Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

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yolodave
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Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yolodave » April 5th, 2017, 1:13 pm

Time to do the Yolo Bypass survey.

Image

To be perfectly honest, the flood waters got high this past winter and many of the boards may have been rearranged. This may be a work day with a substantial amount of time spent resetting cover boards. I think one of the better board lines should still be intact.

So, if you are interested in seeing some snakes and carrying pieces of plywood, come on out. We are sure to see Racers, Alligator Lizards, Kingsnakes, Gopher Snakes and possibly one of the striped morph gopher snakes.

I'll be leaving from the Monterey Bay area around 7 AM. Let me know if you would like a ride.

Meet at 45211 Co Rd 32B (also known as Chiles Road), Davis, CA 95618 at 10 AM

See you soon.

Image


Dave

Jimi
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Jimi » April 5th, 2017, 2:29 pm

Do you have those boards cabled to a swivel and stake? If not, do you think it would be more or less useful to give that a shot?

Just curious, no aspersions. Wish I could make it, whenever I drive past there I think about what I'm missing down off the freeway.

good luck

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yolodave
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yolodave » April 5th, 2017, 5:20 pm

Believe me, I thought about that for several years. The problem is that we have about 300 boards out there.

Dave

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nightdriver
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by nightdriver » April 5th, 2017, 8:33 pm

Once again, I'm bummed I'm going to miss this. My kids spring break is late this year.... :(

Good luck.

-nightdriver

Jimi
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Jimi » April 6th, 2017, 7:31 am

The problem is that we have about 300 boards out there.
Yeah, I get that. Know how to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Ha ha. Really though. If you'd just started, and done say 30/year, you'd already be ~ halfway done.

What's the lifespan of these boards? Are they pressure treated, painted, or anything else? Got termites bad out there? Any fire likelihood?

Not trying to bust your balls, by any means. I know how much effort it is to deploy, check, and maintain a sampling array like this. I'm just considering it from an "insurance" perspective, or a protection of investment.

Good on ya for taking the time and expense in the first place, and sticking with it.

cheers

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yolodave
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yolodave » April 6th, 2017, 1:18 pm

I purchased the boards when I was managing that Wildlife Area, so the State bought the plywood. Since I left, I pretty much do this on my own time, but work time/personal time blends together pretty thoroughly in this business.

Wherever the boards landed, there will be animals under them. If anybody wants to see a lot of Racers, come on out.


Dave

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Chad M. Lane » April 6th, 2017, 8:50 pm

If the weather looks ok, I'll be there.


Cheers,
Chad

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Porter
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 10th, 2017, 9:45 am

With all this water we've been getting out here, it might be a better than normal day for gartersnakes.... and you never know what may have gotten washed up and taken sanctuary. If you find a morph, takes some pics of the belly for me :thumb: Good luck, hope you find one :beer:

This snake was found at this creek that runs next to Dave's best board site. It was crossing the road from one side of the creek to the next. I think the garters usually stay closer to the creek in holes that boarder it as opposed to the boards. Probably got flushed out and scattered about... finding new hiding places :idea:



ImageMV habitat by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageMV habitat2 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageMelanistic Valley Gartersnake by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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yolodave
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yolodave » April 10th, 2017, 9:25 pm

We placed several boards in that area last year. See if they are still there.

Dave

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Brian Hubbs » April 10th, 2017, 10:11 pm

Any turtles in that creek Porter?

