Sonoran or Joshua Tree

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ksmith44
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Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 23rd, 2016, 8:39 pm

Hi,

I will be in Southern Cali in the first week of April visiting inlaws and I am hoping to get out into the desert to do a little herping. I am trying to decide between the Sonoran or Saguaro areas or the much much closer Joshua Tree. Although the species list seems comparable, my gut tells me the opportunities will be better in So Arizona. Does anyone have experience with both areas?

My primary goal is to try out my new camera and cross off a few of the rattlers the southwest is so famous for. However, this is a pretty rare opportunity for me nowadays, so I will be thrilled with whatever the season offers.

Any advice?

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SurfinHerp
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by SurfinHerp » February 24th, 2016, 10:23 am

My advice is to connect with some local FHF guys and ask (beg?) them to show you around a few spots.

In early April, you don't need to go to the desert to see rattlesnakes. Almost everywhere in So. Cal. should be good, with the possible exception of the highest elevation areas.
If you really want to go to the desert, Joshua Tree NP should be good. There are many other areas to consider as well. Southern Arizona is too far away. There's no need to go further than Anza-Borrego or the Mojave National Preserve.

What part of So. Cal. do your inlaws live in?

Jeff

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 24th, 2016, 10:44 am

My inlaws are in Riverside County, which makes Joshua Tree fairly close. Although they are not as fond of the experience as I am, they say they run into rattlesnakes all the time up by Big Bear in the San Bernadino mountains. However, I assumed it would be a little early in the year for that area. Since I can only get away for a couple of days, I would rather stay close if possible and not spend all my time getting to and from Tuscon.

I am not familiar at all with Anza-Borrego, but it looks relatively close. Would you recommend it over Joshua Tree?

I am going to be in Vegas for work a couple weeks earlier in the end of March and hope to do a little night driving in the Mojave, which will be a first for me as well.

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regalringneck
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by regalringneck » February 24th, 2016, 6:08 pm

Yo Kevin, heres what i'd advise ...

1) come to a new forum w/ some pix & info of what you've seen & done, rather than asking in your 1'st handfull of posts for advice ... & then like so many others ... never bothering to say thnx ... never mind posting any results ... each beggar thus reduces the handout to the next : } to the point where these requests generally result in nada. : {

2) tell us about random folks you've helped herp in your area.

3) research ( use the search feature ) & you'll gain alot via "osmosis" about the areas you wish to hunt.

4) now to help you; in early april, id say stay on the coastal side of the mtns & s. of the 10 & you'll see lots of crotes, mostly ruber & helleri + many others intrstng herps ... and as you'd see w/ a search; tucson is primarily a l8te july-sept kinda thang ... buena suerte & de nada ...

heres a bit of color for you, but 1 you wont likely find in calyfornia : } salud / rxr


Image

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 24th, 2016, 10:56 pm

First off, I very much appreciate the advice from both you and SurfinHerp and I am eager to post my success (hopefully not lack thereof).

I am not sure what I did to deserve the rest. Pretty aggressive response for a newbie asking a pretty simple question. Seems like everyone has to be new sometime. Its true I have not posted much since I have joined, and my posts were not in your chapter, since I live in the Rocky Mtn chapter area, but unfortunately its from lack of much to share, rather than lack of willingness. I grew up in Florida flipping every log I could find, but I have unfortunately had very little opportunity since moving west 15 years ago. Now my son is 10 years old and is super excited about herps, and its motivating me to start making time to get back into it. For what its worth, I did read through the forum for 2+ hours before posting, but I have not been reading it like have my local forum because before a couple of days ago, I did not expect to be in your area.

I can offer a little advice for central Texas if anyone is interested (see my post from last year: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =9&t=20458) which is really the last time I have made it out.

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 24th, 2016, 11:47 pm

All that being said, I am a newb and am still learning the community etiquette, so I really am sorry if I ruffled any feathers.

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Steve Bledsoe
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Steve Bledsoe » February 25th, 2016, 7:51 am

ksmith44 wrote:All that being said, I am a newb and am still learning the community etiquette, so I really am sorry if I ruffled any feathers.
Don't worry about it "ksmith". I'm not sure what you said or who gave you a hard time, but there are a lot of feathers around here that are easily ruffled!

