In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Far

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ChadHarrison
Posts: 139
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm
Location: Illinois

In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Far

Post by ChadHarrison » February 5th, 2016, 9:35 am

Well, there's no snow on the ground here in the Midwest. As a matter of fact, it's really not all that cold for the beginning of February. It's too cold for snakes, not wet enough for salamanders, so it's too lame to be outside as far as I'm concerned. As such, I suppose I'll sit down and take the time to share in my excursions and resulting finds over the last couple of years. This post will be picture heavy, so I'll keep the narration to a minimum.

We start off in March of 2014 with a trip to Florida. A lot of the critters we found this trip will not be included in this post, as I either did not like the shots I took, or didn't take photos period. Some of these animals include an Eastern Diamondback, florida king snakes, various nerodia (no mangrove snakes, so who cares), peninsula ribbon snakes, various rat and corn snakes, racers, a couple species of tantilla, and a sand skink, and some mole skinks.

We kicked it off with a bang. We visited a grid of garbage: literally. Trash in the sand. After flipping cover and sifting through the sand beneath it, we turned up 3 Florida Worm Lizards in about 30 minutes. As well as some mole skinks, sand skinks, and tantilla. But it's pretty hard to care about any of those when you're holding real-life aliens in your hands.

Rhineura floridana
ImageFlorida Worm Lizard by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageFlorida Worm Lizard by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Happier than a fish with titties. Or however that saying goes.
ImageMe with Florida Worm Lizards by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

That night we did okay. Missed my lifer Coral snake by seconds. It was hit and flopping around. Bummer! Saw plenty of nerodia, yellow rats, corn snakes, and swamp snakes. Here are some of the better looking individuals:

Pantherophis guttatus guttatus
ImageCorn Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pantherophis alleghaniensis quadrivittata
ImageYellow Rat Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageYellow Rat Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Before the big movement started, all three vehicles set out in different directions with a peculiar little king snake in mind. Things got ridiculous when Josh Young's car turned up this South Florida Mole King Snake.

Lampropeltis calligaster occipitolineata
ImageSouth Florida Mole King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageSouth Florida Mole King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

We just couldn't stop. One morning, Zack West, Micah Riddle and I set out to cruise before we headed further south. Zack was pessimistic about our conditions. 70 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. Not the most ideal of cloud cover for Pine Snake cruising, but I thought it felt great. Would have been perfect cruising conditions back home, if there was any habitat left to cruise through! Sure enough, it wasn't long before we were seeing snake after snake. Mostly racers. But one of the racers wasn't moving. It was just chillin' in the road. So Zack says "Wait. What was that?" We back up, Micah peers out the window, doesn't say a word, calmly and slowly exits the motor vehicle, and holds up a Florida Pine Snake with a big dumb grin on his face.

Pituophis melanoleucus mugitus
ImagePine Snake In Situ by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageFlorida Pine Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Plestiodon egregius lividus
ImageBlue-Tailed Mole Skink by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti
ImageFlorida Cottonmouth by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Back home in the Midwest, things were going swell.

Terrapene ornata
ImageOrnate Box Turtle by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pseudacris streckeri illinoensis
ImageIllinois Chorus Frog by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pantherophis emoryi
ImageGreat Plains Rat Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Masticophis flagellum
ImageEastern Coachwhip by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
ImageSpeckled King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis triangulum syspila
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Over the last couple years I've been making it a point to see Bullsnakes from more uncommonly visited localities in Illinois; something a little different than the usual Chicagoland bulls. It has been really interesting seeing all the diversity.

Pituophis catenifer sayi
ImageBullsnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Ophisaurus attenuatus
ImageSlender Glass Lizard by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pantherophis vulpinus vulpinus
ImageWestern Fox Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Heterodon nasicus
ImageWestern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Sistrurus catenatus
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

For my birthday, I gathered up some buddies and we did a weekend rocket-run to the Great Smoky Mountains to see some Great Smoky critters.

