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 Post subject: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 28th, 2018, 1:45 pm 

Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm
Posts: 42
Hello all, after the merging of the forums I have not posted much on here. So in case you don’t know me, my name is Nicholas Hess and I’m fifteen and from Los Angeles.
Anyways, I finally finished editing, organizing, and uploading all my photographs from 2017. Last year was by far the most productive herping year for me so far. I entered 118 species into the H.E.R.P. Database, 89 of them from California, the others from a trip I took to Oregon and Arizona. These are my top 100 species because a few species I only saw as DOR, only got terrible shots, or were lame invasive species that aren’t as meaningful to me. Also 100 is a nice round number compared to 118. There is no rhyme or reason to the way I organized this post. It is roughly taxonomical and within that is ordered from least favorite specimen/find/photograph to my favorites. It’s impossible for me to pick out absolute favorites so it’s only roughly linear. For some I added back story some I didn’t, depending on how interesting it was.
2017 was relatively rainy compared to past years in California’s infamous drought. I took a lot of local day trips and a couple overnight trips with Jeremy Wright who was a pleasure to herp with. I got a lot of lifers this year, far more than in past years.
Here’s a brief chronological summary of 2017 by month: January was filled with a lot of amphibian life in socal. February was the month of Rosy Boas and Cal Kings. March produced some of my best herp in habitat shots. April was filled with Mountain Kings. May and June were very productive in the desert, lots of fun road cruising. July sucked herping wise except for a sea turtle. August was amazing, I went to Oregon with my Mom to catch the total eclipse and went herping with Dr. Richard Hoyer, and then herped Southern Arizona with my dad. September herping was virtually nonexistent. October consisted of one trip to the Mojave and a lot of freediving. November was basically October without any herping at all. December was very exciting with some local southern salamander magic and a trip to Northern California with my dad where we met with Zach Lim in Santa Cruz and Chad Lane in Mendocino County and found a ton of salamanders.

Aside from herping, I did a lot of freediving/underwater photography, tried to do more landscape photography, and had some pretty majestic experiences with mammals. In the summer-winter I made a lot of improvement on my underwater photography skills. The kelp forests off socal prove to be home to a plethora of bizarre and fascinating inhabitants. I’ve only scratched the surface of what I can possibly find. Despite the fact that this is a herping forum, I will display some of my nonherp photography in this post. I wasn’t able to figure out a convenient/organized way to include these shots in this post so it’s gonna be quite random. Enough jibber jabber, let’s get to the photos now.

Invasives

I found several invasive species in urban and natural settings. I’ve only included a couple of the cooler ones in this post though.
Species #1: Rio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri)
I found several of these cool looking frogs while searching for my lifer Checkered Garter (Which I still haven’t seen) near the Salton Sea in Riverside County.

ImageRio Grande Leopard Frog (Lithobates berlandieri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #2: Asian Flat-Tailed House Gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus)
Not the most spectacular shot but it was a H.E.R.P. county record.

ImageAsian Flat-tailed House Gecko (Hemidactylus platyurus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #3: Moorish Wall Gecko (Tarentola mauratinica)
I personally discovered a population of these geckos in Los Angeles County in 2016 but wasn’t able to get any good shots. Despite them being an invasive species I enjoyed photographing them a lot.

ImageMoorish Wall Gecko (Tarentola mauratinica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMoorish Wall Gecko (Tarentola mauratinica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMoorish Wall Gecko (Tarentola mauratinica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Lizards

Species #4: Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus)
Saw some of these guys in AZ and didn’t spend any time at all trying to photograph them.

ImageOrnate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #5: Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard (Urosaurus graciosus graciosus)
I’m always very happy when I manage to spot these highly camouflaged lizards amongst the branches of a bush.