If you're a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter, try contacting some of the guys you're familiar with there for information about herping areas outside your region. Tim Warfel, for example, has lots of field experience in many regions of the west. I'm sure he'd be receptive to helping a fellow chapter member.

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 27th, 2016, 8:06 am

Thanks. I will do that. It made sense to me to reach out to the folks closest to the destination, but I will stick to the locals.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Brian Hubbs » February 28th, 2016, 11:03 am

ksmith44: Here's the problem...we've had a lot of people come to the forums and ask where to see this or that. They got advice, and then either tore up the habitat or never even thanked us for the advice, or both. Now, when a new person shows up looking for advice almost everyone clams up or gets rude with them. Herping and herpers are not like birding or birders. Birders share info readily, herpers do not because they have been burned too many times by people who "just wanted to take a few pics". We don't know who you are, so that's why you got a cold reception. Hope you understand. Let us know what you see, post some pics, become a regular forum member, and people will warm up to you in time. They might not ever tell you anything, but you will learn along the way... :lol:

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Steve Bledsoe
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Steve Bledsoe » February 28th, 2016, 1:00 pm

Brian might also have added that unlike birds, herps are not highly mobile. A bird you may have seen yesterday in a certain location isn't necessarily going to be in the same location tomorrow. Herp movements are restricted by natural and unnatural barriers like geological structure and human development. Kingsnakes, for instance, don't travel very far from "home" their entire lives, so it's easy for someone to do a lot of damage to isolated populations by collecting animals or disturbing habitat. Most veteran field herpers hold this sort of information very close to the vest and only share it with close friends or people they know. Even at that, a good deal of information falls into the hands of the wrong kind of people.

If you've been an active participant on the Rocky Mountain Chapter forum, then that's the place to start generating some credibility and creating a network of trusted herper friends. We've all been through the introductory process. It just takes a little time and effort.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Brian Hubbs » February 28th, 2016, 2:27 pm

I never went thru the introductory process...I've always been here... :lol: I feel sorry for the newbies...

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » February 28th, 2016, 9:44 pm

Thanks Brian and Steve. I was taken a little off guard at first, but that makes total sense. I have witnessed the destruction you are talking about and it is very frustrating. I personally never collect (except one time in college when I brought home a couple of ribbon snakes and let them go in my backyard because I liked seeing them around the yard. I don't think the girls that rented the place after us were nearly as appreciative). However, I understand why you would be wary. I think herping is more like fishing that birding. You might take a friend fishing, but you would never post where your favorite fishing hole is.

That's actually why I tried to ask such a high level broad question. Which national park seemed pretty safe, rather than which street, or which trail, or which canyon, or which rock pile. Finding those is half the fun anyway. We'll see what I come up with and I will make sure to post back here.

It's been my goal for the last 3 summers to get back out there, and now that my son is getting so interested, hopefully this will be the year I finally do it.

Thanks again.

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Brian Hubbs » March 1st, 2016, 5:06 pm

I would go to Joshua Tree. When you are there, go in the main visitor center and NP bookstore. Buy my two books that they sell. This is very serious...they need to sell more books, I need the dough, and you'll like them... :thumb:

"A Guide to the Rattlesnakes and other Venomous Serpents of the U.S." & "Harmless Snakes of the West."

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » March 1st, 2016, 8:29 pm

I like it ;) . I got field guides coming out my ears, but for some reason, I always want more. I will take a look for sure.

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El Garia
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by El Garia » March 1st, 2016, 11:31 pm

There's no shame in buying one of Brian's books... I bought one!
ImageOneBornEveryDay by Mo'o, on Flickr

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by Brian Hubbs » March 2nd, 2016, 7:04 pm

I love that pic.. :lol:

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ksmith44
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Re: Sonoran or Joshua Tree

Post by ksmith44 » April 13th, 2016, 2:54 pm

Thanks again for all the suggestions. The trip was last week and we had a blast. I just finished throwing together a post showing results. Check it out: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =9&t=23328

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