Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

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Nicholas
Posts: 42
Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm

Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Nicholas » August 6th, 2017, 3:01 pm

Has it been done? Does it work? I'll be in the Sky Islands at some points in the coming weeks and was wondering if it would be worth my effort to flip to look for things. Are the prime flipping conditions in AZ similar to the prime conditions in CA? I dunno, that's why I'm asking here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Nicholas
P.S. I flipped this guy a couple years ago in monsoon season by chance as I only flipped a couple rocks.
ImageSonoran Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

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blacktara
Posts: 80
Joined: August 16th, 2013, 2:43 pm
Location: SW Oklahoma

Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by blacktara » August 6th, 2017, 3:07 pm

Kind of answered your own question I'd think

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Bryan Hamilton
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Bryan Hamilton » August 6th, 2017, 7:30 pm

It can work as you've seen. Depending on rock availability, it may or may not be a good use of time and effort. Lots of variables to consider but I don't think flipping in AZ is as predictable or reliable as SoCal.

Nicholas
Posts: 42
Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm

Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Nicholas » August 6th, 2017, 9:10 pm

Blacktara: haha yeah I guess a bit, I wasn't sure if I just got lucky though. Bryan, that makes sense, thanks. I've found a couple areas on Google Earth that look like they have good flippables, and if not then at least good overhangs and hiding spots for crotes.

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Fieldherper
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Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Fieldherper » August 7th, 2017, 9:27 am

Snakes can certainly be found under rocks in the monsoon season in AZ, but not nearly as easily as they are in Spring. Even then, AZ is a far tougher place to flip than CA due to narrower windows, rapid warming, and overall harsher conditions. Generally, snakes will be under surface rocks to thermoregulate or seek refuge (duh, I know). In the monsoon season, temperatures are obviously warmer and the snakes don't need to stay under a surface rock. They can warm up in plenty of ways. Like your photo, many snakes in shed will hang out under cover for awhile. Also, if they are trying to digest a meal or develop eggs or young, they may take refuge. Otherwise, in my experience, many snakes are surface active this time of year, because it is an ideal time to feed or breed. I would not waste time flipping, but would rather hike/cruise.

FH

Nicholas
Posts: 42
Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm

Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Nicholas » August 9th, 2017, 9:14 am

Thank you, Fieldherper, for the detailed response. I was suspecting the same thing about the pyro in shed, as I have seen other snakes in shed under cover in Cali in crappy flipping conditions. So it sounds like it's possible (as I had experienced) but the chances are very slim. I'll probably try a bit but won't kill myself over it. Thanks again.
Nicholas

Jimi
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Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

Post by Jimi » August 9th, 2017, 10:53 am

Good luck Nicholas.

I would add to the generalities, with which I generally agree, that "on the other hand":
    • - this particular monsoon season is pretty epic in certain locales (e.g. the southern Chiricahuas, the vicinity of Nogales, etc) - soil moistures are probably not limiting, and this little dry break of the past few days is about to end in probably a lot more rain this weekend

      - some taxa - like Tantilla - are +/- only available via flipping if you're afoot

      - as covered somewhat already, animals that are in shed, are digesting, are just taking a little break from being on the crawl and maybe a little anxious, are outrageously gravid, just gave birth, just got born, just got scared by you unbeknownst to you, etc etc etc etc etc are going to be under some rocks and logs

      - personally, some of my best, happiest-memory monsoon-season finds (e.g., whole or partial litters of newborn montane rattlers) have been flipped, not kicked up or "where's Waldo'd" out of the background clutter (both of which, yes, do yield more results for me than flipping during this season, in this environment)


    So while I would not throw a whole lotta time at flipping this season (unlike say in March), I would also not just walk past those rocks, logs etc that absolutely sing out to you "flip me, flip me, flip me". You know more than you might realize - listen to that voice. You're not just a 21st-century suburbanite with screen gadgets, Amazon, Facebook and so on - you're a highly-tuned predator with a whole battery of useful senses that the supercomputer at the end of your neck integrates into "solutions". Use them ALL to find your prey, don't ignore them or over-ride them with solitary or interpersonal chatter, or over-reliance on just one or two senses. If that makes sense to you; maybe it strikes you as goofy. Makes sense to me.

    Good hunting! I look forward to your pics and narrative.

    cheers

    Nicholas
    Posts: 42
    Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm

    Re: Rock Flipping in Arizona in Monsoon Season

    Post by Nicholas » August 11th, 2017, 9:13 am

    Thanks Jimi,
    I can assure you I will flip whatever calls to me, (Trust me, I've flipped rocks that look like the perfect flake in over 100 degrees just because it looks so beautifully perfect haha). I think I have a good sense of the reality of flipping in az now. I'll let y'all know how I do.
    Nicholas

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