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Porter
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 11th, 2017, 4:35 am

I've never seen any from the road, but I wouldn't be surprised if one or two have made their way into it. In all honesty, I was really surprised to see a garter (not based on it looking like suitable habitat, but based on past cruising experience), let alone a melanistic garter crossing there. I usually see the fitchi down by the far northern end of that road where it dead ends. The field down there has chorus frogs calling from it each year. The creek does hold mosquito fish and seeing a morph come crawing from it leads me to belief there must be a decent population of normal fitchi existing there. I usually see Gopher Snakes crossing in that area and I've sent a couple delat kings and striped-phase safely back into that field when finding them in the road. You get a lot of teens out there in the spring and summer looking for a place to drive there cars fast, so I took it upon myself to do some morph preservation and light surveying :thumb: 8-)

One end of that creek stretches out towards the Yolo Bypass Wildlife area. I've only seen a couple turtles from the bird viewing roads that wind through there and both were Pond Turtles. On the northern side of the freeway, there's a large canal back in the fields (where I think Dave and Elliot see the slenders) that seems to be dominated by mostly Sliders. UC Davis is a haven for them. There's a bright algae green slime water canal that runs thought the campus, full of nothing but Sliders. That seems to spill into another large canal and from there they just vein there way into the small canals a creek systems. Out where I see the gigas, I only see Sliders in the large canal that the snakes hunt in. However, in smaller canals that are more creek-sized, I've seen just Pond Turtles. These water ways are just crop fields apart, and the Larger main canal East of there hold both.

These are just the little bits and pieces I've picked up along the way, while out doing bird photog or looking for other things... I don't really target turtle mainly for the reason that my farthest lens is only a 70-300 and I'm spoiled by my mac lens expectations that I only get frustrated with the results :lol: So, I stopped trying to photograph them. I did take this one shot this year from the Slender Sal area I mentioned while out looking for an Alligator Liz for my dad's insisting request for a native pet that holds sentimental value to him. I ended up finding him a 3 legged Skink in Roseville instead (amazing how the world presents situations that seem to hold personal substance by coincidental occurrence). Which turns out to be the first and only lizard I came across this year.

Looks like they got em outnumbered in this location with only the top turtle retaining the native heritage. I'm not entirely sure about the bottom left turtle, behind the stump branch, but I'm guessing it's also invasive. Hubbs, what's your call on that one? might be better the view zoom it on Flickr... this shot is uncropped and I didn't have time to manually adjust my settings before four of them dropped off

ImageDSC_0466 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Porter
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 11th, 2017, 5:06 am

yolodave wrote:We placed several boards in that area last year. See if they are still there.

Dave
Cool :thumb: Hopefully you didn't lose them to the creek... if so, I'm gonna feel somewhat responsible for that :? :lol: Man, every time I look up that creek from the road I think to myself, that is the last place I would ever chose to herp :lol: I'm real good at finding the kush-spots and it's made me a lazy herper. I learned from herping in my childhood, exactly what to look for and where the best place is to search and make a successful catch. Like there are curtain oasis's you get a feel for through experience, and I've always seen those off in the distance, hiked to them, and bypassed everything else. Also, I hate poison oak and sticker bushes :oops: and feel like I've experienced enough of that crap to never make myself accessible to it again lol But we all know, those can be protectors of some very cool herps. When I see the sides of that creek and the amount of weed cover on those banks, in the past I would never would have even tried. Odds not in your favor due to easy escape routes into the weeds below or crossing the water to the other side. And from what I've learned about gigas, they can be weaved into the heavy grasses right below your feet. I remember during that survey I joined you guys on, Lawrence and I were headed away from the old barn, in conversation, and I stop, "woah, stop" right in front of us, with about a golf ball sized displayed view radius, I noticed the pattern of a deeply weaved-in gopher snake. I reach down in that and pulled up a 2 1/2 - 3 ft gopher. I remember Lawrence was pretty surprised I was able to spot that :mrgreen: I've always had a really good eye for stuff like that. But, that damn creek... man, it's a challenge I'd normally pass on. It makes sense that you guys don't find more fitchi under the site boards. I don't think the snakes need them at all. The Gigas at the den site are the same way :crazyeyes:

