summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
bgorum
Posts: 618
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Contact:

summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by bgorum » November 10th, 2014, 7:06 pm

The summer of 2013 (which you can view here- http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=17411) was one of my best ever. So I suppose it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the summer 0f 2014 was, well……………, just not as good herp wise. The reason is pretty straight forward. I just didn’t spend nearly as much time in the field this year as I did last. Anyhow, here is what I did find this summer.

ImageGorum_140609_2849 by bgorum, on Flickr
June 9th found me hiking at the volcanoes west of Albuquerque during the evening sweet light and just hoping for something to photograph before it was gone. I looked up ahead and saw this beauty of a Prairie Rattlesnake out crawling and knew I’d found it!

ImageGorum_140609_2835 by bgorum, on Flickr
Fledgling Mockingbird from that same evening’s hike. There were three off these in a nest in a cholla that had housed a clutch of Thrasher eggs earlier in the season.

ImageGorum_140621_3081 by bgorum, on Flickr
June 21st and a Desert Cottontail at Bosque del Apache

ImageGorum_140627_3127_8_9 by bgorum, on Flickr
June 27th and some rock art. (Space guy walking his coyote by the tail)?

ImageGorum_140629_3154 by bgorum, on Flickr
June 29th and an adult and juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron working a drying pool at Bosque del Apache.

ImageGorum_140629_3208 by bgorum, on Flickr
Great Egret working the same pool

ImageGorum_140629_3300 by bgorum, on Flickr
They didn’t seem to care much for the crayfish, maybe because fish were plentiful.

ImageGorum_140629_3327 by bgorum, on Flickr
Juvenile picked one up, but threw it back down without eating it

ImageGorum_140629_3333 by bgorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_140629_3394 by bgorum, on Flickr
Dead and dying Bullfrog metamorphs in another drying pool. (In New Mexico that is a good thing).

ImageGorum_140701_3410_1_2 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 1st and the view right before I got drenched

ImageGorum_140701_3414_5_6 by bgorum, on Flickr
A nice wet road I was driving down with my heater cranked trying to dry off and warm up

ImageGorum_140701_3422 by bgorum, on Flickr
Lightning on the plains west of Albuquerque

ImageGorum_140701_3427_8_9 by bgorum, on Flickr

ImageGorum_140702_3582 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 2nd and a Spiny Softshell crossing a levee road at Bosque del Apache

ImageGorum_140705_3598 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 5th and a gravid Lesser Earless Lizard

ImageGorum_140705_3600_1_2 by bgorum, on Flickr
Rain over Albuquerque

ImageGorum_140708_3624 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 8th and lightning over JA volcano

ImageGorum_140708_3645_6_7-Edit by bgorum, on Flickr
and a rainstorm to the west

ImageGorum_140708_3682-Edit by bgorum, on Flickr
The volcanoes, Albuquerque, and the Sandias just after dusk

ImageGorum_140714_3711 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 14th and a Hognose Snake cruised west of Albuquerque

ImageGorum_140717_3780 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 17th and a Round-tailed Horned Lizard

ImageGorum_140717_3838 by bgorum, on Flickr
Male Lesser Earless Lizard

ImageGorum_140723_3857 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 23rd- Silver-leaf Nightshade

ImageGorum_140728_3864 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 28th and a neonate Greater Earless Lizard at Bosque del Apache

ImageGorum_140728_3871 by bgorum, on Flickr
Neonate Western Diamondback cruised on the way home that evening

ImageGorum_140730_3878 by bgorum, on Flickr
July 30th and another Lesser Earless Lizard

ImageGorum_140730_3881 by bgorum, on Flickr
A female still showing breeding season coloration on July 30th

ImageGorum_140730_3888_89_90 by bgorum, on Flickr
Later that evening I found the lightest Western Diamondback I have ever seen.

ImageGorum_140730_3951_2_3 by bgorum, on Flickr
It was striking to see this individual stretched out on the black basalt. Unfortunately I was unable to get any in situ shots before it bolted. Most of the snakes from this location are medium to dark in tone, often reddish. This animal is extremely atypical for this population.

ImageGorum_140801_4010 by bgorum, on Flickr
August 1st and a small Massasauga flipped at an illegal dump site

ImageGorum_140801_4018 by bgorum, on Flickr
Later that night my girlfriend and I could hear spade foots calling from near hear house. We did a little four-wheeling in the rain and found a chorus of New Mexico Spadefoots…

ImageGorum_140801_4030 by bgorum, on Flickr
……..and Couch Spadefoots

ImageGorum_140804_4053 by bgorum, on Flickr
August 4th and a Prairie Rattlesnake crawling through an illegal dumpsite

ImageGorum_140805_4076 by bgorum, on Flickr
Foraging Gopher Snake at the volcanoes on August 5th

ImageGorum_140805_4084 by bgorum, on Flickr
Winter Fat and the Sandia mountains

ImageGorum_140808_4110 by bgorum, on Flickr
On August 8th Todd Battey and I were looking for Rock Rattlesnakes and just about the time I was beginning to thing we were going to get skunked Todd got buzzed by this little fella.

