San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

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SurfinHerp
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San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by SurfinHerp »

Hi Everyone,

Here are a bunch of photos I've taken since last Fall. They are more or less in chronological order, beginning in Sept. 2014 and finishing in the middle of March 2015.

Hope to see many of you in SD in a few weeks!

Jeff




Granite night lizard active on the rocks near Escondido
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The only neonate kingsnake I saw all Fall was this one up in the mountains
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One of the better-looking sidewinders I've seen. I especially like its perfect rattle.
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This guy posed calmly for me, resulting in perhaps my best-ever side-blotched lizard photo
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Finally found a rosy boa on a short, local road that I cruise frequently. Nice one too!
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Closeup of a tightly coiled desert glossy snake
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Sometime in the middle of last year I decided I was going to try to find leaf-toed geckos at as many different localities as I could. It was partly because snakes were becoming too few and far between, and partly to prove a point I had made during a discussion earlier in the year. I honed my Phyllo skills and found them at almost every spot I looked.


Here's the smallest leaf-toed I've seen. I think it was probably just a few weeks old.
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This one was found near the above hatchling, close to a beautiful palm oasis
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Leaf-toed gecko habitat
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Coastal habitat where I hike frequently
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This is the first snake I've ever found in the above habitat
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This helleri from the foothills looks just like an Arizona Black rattler, doesn't it?
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October sunset in the desert
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Small sidewinder found with SnakeDude (Ian B.) while he was visiting SD from CO
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Sandy landscape in the southern part of Anza-Borrego
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Big red diamond rattler found crawling through the above-pictured wash in mid-November
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I kept finding leaf-toed geckos into mid-November.

Here's the last one of 2014
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Once winter weather started to arrive in late November, I decided I was going to road-cruise during every rainstorm of the season. My goals were to find good roads for arboreal salamanders, new locales for Monterey ensatinas, and hopefully a spot where CA newts can be cruised in SD County.


Chrispherp and I found this nice Monterey in a new locale in the NW part of the County
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We found a spot for newts as well, but it's a couple miles N. of the County line
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CA treefrogs are common in certain rocky streams, but I've never found one crossing a road in the rain
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Spadefoot toads come out in the rain, and also sometimes when it's just humid but not raining
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One rainy night I stopped off at a convenient boardline and found this cool-looking helleri trying to stay dry under a big board
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NatureNate and I found a pair of kingsnakes at dusk in mid-December
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The first ring-necked snake I've seen at a certain AC site near the coast
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Garden slender salamander, as found
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San Diego nightsnake doing its best to look intimidating
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A couple of large-blotched ensatinas on another rainy night in the SD mountains..

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Barred tiger salamanders (Ambystoma mavortium mavortium) have been introduced into a few ponds in San Diego.
This one came out right after a heavy downpour in mid-December.
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One perfect rainy night in mid-January, ensatinas were all over the roads and roadsides.

I ended up finding three courting pairs, including this handsome large-blotched duo
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This photo of a Monterey and its scat is specifically for PNW Herper - enjoy Fil :P
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Just a little king found at dusk in January
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I've found a lot of lyre snakes on roads or crawling at night, but this was the first one I've ever found during the daytime. It was discovered under a large caprock.
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San Diego banded gecko from an area I haven't found one before
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The first time I found this distinctive striper was in March 2011 when it was 10" long. This time it was under a piece of cardboard I had laid out only 3 weeks earlier about 20 yards from the board where it was originally seen. Nice to see how he's grown!
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Got this great photo (for me :lol: ) of a red diamond while herping with Bostonsauce for the first time
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We also got this voucher of a juvie granite spiny near the W. edge of their range
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I had a good time Chris - let's hit the field again soon!



Granite night lizard adult, found under a large caprock
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FYI - I got this photo by lifting the cap a few inches, then wedging my small flashlight under the edge to hold it up. No need to remove the cap all the way.

Here's what the adult looked like after it ran out of its hiding spot
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And this is the juvie that was there too
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In February I took my two sons on a desert camping trip. We had fun photographing lizards like this chuckwalla
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and we found a few desert night lizards as well
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One of the last winter storms of this season brought out a host of amphibians.
I found four slender salamanders on the road, another newt (same spot as the previous one), plus a lot of Baja CA treefrogs, western toads, and a couple arboreal salamanders....
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Near the end of February, I tried unsuccessfully for red-sided gartersnakes.
Along the way I came across this really dark-colored juvenile coachwhip
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I also found a few legless lizards that day.
This is a small juvie
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and this is a large adult from the same sandy field laden with AC
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Found this large striper close to home, under a board set out by NatureNate
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In the first week of March, I met up with my buddy Frank T. and herped a few spots on the SD/Imperial County border.
Overall, it was a surpringly slow day, but at least Frank spotted this cool coachwhip on the crawl in a desert wash..
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Got a decent shot of a gopher snake one evening in the middle of March
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I went to my favorite horned lizard hotspot on a recent bright sunny day and tried to get a good in-situ photo. I found a couple Phrynos, but my photos were washed out.
This is the best shot I got
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I like this shot because it shows how gophersnakes can flatten their head to imitate a rattler
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Here's a small striped racer found on a quick trip to the mountains
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Last weekend I went looking for leaf-toed geckos at a new spot and did pretty well. Found 5 geckos and a threadsnake to boot...
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One last shot of some beautiful San Diego rosy boa habitat
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See you in the field!