ImageWestern Long-tailed Brush Lizard (Urosaurus graciosus graciosus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #6: Common Side-Blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans)
These guys are usually the most commonly seen lizard in my area.
ImageCommon Side-Blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCommon Sideblotch Lizard (Uta stansburiana elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #7: Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)
This is one of my favorite “fence” lizard shots. And yes, it is in situ.
ImageGreat Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #8 Southern Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus vandenburgianus)
ImageSouthern Sagebrush Lizard (Sceloporus graciosus vandenburgianus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #9: Granite Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus orcutti)
These lizards are a common sight, but some can be extremely colorful.

ImageGranite Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus orcutti) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageGranite Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus orcutti) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #10: Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus uniformis)

ImageYellow-backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus uniformis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #11: Purple-backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister magister)

ImagePurple-backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus magister magister) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #12: Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii)
They may be really common where they live, but I love them!

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageYarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #13: San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii)

ImageSan Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr
I tried something different on this shot.
ImageSouthern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #14: Northwestern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea principis) LIFER!
Found my lifer principis up in Orgegon.
ImageNorthwestern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea principis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #15: Madrean Alligator Lizard (Elgaria kingii) LIFER!
I love the distinctive banding on these alligator lizards.
ImageMadrean Alligator Lizard (Elgaria kingii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #16: Sonoran Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis sonorae)

ImageSonoran Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis sonorae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #17: Tiger Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris)
Coastal Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris stejnegri)

ImageCoastal Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris stejnegri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris stejnegri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Great Basin Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris)
Watching this Kestrel eat a whiptail was very cool. Especially since they are one of my favorite bird species.

ImageAmerican Kestrel (Falco sparverius) eating a Whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #18: Belding's Orange-throated Whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi)
Evidently I didn’t get very good shots of these speedy lizards.
ImageBelding's Orange-throated Whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra beldingi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species 19: Skilton's Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus)
This individual was a stunner.
ImageSkilton's Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSkilton's Skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus skiltonianus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #20: Red-Tailed Skink (Plestiodon gilberti rubicaudatus)

ImageRed-Tailed Skink (Plestiodon gilberti rubicaudatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #21: Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)
I actually found three different ssp.
Desert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus)
ImageDesert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

San Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx abbotti)
ImageSan Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx abbotti) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus abbotti) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Tucson Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus bogerti) LIFER!

ImageTucson Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus bogerti) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #22: Western Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus)

ImageWestern Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr
I love the way they swing their tails around.
ImageWestern Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #23: Desert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis)

ImageDesert Night Lizard (Xantusia vigilis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #24: Common Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater)
Here are two chuckwallas of different color variants. The first from Joshua Tree, the second from Palm Springs.
ImageCommon Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCommon Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #25: Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis)

ImageDesert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis dorsalis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #26: Southern California Legless Lizard (Aniella stebbinsi)
I seldom see these guys, but when I do I always see them in huge numbers.

ImageSouthern California Legless Lizard (Aniella stebbinsi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern California Legless Lizard (Aniella stebbinsi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #27: Banded Rock Lizard (Petrosaurus mearnsi)

ImageBanded Rock Lizard (Petrosaurus mearnsi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #28: Granite Night Lizard (Xantusia henshawii)

ImageGranite Night Lizard (Xantusia henshawii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus abbotti) and Granite Night Lizard (Xantusia henshawii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #29: Southern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum)

ImageSouthern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Desert Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #30: Greater Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi)
I saw a few of these guys in Sothern Arizona but all of them were tiny.
ImageGreater Short-horned Lizard (Phrynosoma hernandesi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #31: Great Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores)

ImageGreat Basin Collared Zard (Crotaphytus bicintores) by NicholasHess, on Flickr
I found this individual at a known population on the coastal slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains.
ImageGreat Basin Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #32: Longnose Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii)
Male vs. Female
ImageLongnose Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageLongnose Leopard Lizard (Gambelia wislizenii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #33: Peninsula Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus nocticolus nocticolus)

ImagePeninsula Leaf-toed Gecko (Phyllodactylus nocticolus nocticolus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #34: Coachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma inornata)

ImageCoachella Valley Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma inornata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #35: Coast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainville)