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 11th, 2017, 5:19 am

I just checked, and I actually have a picture of that snake. This was after we pulled some of the grass away so you could actually see the snake in the pic. Much, much less was showing when I spotted it. You can tell by the color of the moister weeds around the snake. I mean, there was literally only a blotch and a half of pattern showing into view. :thumb: 8-)




ImagePacific Gopher Snake by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImagePacific Gopher Snake by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageYolo Bypass Wildlife Area survey by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Brian Hubbs » April 11th, 2017, 5:42 pm

Porter wrote:
Looks like they got em outnumbered in this location with only the top turtle retaining the native heritage. I'm not entirely sure about the bottom left turtle, behind the stump branch, but I'm guessing it's also invasive. Hubbs, what's your call on that one? might be better the view zoom it on Flickr... this shot is uncropped and I didn't have time to manually adjust my settings before four of them dropped off

ImageDSC_0466 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr
Only the top one is a pond turtle (male). In the picture of the fisherman area, I think the roadside small canal looks good for them. I looked at it on google earth...

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Porter
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 12th, 2017, 1:06 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:
Only the top one is a pond turtle (male). In the picture of the fisherman area, I think the roadside small canal looks good for them. I looked at it on google earth...
It probably looks better from above than it actually is :lol: I havn't had google earth since 2011-ish, so I can't go and check, but I think you're talking about the one that runs east/west on the northern side of that road. In past years, it held very little water and is packed with reeds. I'm sure it holds frogs, it's great cover for them, and I think I've seen minnows, not many. Crayfish. It gets a lot of small bird activity and large rats. This year, it may fill up a little more. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple small turtles hiding in the thick of it, but the water isn't very deep. But to be honest, I have seen Pond Turtles in drainage ditchs that run though the outskirts (and in-skirts) of Citrus Heights, North Highlands, and Carmichael that were far worse conditions. Just little pocket areas at the end of your typical suburban cement, shallow 1/2 deep water (during the summer) aqueducts. Not really sure if you can call them aqueducts... but the cement ditches always get minnows and tadpoles washed into them and you usually get baby treefrogs and toads in your backyard from it. They fill up in the winter with the rains and I think the turtles get washed through and establish in the open field areas/dirt-sided with oak tress, where there are deeper murky brown creek waters. Those turtles always seem to have a lot of chips and damage done to the shells. But then you see babies that look fine and obviously born there.

However, a little further west down the road, of that same canal you mention, it looks a lot better. But I see a lot of heron and egrets, ducks, and skunk activity there. It's more open and the water conditions are way better. If there are turtles down in there, they've got a lot of predators to look out for and not much of an escape opportunity :? You, know how pond turtles are Hubbs, as soon as it rains and those fields start flooding, I'm sure they are venturing all through there looking for a place to settle in. For some reason, I've never see them in that large gigas canal though... only small sliders passing through. Could be because they like the cover of those reeds.

pistol16
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by pistol16 » April 13th, 2017, 3:43 pm

Hey all,

I'm yet to come along on a survey, but this looks like a great time and I'm thinking I'll join in. I'll see you guys saturday!

Peter

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Brian Hubbs
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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Brian Hubbs » April 13th, 2017, 5:23 pm

Porter wrote:
Brian Hubbs wrote:
Only the top one is a pond turtle (male). In the picture of the fisherman area, I think the roadside small canal looks good for them. I looked at it on google earth...
It probably looks better from above than it actually is :lol: I havn't had google earth since 2011-ish, so I can't go and check, but I think you're talking about the one that runs east/west on the northern side of that road. In past years, it held very little water and is packed with reeds. I'm sure it holds frogs, it's great cover for them, and I think I've seen minnows, not many. Crayfish. It gets a lot of small bird activity and large rats. This year, it may fill up a little more. I wouldn't be surprised if there were a couple small turtles hiding in the thick of it, but the water isn't very deep. But to be honest, I have seen Pond Turtles in drainage ditchs that run though the outskirts (and in-skirts) of Citrus Heights, North Highlands, and Carmichael that were far worse conditions. Just little pocket areas at the end of your typical suburban cement, shallow 1/2 deep water (during the summer) aqueducts. Not really sure if you can call them aqueducts... but the cement ditches always get minnows and tadpoles washed into them and you usually get baby treefrogs and toads in your backyard from it. They fill up in the winter with the rains and I think the turtles get washed through and establish in the open field areas/dirt-sided with oak tress, where there are deeper murky brown creek waters. Those turtles always seem to have a lot of chips and damage done to the shells. But then you see babies that look fine and obviously born there.