Jeff

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MarcLinsalata
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by MarcLinsalata »

:thumb:

Zach_Lim
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by Zach_Lim »

Excellent end of the 2014 and start of 2015, Jeff!

All your shots are wonderful, especially that of the little 'winder!

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JAMAUGHN
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by JAMAUGHN »

Wow, that was great. That Striped racer shot really gets me. Very dynamic.

JimM

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gopher
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by gopher »

Great work again Jeff! SD has it all! Sallies and awesome desert species.

finnishserpent
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by finnishserpent »

Beautiful photos! Brings back great memories :)

RobertH
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by RobertH »

As always, great variety. I especially like the Lyre Snake. Was it rock-flipped or under AC?

Robert

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by Brian Hubbs »

Cool pics :thumb:

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SurfinHerp
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by SurfinHerp »

Thanks for your replies guys!


Nice to see you're still on FHF Matti. Say Hi to Santra for me! Have you found any herps in Finland yet this Spring?


Robert - I found the lyre under a cap rock. I was expecting to see granite night lizards, but maybe the lyre had already eaten them :lol:


Cheers,

Jeff

finnishserpent
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by finnishserpent »

SurfinHerp wrote: Nice to see you're still on FHF Matti. Say Hi to Santra for me! Have you found any herps in Finland yet this Spring?
I went to my fave spot today, but unfortunately it's still too cold for herps to be active (at least today was). However, when it's warmer you'll have nice chances of spotting Natrix natrix, Vipera berus, Lacerta vivipara here:

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You can see there's still ice in the water.

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RobertH
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by RobertH »

Thanks, Jeff, that's interesting. I have never heard of anyone finding a Lyre Snake, or any other snake, under a cap rock of the kind used by Granite Night Lizards.

Robert

hellihooks
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by hellihooks »

Zonata love capstone... :D

SnakeDude
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by SnakeDude »

sweet! That winder was fun :thumb: I'll be back out next monday, if you wanna meet up. I have my license too, just shoot me a txt/PM.

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El Garia
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by El Garia »

Very nice primer post for the National Meet, Jeff! Neat variety and nice pics :beer:

-Derek

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nightdriver
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by nightdriver »

I'm gonna take you up on the offer to put me on some new herps. :beer:

- nighdriver

RobertH
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by RobertH »

Zonata love capstone... :D
Well, yes, but those cap stones are not also used by Granite Night Lizards.

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Speckled Rosy
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by Speckled Rosy »

Nice Post! Looks like you got around quite a bit since last year.. Loved the habi-pics.

-Dan

condyle
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by condyle »

Great Post. Particularly the Nightsnake shot!

Philrezin1
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by Philrezin1 »

Wow, really impressed by the diversity! I loved the salamanders, coachwhip pics, and the rattlers!

Phil

mark buck
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by mark buck »

that big red diamond in the wash looks intimidating!
great shot of the gopher too,
nice photos

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jonathan
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by jonathan »

Nice post! I like the variety of animals and the little bits of explanations about techniques and locations.

The blind snake interested me - was that one out on the crawl while you were looking for leaf-toed geckos?



"CA treefrogs are common in certain rocky streams, but I've never found one crossing a road in the rain."

As far as I can recall, I've only seen it once in the San Gabes - on a cold rainy night when I didn't find anything else. I don't road cruise in the rain very often though, so I would think that if I saw it once that it must happen more often.

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SurfinHerp
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Re: San Diego County – Fall 2014 to Spring 2015

Post by SurfinHerp »

Dan, Condyle, Phil, Mark and Jonathan - Glad you guys enjoyed some of the photos! 8-)


Jonathan - Yes, I found the threadsnake poking its head into a crack on a vertical rock face while I was searching for leaf-toed geckos.
I can't think of many roads in SD County that parallel streams where CA treefrogs occur, but I know a few crossings that could produce under the right conditions. Maybe next winter I'll make it a minor goal to cruise a cadaverina.


Jeff

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