Right off the bat, we got some lovely Aneides

Aneides aeneus
ImageGreen Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageGreen Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

We saw hundreds of assorted Desmognathus sp, but I didn't photograph any of them. They all look exactly the same, save a couple neat species here or there. The goal for this trip was neat Plethodonids. Maybe one day I will care about desmogs, but today is not that day.

Plethodon yonahlossee
ImageYonahlossee Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageYonahlossee Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Plethodon jordani
ImageRed-Cheeked Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Cryptobranchus alleganiensis
ImageEastern Hellbender by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

One of my good buddies had been spending the summer in Los Angeles interning with Titmouse. He drove out there, but wanted help with the 31 hour drive home. So I flew out to help him, on the condition that I got to herp all the way back. While I didn't get to spend much time at all afield, I did still manage to see some interesting critters. Not pictured are several Crotalus helleri, a zonata that some local turd cruising ahead of me collected, a banded gecko, an atrox, and a Sonoran Gopher Snake.

The first night I managed to cruise 24 helleri, a giant skunk and a giant helleri totally pissed about being trapped on a bridge together, and I watched a car in front of me cruise a zonata. And then keep it. Lovely.

Crotalus helleri
ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

We headed further east, and stopped off in Phoenix, making terrible time so that I could cruise for a couple hours.

Terrible photo of a Crotalus scutulatus
ImageMojave Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus cerastes cercobombus
ImageSonoran Sidewinder by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis getula californiae
ImageCalifornia King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

That's it for anything worth sharing in 2014. 2015 started off in a familiar fashion: Florida. This time a little earlier in the year, and a little more relaxed. My goal this time was to come home with some decent Diamondback shots. We ended up finding some nice florida king snakes, including a monster adult male close to 5 feet long. Yet, somehow, I managed to screw up all my shots again.

Crotalus adamanteus. Ended up seeing about 6 of these in a couple days.
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Tried again for some Worm Lizards. No such luck. Must have used up all my Worm Lizard tickets the first go 'round.

Plestiodon egregius onocrepis
ImagePeninsula Mole Skink by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Neoseps reynoldsi
ImageSand Skink by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Masticophis flagellum
ImageEastern Coachwhip by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Anolis equestris
ImageCuban Knight Anole by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Closer, Clarice
ImageCuban Knight Anole by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Farancia abacura abacura
ImageEastern Mud Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Quick little pit stop yielded a larval Red Salamander, a Green salamander, and another Eastern Hellbender

Pseudotriton ruber
ImageLarval Red Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Aneides aeneus
ImageGreen Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Back home, it would be another few months before it was time to get back at it.

Ambystoma maculatum
ImageSpotted Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Eastern Hognose doing eastern hognose things
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Heterodon platirhinos
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

More Illinois Bullsnake variety

Pituophis catenifer sayi
ImageBullsnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pituophis catenifer sayi
ImageBullsnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon contortrix ssp
ImageNorthern/Southern Copperhead by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis calligaster calligaster
ImagePrairie King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImagePrairie King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Heterodon nasicus gloydi
ImageDusty Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageDusty Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Heterodon platirhinos
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Hognose Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Opheodrys aestivus
ImageRough Green Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
ImageSpeckled King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Nerodia cyclopion
ImageMississippi Green Water Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon piscivorus leucostoma
ImageWestern Cottonmouth by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Awful shot of a Hyla avivoca. That out of focus eye drives me insane.
ImageBird-Voiced Tree Frog by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Ambystoma annulatum
ImageRinged Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageRinged Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageRinged Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

This creepy little salamander holds a very special place in my heart. Seeing Dante Fenolio's work with cave dwelling vertebrates and invertebrates has instilled in me a passion for blind salamanders. This past summer some friends and I found ourselves up bright and early, and headed deep into the back-est of back woods Missouri in search of accessible caves. We found a narrow cavern along a river, thanks to a tip. I know now that if I am ever to do this again, I need gloves and knee pads. This cave was barely open enough for me to sit up in. So I reduced to my hands and knees, and advanced inward. With full intent to shake hands with the devil, I didn't make it 40 yards before these Grotto Salamanders became a common sight.

