My trip to the Mohave

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Zach_Lim
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My trip to the Mohave

Post by Zach_Lim » April 1st, 2016, 7:23 am

Hey everyone,

I just got back from a wonderful desert camping trip down in the Mohave! I work at Tree Frog Treks, a science education organization based out of San Francisco. I am the Director of Animal Care and Operations at work, so I usually stay inside to make sure all the Animal Ambassadors (herps that visit classrooms throughout the SF Bay Area) are healthy and happy. However, when I was approached by our director to help chaperone and teach a group of high school kids about biodiversity and herping down in the Desert, I was ready to go in a heartbeat! I've never really felt too comfortable around kids (well, these were young adults), but a trip to the desert (cough...."working" in the desert...)...well now!

This would all change, of course, as I instantly felt comfortable around this group of kids that were just overjoyed when out in the field! It was so great seeing kids so excited and enthusiastic about nature and herps!

We camped in Yucca Bajada and woke up every morning to this gorgeous view:

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It was freezing cold at night! Frost was usually present on the ground and we even had light SNOW one evening! I had previously never seen falling snow, so I was thrilled!

Around the campsite, I managed to flip the first herp of the trip- a Yucca Night Lizard. Although common, we were all thrilled to see such an interesting species!

Yucca Night Lizard:

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We visited the Granite Mountain Research Center where Botanist Tasha was kind enough to show us around the immediate area and teach us all about the wonderful plant life and systems of the Mohave!

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While the teachers took the kids on a informative trail walk, I staggered behind and flipped the vast amount of junk lying around. The last piece of 2 x 4 near a wash produced one of the most beautiful snakes I've ever seen.

Oh....LIFER!

California Lyre Snake

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Needless to say, this was going to be my favorite find of the trip! I wish I had more photos of the debris flipped as well as the kids holding the snake!

The next day was spent checking out the Kelso Depot and the Kelso dunes! Lots of cool invertebrates, including a Camel Spider/Solpugid and some cool beetles!

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The last real day of the trip was spent driving through some historic areas towards Amboy Crater. This was a great day with lots of great sights and herps!

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Some better shots of the lizards we managed to find!

Coastal Whiptail

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Desert Iguana

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Nothing beat seeing these kids, many of which had no experience with herping or the outdoors, get so excited over it all!

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Over all, the trip was a blast! I am quite sunburned and a bit tired, so I apologize for the somewhat incoherent post!

Take aways: I saw many lifers, saw falling snow, camped in the desert, and most importently- helped make some kids excited about nature and herping. The latter was the best experience of the trip.

-Zach

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JAMAUGHN
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by JAMAUGHN » April 1st, 2016, 7:34 am

Not incoherent at all, esp. considering it it was your first time chaperoning HS students! Very enjoyable post, Zach, and congratulations on that Lyre Snake.

JimM

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monklet
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by monklet » April 1st, 2016, 8:24 am

Congrats Zach, that Lyre is one of very few from MNP I believe. ...as in like 3 or 4 from my understanding! They're probably common there, just not found very often. Does anyone know different?

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » April 1st, 2016, 11:32 am

This caught me at a nostalgic moment = loved it. Thanks, Zach!

monklet, I remember finding a lyre in the Mojave (but not in MNP).

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I remember hellihooks (my 'Mojave initiator') being at least a bit excited about the find. ;)

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » April 1st, 2016, 11:32 am

x

hellihooks
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by hellihooks » April 1st, 2016, 3:02 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:This caught me at a nostalgic moment = loved it. Thanks, Zach!

monklet, I remember finding a lyre in the Mojave (but not in MNP).

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I remember hellihooks (my 'Mojave initiator') being at least a bit excited about the find. ;)

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have you yet realized that was the find of your trip, Jeroen??? :crazyeyes:
see now Zack... i coulda (and woulda) put you and your whole group up fer a night or two... and got ya Arroyo's, Collards and plenty more (ask Jeroen)... :) Anyone who goes to the Mojave and doesn't hit me up... done missed the boat... :shock: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Also... pretty sure your 'coastal' whip is a Great Basin (tigris tigris) rather than either tigris munda or stejnegeri... ;)

hellihooks
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by hellihooks » April 1st, 2016, 3:32 pm

good times Jeroen... you and Steph with lifer Rosy... :) come back anytime... :thumb:
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Ross Padilla
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Ross Padilla » April 1st, 2016, 7:19 pm

Very cool. :thumb:

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El Garia
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by El Garia » April 2nd, 2016, 4:59 pm

Very enjoyable post, Zach. :beer: Looks like a dream job!

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Calfirecap
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Calfirecap » April 2nd, 2016, 6:46 pm

Sounds like the trip itself was a 'Lifer'. Great post man.

RobertH
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by RobertH » April 2nd, 2016, 7:17 pm

Yes, very nice post and pictures. It's great to know, and now see, that you found such a wonderful job and no doubt are making a positive and lasting difference in the lives of these kids and many more to come. It's scary when you think how little first-hand experience of nature, especially wildlife, most kids have nowadays. Somewhere I read, and I paraphrase:"If they love nature, they will take care of it." You can't love something unless you have experienced it.

And, yeah, congrats are in order for the Lyre Snake. Beautiful, but rarely seen.

Robert

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Porter
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Porter » April 3rd, 2016, 7:55 am

Nice photog Zach (I especially like those habitat shots) and looks like a good thing to be involved in :thumb:

Those Lyres are cool lookn' snake! I think I heard that flipping them is pretty uncommon. Nice find :thumb:

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Fieldnotes
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Fieldnotes » April 4th, 2016, 10:55 am

Where are the Fringe-toed Lizard and Long-tailed Brush lizards shots; they are common on those dunes? Brad (Monklet) found a Lyre Snake in the Providence Mtns that disappointedly turned out to be lyrophanes and not lambda that could have been there. Brad's finding, but in question, what species is found in extreme SW Nevada. I hope, people will conduct the examination needed to distinguish the two similar appearing species future--long tail, split anal plate, and dorsal band count.

A decade ago, I was involved in a similar college field trip to the Mojave Nat'l Preserve, which was very cool.

:beer:

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yolodave
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by yolodave » April 6th, 2016, 6:33 am

This was awesome Zach. Keep spreading the good word. Love the photos.

Dave

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Fieldnotes
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Fieldnotes » April 6th, 2016, 9:28 am

The whiptail pictured above is a Great Basin Whiptail.

Zach_Lim
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Zach_Lim » April 6th, 2016, 3:57 pm

Thank you for all the kind words, guys! It is reassuring to hear that its okay to share and teach kids about herping (as opposed to those views that doing so is "spot burning" or the death of the hobby).

Fieldnotes- thanks for the ID!

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Owen
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by Owen » April 6th, 2016, 6:32 pm

Great post. Keep a learnin' them yutes.

Is there a hardcore version of Graham Nash's Teach Yor Children?

:beer:

hellihooks
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Re: My trip to the Mohave

Post by hellihooks » April 6th, 2016, 7:45 pm

Owen wrote: Is there a hardcore version of Graham Nash's Teach Yor Children?
:beer:
i'd like to hear that one, as well... 8-)

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