However, a little further west down the road, of that same canal you mention, it looks a lot better. But I see a lot of heron and egrets, ducks, and skunk activity there. It's more open and the water conditions are way better. If there are turtles down in there, they've got a lot of predators to look out for and not much of an escape opportunity :? You, know how pond turtles are Hubbs, as soon as it rains and those fields start flooding, I'm sure they are venturing all through there looking for a place to settle in. For some reason, I've never see them in that large gigas canal though... only small sliders passing through. Could be because they like the cover of those reeds.
I was talking about the ditch on the south side of the road...

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 13th, 2017, 7:41 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:I was talking about the ditch on the south side of the road...
Well, that certainly looks funny on paper... :lol: (not funny like I can't believe Hubbs thinks that ditch holds turtle, but funny like I just responded with a paragraph in-a-half about the wrong ditch lol)

The ditch you're talking about is this ditch in this 1st photo. It's dry as a bone and doesn't hold water until the fields there are flooded for crops. It's much higher than the canals water surface at low levels. In the 2nd photo, see how the ground looks moist and extends past the guy off to the right. That goes under a dirt access road similar to the one in the first pic, and feeds into the ditch I was talking about. It's much lower and usually has at least some moisture down there for frogs when the water level is this low, and holds more water during the hotter months when the canal level is higher than it is right now. Again, I definitely think it's possible to find a random turtle on either side, but I've never seen it. If so, I don't think they would be there because they want to. Even the lower ditch on the northern side. It would have to be a turtle that is comfortable living in a foot in-a-half of less water (or moist mud) through most stretches of the thick reeds, in average conditions.

THat's my one pet peeve with Google Earth and why I stopped using it. You're not looking at current photos at the time of studying them. They probably took that pic coincidently during a time when water was in the southern ditch and makes it look like good habitat. Don't they have a date stamp for each satellite image or a way to check it...? I can't remember, it's been too long since I used it, but I think it gives a date of each image and possibly even the month. So, if you checked that, saw that it was July with water, I can see why you might have thought it was a year-long water filled ditch. The northern side is horrible, but retains closer-to-good-enough-standards. Hence the overwhelming reeds.

ImageDSC_0685 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0690 by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by mark buck » April 13th, 2017, 10:33 pm

Hey Dave,

Unfortunately I won't be able to make it up this year due to work and the Easter holiday.

Looks like the conditions should be pretty good for you guys, best of luck!

I'll keep an eye out for the highlights...

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Brian Hubbs » April 16th, 2017, 9:56 am

Porter, I meant farther west (3/4 mi.) by the farm buildings. It's a much bigger ditch there.

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 17th, 2017, 11:54 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Porter, I meant farther west (3/4 mi.) by the farm buildings. It's a much bigger ditch there.
Ohhhhh, you mean that one :thumb:

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by El Garia » April 17th, 2017, 2:03 pm

So, guys... how was the survey? What'd y'all find? Pics?

Derek

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yolodave » April 18th, 2017, 9:56 pm

Sorry for the delay. Taxes, work. life......

Well the flood of 2017 was much higher than anything I experienced in my time at the Yolo Bypass. The coverboards are scattered throughout the area. No way to put them back together. I'm afraid this was the swan song for the Yolo coverboard survey.

This was what we found instead of boards:
Image

Still we wandered around and found quite a few animals.