Eurycea spelaea
ImageGrotto Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageGrotto Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Back to the east side of the Mississippi

Ambystoma opacum
ImageMarbled Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageMarbled Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pituophis catenifer sayi
ImageBullsnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum
ImageEastern Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Nerodia cyclopion
ImageMississippi Green Water Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis triangulum syspila
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Back across the river on a gloomy day in July, Peter Paplanus and I simply could not stop finding snakes.

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis triangulum syspila overload
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageRed Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Tropidoclonion lineatum
ImageLined Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Terrapene carolina triunguis
ImageThree-Toed Box Turtle by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon contortrix phaeogaster
ImageOsage Copperhead by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis getula holbrooki
ImageSpeckled King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Cinnamon roll
ImageSpeckled King Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Over in my neck of the woods, there is a population of Blue Racers that are just exceptional. Real, true, vivid blue hues. Not that blue-gray nonsense. This individual was particularly stunning. No out of the ordinary enhancement was done in post processing to manipulate the blue shown here. Some slight contrast adjustment, sharpening, clarity, and maybe some exposure and color temperature adjustment. Nothing major.

Coluber constrictor foxii
ImageBlue Racer by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Sistrurus catenatus
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Sistrurus catenatus
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Cnemidophorus sexlineatus viridis
ImagePrairie Racerunner by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pituophis catenifer sayi
ImageBullsnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Lampropeltis triangulum triangulum - Ugly As Sin morph
ImageEastern Milk Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Thamnophis radix
ImagePlains Garter Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Opheodrys vernalis
ImageSmooth Green Snake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Ambystoma laterale
ImageBlue-Spotted Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Sistrurus catenatus
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

I have no idea why this girl was sitting like this. Of all the massasaugas I have seen, in all the states I have seen them in, this one looked the most uncomfortable.

Sistrurus catenatus
ImageEastern Massasauga Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Heterodon platirhinos
ImageEastern Hognose by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon contortrix ssp
ImageNorthern/Southern Copperhead intergrade by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Crotalus horridus
ImageTimber Rattlesnake by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Agkistrodon contortrix ssp - sorry if this photo was included already. My flicker photostream is totally out of order
ImageNorthern/Southern Copperhead by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

That pretty much sums it up for 2015. I left out a lot of stuff, mostly common critters.

I started 2016 off with a Northern California trip. Wherein Tuatarifer and I went to visit our good buddy Mikemike.

Aneides lugubris
ImageArboreal Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageArboreal Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageArboreal Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus
ImageSpeckled Black Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Beast of a male Aneides vagrans
ImageWandering Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageWandering Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

BANANA SLUG!
ImageCalifornia Banana Slug by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Dicamptodon tenebrosus
ImageCostal Giant Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Ambystoma gracile
ImageNorthwestern Salamander by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Elgaria coerulea principis
ImageNorthwestern Alligator Lizard by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Pseudacris sierra
ImageSierran Tree Frog by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageSierran Tree Frog by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis
ImageOregon Ensatina by Chad Harrison, on Flickr
ImageOregon Ensatina by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Harbor Seals!
ImageHarbor Seals by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

An engine block that has become a part of a tide pool ecosystem
ImageMother Nature Reclaims by Chad Harrison, on Flickr

Seeing this Red Octopus was the highlight of my year already, and the year before that, and before that, and before that etc. What an amazing animal.

Octopus rubescens
ImageRed Octopus by Chad Harrison, on Flickr


Thats it so far. Thank you for looking!

Chad

User avatar
Soopaman
Posts: 923
Joined: March 18th, 2012, 6:34 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by Soopaman » February 5th, 2016, 9:54 am

You've had some really excellent years, Chad. I'm envious of some of those finds, and your photography is great. I really like that shot of the cotton gaping next to the cypress knees.