ImageCoast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainville) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoast Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #36: Colorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma notata) LIFER!
Not the greatest shot or find but it was still a lifer for me.
ImageColorado Desert Fringe-toed Lizard (Uma notata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #37: Sandstone Night Lizard (Xantusia gracilis) LIFER!
One very successful herping trip with Jeff Nordland, Chris Patnaude, Nathan Smith, Jeremy Wright, and Dave Zeldin, produced my top three lizards of the year. Thanks a ton to Jeff for organizing such a fun outing! It was a long trek into the canyon where these night zards dwell but once we reached the canyon bottom, we were instantly rewarded when Jeff spotted this beauty hanging on a wall.
ImageSandstone Night Lizard (Xantusia gracilis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSandstone Night Lizard (Xantusia gracilis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #38: Switak’s Banded Gecko (Coleonyx switaki) LIFER!
It didn’t take long to find one of these unique geckoes with five different cars driving the same stretch of road. Dave was the lucky one to spot this bugger and share his find with everyone else. Awesome find Dave!
ImagePenninsular Banded Gecko (Coleonyx switaki) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #39: Flat-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcalli)
On the same trip, before it got dark, I saw this horned lizard sitting in a bush from the car within just a minute or two of searching. I couldn’t believe I had spotted one so quickly and from a moving vehicle. This was the first of three seen.
ImageFlat-tailed Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma mcalli) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Of course while herping, you often see other wildlife as well. Here are some of my favorite nonherp encounters/photographs I took while herping 2017.

ImageRed Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageTarantula (Aphonopelma sp.) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

They may be common elsewhere, but this was the first time I ever got decent shots of a bald eagle.

ImageBald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

I know in certain desert canyons in San Diego County these guys are very approachable and common. But I was still excited to see them as they weren’t found in that canyon and I hadn’t seen any close up for some time.

ImageBighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Somehow in all my years of herping and hiking in prime bear habitat, I had never seen a wild bear until this August in Arizona. I didn’t get the greatest shots but I was very excited.

ImageAmerican Black Bear (Ursus americanus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

My favorite wildlife encounter of the year is most certainly the time I photographed a mother bobcat and her kittens. As I was looking for boas in a large outcrop, out of the corner of my eye I saw an adult bobcat perched high on a rock. I slowly approached and when I was about 20 ft away, I photographed it for well over five minutes. I called Jeremy over for him to get some shots. After the bobcat left the cave, Jeremy spotted two kittens in a crack in the outcrop. We got some quick shots and left the premises soon after, as to not disturb them.

ImageBobcat (Lynx rufous) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBobcat (Lynx rufous) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBobcat (Lynx rufous) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBobcat (Lynx rufous) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBobcat Kitten (Lynx rufous) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Anurans

Species #40: Canyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor)

ImageCanyon Treefrog (Hyla arenicolor) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #41: California Treefrog (Pseudacris cadaverina)

ImageCalifornia Treefrog (Pseudacris cadaverina) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Treefrog (Pseudacris cadaverina) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #42: California Toads (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus)

ImageCalifornia Toads (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Toad (Anaxyrus boreas halophilus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #43: Baja California Treefrog (Pseudacris hypocondriaca)

ImageBaja California Treefrog (Pseudacris hypocondriaca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBaja Treefrog (Pseudacris hypochondriaca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #44: Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) LIFER!

ImageNorthern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #45: Woodhouse’s or Great Plains Toad? PLEASE VERIFY!!! Either way LIFER!
Found in Cochise County.
ImageToad ID Please! by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageToad ID Please! by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageToad ID Please! by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #46: Red-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus)

ImageRed-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRed-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRed-Spotted Toad (Anaxyrus puctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #47: Sonoran Desert Toad (Ollotis alvaria)

ImageSonoran Desert Toad (Ollotis alvaria) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #48: Lowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) LIFER!

ImageLowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageLowland Leopard Frog (Lithobates yavapaiensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #49: Mexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) LIFER!

ImageMexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #50: California Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii)
One of three found in Los Angeles County.
ImageCalifornia Red-Legged Frog (Rana draytonii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #51: Southern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana muscosa)

ImageSouthern Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (Rana muscosa) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #52: Western Spadefoot (Spea hammondii)
I can never get enough of spadefoots incredible eyes!
ImageWestern Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Spadefoot (Spea hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #53: Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) LIFER!
My lifer Arroyo Toads were actually little tadpoles that I wasn’t sure about the ID. After the tadpoles were verified as arroyos by Sam Sweet, we returned and found adults. Not only were they lifers for me, but they were found at a locale where there population status was previously unknown.
ImageArroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

In this shot you can see how the toad had dug himself into the sand.
ImageArroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Turtles

Species #54: Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata)

ImageWestern Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #55: Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Although I could barely make out my fingertips in the murky water, watching this sea turtle off San Diego was a very special moment for me. In case you didn’t know, there is a tiny population of turtles off California living in shallow water. This was likely the only turtle within a 30 mile radius so needless to say I got extremely lucky.

ImageGreen Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageGreen Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageGreen Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Since we’re on the subject of marine life here are some of my favorite underwater photographs from 2017:

ImagePacific Angel Shark (Squatina californica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageHarbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Moray Eel (Gymnothorax mordax) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Two-Spot Octopus (Octopus bimaculoides) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpanish Shawl (Flabellina iodnea) by NicholasHess, on Flickr


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 28th, 2018, 1:48 pm 

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

Species #56: Black Bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris)

ImageBlack Bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlack Bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlack-Bellied Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps nigriventris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #57: Garden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major major)
These guys are godzilla slenders compared to tiny black-bellies.

ImageGarden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major major) by NicholasHess, on Flickr


ImageGarden Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps major major) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #58: California Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus)

ImageCalifornia Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps attenuatus) and Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #59: Coast Range Newt (Taricha torosa torosa)

ImageCoast Range Newt (Taricha torosa torosa) by NicholasHess, on Flickr
I used my underwater camera for this one.
ImageCalifornia Newt (Taricha torosa) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #60: Arboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris)

ImageArboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Imagefullsizeoutput_393e by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArboreal Salamander (Aneides lugubris) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #61: Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii)
Yellow-Eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica)
ImageYellow-Eyed Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Monterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii)

I used to have a hard time finding Ensatina in socal but this year I found a ton!

ImageMonterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMonterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMonterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschcholtzii eschcholtzii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMonterey Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii eschscholtzii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) LIFER!

ImageOregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageOregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageOregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Large-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberii) LIFER!

ImageLarge-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageLarge-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageLarge-blotched Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #62: San Gabriel Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli)
I was very pleased after finding 9 of these under studied salamanders. I found them at a spot I had scouted on my own and I was not sure if they lived there or not, but the habitat looked good so my dad and I decided to give it a shot. After evaluating the habitat we quickly figured out where their favored microhabitats were and found 9 in a short amount of time.

ImageSan Gabriel Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Gabriel Slender Salamander (Batrachoseps gabrieli) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #63: Red-Bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis)

ImageRed-Bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRed-Bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRed-Bellied Newt (Taricha rivularis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #64: Wandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) LIFER!

ImageWandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWandering Salamander (Aneides vagrans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #65: Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus)

Santa Cruz Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus niger)

ImageSanta Cruz Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus niger) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSanta Cruz Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus niger) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Speckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus) LIFER!

ImageSpeckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpeckled Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus flavipunctatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #66: Southern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) LIFER!

ImageSouthern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton variegatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #67: Coastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) LIFER!

ImageCoastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #68: Northwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) LIFER!

ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile)) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Salamander (Ambystoma gracile) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

That’s all salamander wise. Here are some fun spot and identifies you can try. Reply if you think you get it. Most are pretty easy.