First up, the gopher snakes. No stripers this year.
Image

Image

Image

Image

A couple of Valley Garter Snakes:
Image

Image

And the King Snakes
Image

Image


Image

Image

And this beauty:
Image

Image

And my personal highlight, the first toad I've ever seen in the Yolo Bypass
Image

Here is the crew:
Image

Image

Image

Image

And no racers.

Thanks for the help guys, it was an awesome day.

Dave

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by mark buck » April 18th, 2017, 11:28 pm

That's a bummer about the cover boards Dave.
Also sad to hear this might have been the last survey at the Bypass.

The last Kingsnake with the golden bands is sweet!

Looks like a nice day, wish I could have made it.

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Porter » April 18th, 2017, 11:57 pm

Wow! Is that a fitchi with dried mud on the scales or am I looking at a first time seen extremely cool gigas-like color morphage? If anyone one has pics on that in-shed beauty, please post em :thumb: Did both of them look like that? Found within survey parameter?

I know how you feel about seeing the toads out there :beer: First time I saw them was fall/late summer before last year. Out cruising and found 3 I think, hopping the road. I've never seen any in any crop field area before that except for near Livermore. Crazy cause they seemed so common in the neighborhoods I grew up in (North Highlands) because of the cement drainage ditches that run through the neighborhoods. You see them on you front porch and out in the roads on the right nights. Living under the houses. The sprinklers usually brought them to the porches

when I lived in Folsom near the river, in Roseville near the foothills and a creek that had treefrog crimbing on my outter apartment walls at eyes height and above my head as well as mountain garters on the front porch and breeding in the electrical green cover things throughout the apartments, and now where I live right next to the sac river that has skunk, possum, raccoon, wild turkey and even coyotes roaming the streets... never once saw a single toad :cry:




This is the one I photographed. Cool looking variations out there!

ImageWestern Toad - Yolo by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr

ImageWestern Toad - Yolo by California Reptile & Amphibian Appreciation, on Flickr


yolodave wrote: Well the flood of 2017 was much higher than anything I experienced in my time at the Yolo Bypass. The coverboards are scattered throughout the area. No way to put them back together. I'm afraid this was the swan song for the Yolo coverboard survey.
Seriously! I live right next to discovery park and I couldn't believe my eyes. The park normally floods a little but this was the highest I've ever seen it. Just for reference, this scene from Bad Grandpa was filmed on the same Discovery Park green bridge in the flood video. This vid isn't filmed at it's highest point. I'm also gonna post a 3rd vid of them releasing the water into the bypass area, that doesn't do the justice, but shows what Dave's field probably looked like.

It's a bummer, but on a positive note... F*ck the boards.... :lol: Time to survey that creek! :D :mrgreen: :) There's gonna be more on that survey land than there ever was in the past. That's my prediction :mrgreen: Things washed in, things washed out... that creek is probably gonna thrive better than it ever has. My leg gets better, I'd be down to help reset what's left of the boards for you as well :)









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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by squirrel » April 19th, 2017, 3:54 pm

Cool stuff, man. So your boards floated away?

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by yoloherper » April 20th, 2017, 9:32 am

Congrats on the golden brown king Dave! Looks like a nice one. Bummer to hear about the boards though.
-Elliot

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Re: Yolo Bypass Survey - April 15

Post by Jimi » April 20th, 2017, 11:53 am

I wonder if you could use a drone to capture some imagery and then use some object-classification software to search through the dataset and find and map your coverboards? ESRI's Feature Analyst for example? Or, brute-force it manually - paw through the imagery?

http://wiki.landscapetoolbox.org/doku.p ... sification

It's a big initial investment that was made, and it seems a shame to just walk away. But I get it that you're outta there. No judgments, man. Maybe someone at CDFW could take that on? They've got the gear and the skills; are they interested???

I like that weird golden king (this beauty") too. What would it look like shed-out?

cheers

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