added a further four or five today (still uncertain about an ID), all five within a mile of the house.

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 7th, 2014, 7:26 pm

... & after day three I'm up to 24 species - counting DOR's and two uncertain ID's I'll need confirmation for once I get around to uploading pics. All are still from Montgomery County.

For the multitude of ophidiophiles snake count is at 13 / 9 species, sadly with too many DOR's.

NASA & Galveston tomorrow, don't expect any real herping time so might well not be padding the numbers...

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 11th, 2014, 6:46 pm

... haven't had much time in the field these past days so numbers are coming to a screeching halt. I'm somewhere around 26 species so far - only about 21 alive, some of the DOR's downright heartbreaking :(

Favourite live herp so far is a candy cane :)

We're headed for Big Bend tomorrow stopping en route in San Antonio and spending the night in Del Rio. At Big Bend we'll sleep two nights in Terlingua, Wednesday night in Marathon. Maybe we'll make a stop for a night somewhere on the way back to the Woodlands, maybe not.

Any and all herping trips for this trip are more than welcome though I might not see them if they're written aften 9 AM Sunday, TX time. I expect to at least come across a number of lizards hiking the desert, hope for at least a couple of snakes as well but realize with limited herping time and late in the season for road cruising I might well end up disappointed in that respect.

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 17th, 2014, 6:49 pm

I'm going back home tomorrow, don't expect to find any more herps.

Following a wonderful trip to Big Bend (OK herp wise) I'm at app. 34 live species + a handful of DOR's and a couple of unfound anuran callers. While one could have done better on a dedicated herping trip I'm very satisfied given that this was a family visit / vacation with limited herping time.

Thanks for the tips. Some were put to good use, others didn't pan out, others still I never found the time for. Most herps / species, however, we're found by just keeping my eyes open wherever I happened to be anyway.

I'll have a few ID questions once I get my pictures uploaded, report will be up some time after they're sorted out.

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by chrish » October 18th, 2014, 11:03 am

Glad you had a good trip. Look forward to the post!

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Re: Houston area & westwards, October 4-18

Post by krismunk » October 20th, 2014, 6:59 am

chrish wrote:Glad you had a good trip. Look forward to the post!
Thanks.

ID ?'s up now - http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=20773.

The sooner I get them in place the sooner you may see a report ;)


PS: At least some of the pics in the report will be at least a little better. Some may also think some of the other critters a little more interesting :)

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