ImageGorum_140811_4113 by bgorum, on Flickr
Great Plains Skink doing its best Pinacate Beetle imitation on August 11th

ImageGorum_140811_4125 by bgorum, on Flickr
Massasauga we cruised that night

ImageGorum_140814_4143 by bgorum, on Flickr
August 14th and Couch Spadefoot tadpoles

ImageGorum_140814_4150 by bgorum, on Flickr
Same pond, but these are Spea

ImageGorum_140819_4151_2 by bgorum, on Flickr
Thread-leaf Groundsel and Volcan

ImageGorum_140824_4157 by bgorum, on Flickr
August 24th and a Massasauga crossing a sand road during the evening sweet light

ImageGorum_140824_4173 by bgorum, on Flickr
A truck was coming and I had to move the snake, but I wasn’t about to waste that light. I got off just a couple frames before the sun dipped down below the surrounding vegetation.

ImageGorum_140824_4180 by bgorum, on Flickr
Cruised a couple more that night

ImageGorum_140824_4183 by bgorum, on Flickr
As well as several Prairie Rattlesnake, including this one that appeared to be foraging along the shoulder. (There was a lot of rodent activity that night as well).

ImageGorum_140903_0002 by bgorum, on Flickr
Double Rainbow over Los Pinos mountains on September 4th

ImageGorum_140904_0001 by bgorum, on Flickr
Prairie Rattlesnake out on the crawl on September 9th

ImageGorum_140904_0003 by bgorum, on Flickr
Glossy Snake just after sunset. Some guy on a motorcycle stopped and watched me lying on the ground as I photographed this snake. Finally the guy said, “Oh, there’s a snake. I wondered what you were doing”.

ImageGorum_140904_0035 by bgorum, on Flickr
Neonate Massasauga

ImageGorum_140911_0040 by bgorum, on Flickr
On September 11th I stopped and watched this Short-horned Lizard, hoping to photograph it eating harvester ants.

ImageGorum_140911_0051 by bgorum, on Flickr
At one point it went back into the vegetation where I couldn’t see it, but it made a quick movement and by the time I was able to maneuver for a view of it, it had almost completely consumed a grasshopper.

ImageGorum_140911_0073 by bgorum, on Flickr
Cruised a couple more Massasaugas that night

ImageGorum_140911_0076 by bgorum, on Flickr
and a Plains Black-headed Snake

ImageGorum_141009_0051 by bgorum, on Flickr
October 9th and a Differential Grasshopper on a Salt Cedar

ImageGorum_141009_0060_1 by bgorum, on Flickr
Visited a den later that day and found a few snakes, including this young Black-tailed Rattlesnake

ImageGorum_141019_0085 by bgorum, on Flickr
Same den on the 19th and I found more Blacktails and some Diamondbacks including these 2 in a crack

ImageGorum_141019_0088 by bgorum, on Flickr
and this one out on the crawl

So that pretty much sums up my fairly uneventful summer. Its still good to get out and see herps, and birds, and landscapes though. I’m not complaining and who knows what 2015 will bring! Thanks for checking it out!

P.s., sorry for pandering by including the word Massasauga in the title. I am just unabashedly trying to get more views!

User avatar
Carl Brune
Posts: 487
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 10:22 am
Location: Athens, OH
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by Carl Brune » November 10th, 2014, 8:34 pm

Stunning photos. The blacktail in the crack is very cool. As is the light atrox. And most everything else...

User avatar
The Real Snake Man
Posts: 405
Joined: June 12th, 2010, 3:08 pm
Location: Pasadena, CA or Mission, TX

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by The Real Snake Man » November 11th, 2014, 1:08 am

Wow, great stuff. I've seen dozens of western diamondbacks in south Texas, and I've always had a huge desire to find a desert massasauga back home, but I've got to say it: nothing got me more excited than seeing that extremely pale WDB. Gorgeous snake.

yank gooner
Posts: 25
Joined: October 24th, 2014, 4:17 am

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by yank gooner » November 11th, 2014, 6:38 am

Ridiculous photos! Awesome shots of both the animals and landscape!

