Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

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Jeremy Wright
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Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » June 20th, 2016, 6:27 pm

Last week my good friend Kyle and I took our first duo trip down to the desert in San Diego county. Kyle had recently bought a Jeep and the two of us were eager to head out, especially given the fact that because a parent driver was no longer necessary, we could schedule more trips at better times. Both of us wanted to target Speckled rattlesnakes and Rosy boas, but we knew that the chance wasn't all that great, given the slow nights people had been having the nights before our trip. Kyle had never seen a rosy or speckled in that area at all, but I had seen way too many dors rosys, including 2 that were alive and struggling yet obviously with no chance of survival. I had only ever seen 1 dor speckled from this area too, although a considerable number of miles south then where we were targeting. Upon arrival down the desert, we spotted a few large lizards on boulders, most seeming to be chuckwallas, and 1 I am sure was a Crotaphytus Vestigum, yet all dipped down when we got out of the car and tried to find them. We set up our tents for the night and enjoyed a snack in the shade.A little bit later we stocked up on gas and some cold drinks and made our way over to sand dunes to look for Flat tailed horned lizards in an area I have seem them before. Three hours of hiking in temps between 90-100 produced no mcalli, but dozens of Fringe Toed lizards and a few long tailed brush lizards. The daytime heat had made all the lizards skittish and wary, and although we got close views of them in the center of bushes, photos in the open were impossible. Partially pleased yet a little concerned, especially by the lack of ants that seemed to be everywhere except where we looked, we moved on.
Cruising started at sunset, and we made our way to higher elevation to seek out the areas that might cool down first. 2 hours in, and nothing. Disheartened, we got off that road and en route to another spot, we got target number 1, and a locality lifer for us, this gorgeous adult male Northern three-lined boa.
ImageNorthern Three-lined Boa by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageNorthern Three-lined Boa by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageNorthern Three-lined Boa by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageNorthern Three-lined Boa by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr

Kyle being from Riverside county often sees dozens of rosys a year, but one down in the desert was pretty new to both of us. This was the first rosy of the year for me, so I was even more excited. We both experienced the impossible nature of these snakes however as the heat and determined nature of this snake made full body shots literally impossible. Somewhere behind most of my shots is a hand holding the snake somewhat in place, or else it would have shot off into the rocks. We moved on.
2 hours later and as happy as we were, we were both confused and worried about the lack of snakes. What we refer to as the 'flatland three" (shovel nosed, glossy, and leaf nosed) which usually are everywhere and the most common snakes were no where to be seen, even odder given the 7 shovel nosed, 2 glossies, and 2 leaf nosed I had seen a couple nights before on a trip with my dad. We debated going to camp, and both of us were tired from about 6-7 hours of almost constant driving by this point, but at the last minute we decided to do one last pass on the road where we saw the rosy. As we came around a bend, an suv was parked in the road and 2 figures were out shining lights at a rocky road cut. Knowing this could be something cool, we stopped and asked what they had. To our surprise, these young herpers had just cruised a beautiful speckled rattlesnake. Kyle and I looked at each other excitedly, and asked if we could take some pictures, and luckily for us, their response was" Of course!"
Funny enough these two boys (Huck and Jaden, you know who you are ;) ) knew Kyle through his instagram herping page, and the 4 of us took shots for a good amount of time of this beautiful snake.
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
The boys expressed how much they wanted to see a Lichanura and I felt a little bad knowing we had seen one earlier, but they did manage to see a Tantilla earlier which are definitely cool little snakes. By this time it was well past midnight and the boys needed to get back to LA that night with their mom driving. Definitely cool to see a mom herper out! We said our goodbyes and shot a little bit more as their tail lights disappeared.
After our shooting and drive back to our campsite, we were both exhausted and for the sake of both comfort and safety, we turned in at around 2 am. The next morning happy with our targets off the list yet still confused by the lack of other snakes and only a few geckos we enjoyed a lazy breakfast and a daytime dunes cruise before heading back.
I know this post probably wasn't the most exciting but for me at least it was one of the best trips I have had down there. It's always fun to meet new people too. I'll leave you with this photo of the new majestic herping steed "in situ."
ImageKyle's Jeep Cherokee by Jeremy Wright Photography, on Flickr
Next target for us is Panamint rattlesnakes in SB county so we'll see how that goes. Happy herping!
-Jeremy

hellihooks
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by hellihooks » June 21st, 2016, 7:55 am

:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

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Ross Padilla
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Ross Padilla » June 21st, 2016, 8:18 pm

Nice photos. I was down there on the 9th and 10th. It was super slow on the 9th, but a lot more active on the 10th.

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rpecora
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by rpecora » June 22nd, 2016, 6:17 am

That's a fine rattlesnake there, boa too. I remember stopping and checking out what you were doing. You were very dismissive of me and if you would have been a little more friendlier I could have offered some advice on the area. I understand though some guy pulls up and say's you guy's alright, need any help? Between me and a friend we had seen 8 boa's out there between the 9th and the 13th among a few other snakes.

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ricrabt
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by ricrabt » June 22nd, 2016, 12:25 pm

Pretty much a common thing is to chat with other herpers. Most of the experienced guys will stop and introduce themselves. That's what I have usually experienced. Nice finds. The boa looks pretty coastal what County is it from?

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » June 22nd, 2016, 1:20 pm

Hi rpecora. Sorry I came off that way! I definitely didn't mean it that way. I must have misunderstood you because when I asked what you were down here looking for I thought you said "Anything I can get my hands on." My fault completely. I thought you were one of the many collectors that illegally take lots from that park. I'm really sorry about that. I always love meeting new herpers and I apologize for the rough first impressions.

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » June 22nd, 2016, 1:22 pm

Ricrabt, the boa was in San Diego county, in rocky agave habitat. I don't want to really throw out exacts but I'm happy to pm them to you if you would like!
-Jeremy

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » June 22nd, 2016, 1:23 pm

Thanks Ross! It definitely seems to vary night to night even with little or no change in conditions. It's a fascinating area and I love getting down there whenever I can.

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rpecora
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by rpecora » June 22nd, 2016, 4:42 pm

I understand Jeremy. You misunderstood me, but at least your heart is in the right place so good on ya for that!

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » June 22nd, 2016, 5:16 pm

Thank you Mike. Glad you were able to get some good finds down there, it's a beautiful area. Maybe we'll run into each other again and can have a proper chat! :)
-Jeremy

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huck
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by huck » August 11th, 2016, 12:33 am

Wow jeremy. Great shots. That was so sweet. And rpecora I am very sorry we were dismissive. It had been my first time out, I didn't really know better. I am sorry for that.

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John Koerner
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by John Koerner » August 17th, 2016, 8:14 am

Those are really nice shots.

Looks like a beautiful day for hiking, by itself, let alone the extra bonus of cool finds :)

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Jeremy Wright
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Re: Quality over Quantity - 6/13 and 6/14 in the low desert.

Post by Jeremy Wright » August 30th, 2016, 11:49 am

Thank you Jack! That was a fun trip. I always love going down to that area.

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