ChadHarrison
Posts: 139
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by ChadHarrison » February 5th, 2016, 10:51 am

Soopaman wrote:You've had some really excellent years, Chad. I'm envious of some of those finds, and your photography is great. I really like that shot of the cotton gaping next to the cypress knees.
Thanks, Kyle! I really appreciate it, brother. I'mma come hang out Texas style this spring. K? K.

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Soopaman
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Joined: March 18th, 2012, 6:34 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by Soopaman » February 5th, 2016, 11:05 am

ChadHarrison wrote:
Soopaman wrote:You've had some really excellent years, Chad. I'm envious of some of those finds, and your photography is great. I really like that shot of the cotton gaping next to the cypress knees.
Thanks, Kyle! I really appreciate it, brother. I'mma come hang out Texas style this spring. K? K.
Shoot me a message if you do. Season starts in a couple of weeks down south (though with this winter, it never really ended), and by mid-to-late March it'll really pick up along the coast.

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achillesbeast
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Joined: July 15th, 2012, 8:52 am

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by achillesbeast » February 5th, 2016, 12:17 pm

Really neat finds, Chad. I also like your style of photography.

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TravisK
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Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by TravisK » February 5th, 2016, 1:48 pm

Florida Worm Lizards and Blue Racers, Oh my!

Worm lizards and the like are my fetish....

Great post!

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Kyle from Carolina
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Joined: May 3rd, 2012, 7:12 pm
Location: western MA and NC

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by Kyle from Carolina » February 5th, 2016, 2:45 pm

Wow, awesome finds. I never realized the midwest could be so awesome. That being said, I think the real gem of this post is the saying "happier than a fish with titties".

ChadHarrison
Posts: 139
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by ChadHarrison » February 5th, 2016, 3:24 pm

Kyle from Carolina wrote:Wow, awesome finds. I never realized the midwest could be so awesome. That being said, I think the real gem of this post is the saying "happier than a fish with titties".
The Midwest is a really underrated area, herp wise.

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herpseeker1978
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Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by herpseeker1978 » February 5th, 2016, 4:00 pm

Image
Isn't this a Prairie King? You have it labeled as a Great Plains Rat

Josh

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Soopaman
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Joined: March 18th, 2012, 6:34 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by Soopaman » February 5th, 2016, 5:56 pm

herpseeker1978 wrote: Isn't this a Prairie King? You have it labeled as a Great Plains Rat

Josh
Calligaster have, usually, narrower and more angular blotches, and the "arrow" marking on the head always points back toward the body, not forward.

ChadHarrison
Posts: 139
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by ChadHarrison » February 5th, 2016, 7:46 pm

herpseeker1978 wrote:
Image
Isn't this a Prairie King? You have it labeled as a Great Plains Rat

Josh

It's 100% a Great Plains Rat Snake, Josh. It looks a bit like a prairie king in this photo. But I can assure you it's not. A closer examination of the identifying characteristics will tell you otherwise. Also, no calligaster where this GPR was found.

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Roki
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Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by Roki » February 8th, 2016, 7:51 am

Some really wonderful shots in there. Some of the salamander shots are my favorites, but your snakes shots are great too. Crazy luck on seeing that octopus.
Cheers

ChadHarrison
Posts: 139
Joined: June 29th, 2012, 12:45 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by ChadHarrison » February 8th, 2016, 11:50 am

Thank you for the kind words, everyone!

HerpMan ATL
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Joined: August 30th, 2014, 11:36 am

Re: In the Field: Highlights of 2014, 2015, and 2016 Thus Fa

Post by HerpMan ATL » February 14th, 2016, 6:24 pm

Awesome post. Im following you on flickr now. That Cottonmouth shot is special. Love the close up of the Yellow Rat Snake too.

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