User avatar
MHollanders
Posts: 583
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 1:32 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by MHollanders » November 12th, 2014, 5:05 am

Great photos, really. Love the wide angle light atrox, soft shell, and lots of landscape shots.

User avatar
FloridaSerpent
Posts: 85
Joined: October 18th, 2014, 11:12 am
Location: South Florida

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by FloridaSerpent » November 12th, 2014, 11:49 am

Wow its cool to see someone from Albuquerque on here, I used to live there before I knew about herping. Really nice shots!

User avatar
Kent VanSooy
Posts: 1100
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:51 am
Location: Oceanside

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by Kent VanSooy » November 12th, 2014, 12:31 pm

Darn it! I just drooled all over my sandwich. Fantastic shots, I really dig the birds in action and the scenic pics. The light atrox is of course uber cool, but I also like that pale Massasauga - don't think I've ever seen on that light. Thanks !

Y.Morgan
Posts: 131
Joined: January 28th, 2011, 10:51 pm
Location: SW New Mexico

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by Y.Morgan » November 13th, 2014, 10:40 pm

Your photographs always remind me that when I herp NM, I'm merely taking snapshots. Love the barbed wire lightning shot, the jack rabbit licking its lips, and the sunlight accentuating the obviously in situ curves of that first prairie. I can't fathom the patience required to catch that heron eating the fish - much less the amazing shot of that modestum downing a grasshopper - which was probably my favorite shot of all. For not getting out much this year, you sure found a bunch of massies, no? Oh, and seeing an atrox colored so lightly would be odd anywhere, but on basalt? Bizarre! The ones I've found on lava are always hypermelanistic. Hypo on basalt makes no sense. Maybe its ancestors evolved in sandy areas in the vicinity and this one wandered onto basalt where, by chance, it's lack of crypsis hadn't yet removed it from the gene pool? Loved your post.
York

User avatar
walk-about
Posts: 567
Joined: June 14th, 2010, 11:04 am
Location: 'God's Country' aka western KY
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by walk-about » December 3rd, 2014, 4:35 pm

BILL - Yep, what York and Kent said, this post was indeed amazing with absolutely stunning images of both landforms and reptile specimens. That light D-back shot is a jaw dropper. I loved that rabbit as well and my favorites - the Spadefoot's doing what Spadefoot's do when the desert rains arrive. All of your Crotalus shots so well framed and timed. Thanks for sharing as always.

DaVE

NACairns
Posts: 372
Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by NACairns » December 4th, 2014, 12:42 pm

Great photography, great representation of local natural history. I see why massasaugas featured in the title, what beautiful examples and good numbers, they sure look different than in the north east. I hope you don't mind me asking but do you find them associated with the k-rat mounds (specifically banner-tails)? I also really liked that light coloured atrox , the spadefoots and the lightning (well all of it really, but those in particular).
Thanks for sharing,
Nick

User avatar
jason folt
Posts: 262
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:20 am
Location: Midwest
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by jason folt » December 4th, 2014, 1:13 pm

Bill - Too much to single out, but loved every minute of it.

Jason

User avatar
justinm
Posts: 3423
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 4:26 am
Location: Illinois
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by justinm » December 5th, 2014, 7:54 am

jason folt wrote:Bill - Too much to single out, but loved every minute of it.

Jason

Agreed, I can't single anything out as there's so much good stuff here. Oustanding quality of those shots. Thanks for sharing it all.

Justin

bgorum
Posts: 618
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by bgorum » December 8th, 2014, 7:15 am

Thanks for the comments everyone. Nick, yes. The two areas where I most frequently find massasaugas both have pretty good k-rat populations. Mounds are much in evidence, though I most often see spotted ground squirrels in those mounds. Not sure if banner tails and the ground squirrels just make similar looking mounds or if the ground squirrels are appropriating k-rat mounds for their own use. Cruising at night in those same areas I see mostly the smaller Ord's and/or Merriam's k-rats, though I do see the occasional banner-tail as well.

NACairns
Posts: 372
Joined: December 30th, 2013, 7:27 am

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by NACairns » December 9th, 2014, 8:16 pm

Thanks for the thorough response, I've only seen one DOR S. c. edwardsii but it was in an area with many banner-tail mounds. That sighting was based on advice I was given for banner-tails and massies but I also recall the Fogden photo form Harry Green's book and wondered if such mounds are critical habitat for desert massies. The whole set of photos is outstanding, I really enjoyed it.

User avatar
todd battey
Posts: 239
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: summer 2014- Massasaugas and more

Post by todd battey » December 13th, 2014, 12:08 pm

Great shots, Bill. Your photography skills are an inspiration. Thanks for helping me get my first S. c. edwardsii (and first Massasauga in general) this year.

Post Reply