ImageSpot and Identify #1 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #2 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #3 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #4 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #5 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #6 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpot and Identify #7 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Snakes

Species #69: Colorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis annulata)

ImageColorado Desert Shovel-nosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis annulata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #70: Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans)

Mojave Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans candida)

ImageMojave Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans candida) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

This one is interesting looking, could be a slight intergrade with California Glossy as it was found near the hills in the coastal/desert transition zone.
ImageGlossy Snake (Arizona elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Desert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata)

ImageDesert Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #71: Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus)

ImageSpotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSpotted Leaf-nosed Snake (Phyllorhynchus decurtatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #72: Desert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola)

ImageDesert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Nightsnake (Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola) by NicholasHess, on Flickr


Species #73: Red Coachwhip (Coluber flagellum piceus)
Sadly this was the only live coachwhip I saw this year.
ImageRed Coachwhip (Coluber flagellum piceus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #74: California Striped Racer (Masticophis lateralis lateralis)

ImageCalifornia Striped Racer (Masticophis lateralis lateralis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageChapparal Whipsnake (Coluber lateralis lateralis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageStriped Whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis lateralis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageStriped Racer (Coluber lateralis lateralis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #75: Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)

San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens)

ImageSan Diego Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer annectens) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Pacific Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer)

ImagePacific Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImagePacific Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Sonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis)

ImageSonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Scenery by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #76: Western Rattlesnake

Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri)

ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus organus helleri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus organus helleri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus)

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #77: Two-Striped Gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii)

ImageTwo-Striped Gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageTwo-striped Gartersnake (Thamnophis hammondii) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageTwo-Striped Gartersnake by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #78: Colorado Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes laterorepens)

ImageColorado Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes laterorepens) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageColorado Desert Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes laterorepens) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #79: Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus)

San Bernardino Ringnecked Snake (Diadophis punctatus modestus)

ImageSan Bernardino Ringnecked Snake (Diadophis punctatus modestus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

San Diego Ringnecked Snake (Diadophis punctatus similis)

ImageSan Diego Ringnecked Snake (Diadophis punctatus similis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Ringnecked Snake (Diadophis punctatus similis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Northwestern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus occidentalis)

ImageNorthwestern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus occidentalis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus occidentalis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #80: San Diego Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi)

ImageSan Diego Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Diego Nightsnake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #81: Western Black-necked Gartersnake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis)

ImageWestern Black-necked Gartersnake (Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #82: Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

ImageWestern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #83: Northern Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus)

ImageNorthern Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Mojave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #84: Northern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus)

ImageNorthern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus molossus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #85: Western Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
I have a soft spot for Long-Nosed Snakes, probably because I don’t see very many. This one was found at 8:30, early in the night, with Jeremy, after this snake we saw nothing but DOR’s for the rest of the night! I don’t regret it though because this was the only rhino for the year.

ImageWestern Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWestern Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #86: Northwestern Gartersnake (Thamnophis ordinoides) LIFER!

ImageNorthwestern Gartersnake (Thamnophis ordinoides) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthwestern Gartersnake (Thamnophis ordinoides) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #87: Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata)
In February and March I became quite good at finding these sought after boas under rocks. I found 13 boas total which is more than I found in all my previous herping years combined so I am pretty content on how that went!

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageP2110803 by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

This individual is still the prettiest rosy I’ve ever seen, aside from the desert rosy and one I found in Los Angeles County last year.

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

This was an exciting moment! My dad and I were in classic rocky habitat looking for specks. Despite flipping conditions being dry, I couldn’t resist flipping a perfect slab that was calling me. There ended up being a wee ruber under it. Although I was Happy I had flipped a snake, it wasn’t the crote I was hoping for. After stepping away for a moment to call my dad over, I returned to see a large rosy stretched at the base of the outcrop. Still not the snake I was hoping for, but it’s always fun to find two snakes at once.

ImageRosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) and Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca)) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

After a long day of flipping with no yield, My dad, Jonathan Mills-Anderson and myself decided to call it a day. On the last outcrop detached from the main hillsides we had searched I flipped a couple rocks as the sun was setting. Our spirits greatly lifted when I pulled out this large rosy from the rocks with only seconds before the sun would drop below the horizon.

ImageRosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca)) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca)) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

After that day of flipping, it was dry from then on. That didn’t stop us though cause it was off to the desert for me and Jeremy where we struck gold on two different occasions.
ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Aside from the 10+ other snakes we found this night, these boas were the icing on the cake. Believe it or not, all three of these snakes were found within fifty feet of each other! After taking quick shots of the first, I walked down the road to release it and spotted another on the road, seconds later Jeremy found a third! All at one stop.

ImageCoastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Desert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) LIFER!

After a very unsuccessful night of cruising with only dor’s, with Jeremy, we were very pleased to say the least when I spotted this guy on the side of the road.

ImageDesert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #88: Arizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana)
I flipped this little beauty during our first day in Southern Arizona.
ImageArizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana pyromelana) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #89: Mountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) LIFER!
The population of mountain garters in the San Bernardino Mtns. always fascinated me. Finally my dad and I decided to make an expedition after them.
ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageMountain Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans elegans) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #90: Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon)
I’ll never forget the time Dr. Richard Hoyer grabbed a stunning blue Yellow-bellied Racer in a blink of an eye. Before I could even register what was under the board, Richard had a massive and striking blue snake in his hand and a smile on his face. I had no idea they were so large and blue there which made the experience all the more exciting.
ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBlue-Phase Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #91: Northern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae)
On that same day with Richard, we found more than just the racer. Before heading out we both knew our chances of seeing anything at all were very low as it was August and it hadn’t rained recently. I would have been happy with just a north western but somehow we got extremely lucky and found three boas.
ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Fast forward a couple months and I was back in rubber boa territory, this time in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the middle of December of all months, with my dad and Zach Lim. Again I didn’t have my hopes very high and in some strange because it was a dry Dece, miraculous way within five minutes of getting out of the car, Zach had already found a boa under some trash.

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageNorthern Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #92: Southern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica)
On a fun outing with my friend Xander, Kyle, Jeremy, My dad and Carl Gerhardt in the San Bernardino Mountains, my dad flipped all of our lifer southern rubber boa.
ImageSouthern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

While photographing the rubber, Kyle flipped our other target for the day…

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) and Southern Rubber Boa (Charina umbratica) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #93: Baja California Lyre Snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes)
On the same night with the three rosy boas, Jeremy and I cruised this sub adult lyre snake. This was only the second lyre I’ve ever seen aside from one in a crack.
ImageBaja California Lyresnake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBaja California Lyresnake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBaja California Lyresnake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #94: Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus)
Specks were high on my list for 2017. I had struck out on them the year before badly. I actually found a good number of them.
ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouth Western Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

The next two snakes were found in the same desert outcrop together. When I saw the first snake, it buzzed me and retreated into a crack. I was very frustrated as this was the first for the year for me. After a lot of waiting and coaxing, I eventually persuaded the snake to come out of the crack. However I was a bit disappointed when I saw it because I remembered it as a larger snake with deeper colors. I didn’t think much of it though. While photographing the speck, suddenly we heard a rattle go off from the same crack as before. This time the snake was exiting the crack and it was then that I realized this was the first snake that buzzed me. Photographing these two beautiful snakes was one of my favorite moments of the year.

ImageSouth Western Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouth Western Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouth Western Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouth Western Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSouthwestern Speckled Rattlesnakes (Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #95: Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)
Ruber are often an underappreciated species. Some individuals I’d call the most impressive snakes of California. Unfortunately I didn’t take the time to photograph many, but the one that I did produced my favorite snake shot so far.

ImageRed Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageIn-situ Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageRed Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) in situ by NicholasHess, on Flickr

This is likely my best shot from the year. My goal was to find a nice ruber and photograph it in the wildflowers. Credit to my friend Xander for the idea to place the lens on a rock and trigger the shutter button with the snake hook. So don't worry I didn't actually get my fingers that close!

ImageRed Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #96: Banded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) LIFER!
Klaub’s were #1 on my list when we went to AZ. Conditions weren’t perfect but we still managed four in a couple of days which I was content with. The first was the largest and prettiest.

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Here you can see an original and a severely edited version of the same shot. For the record I don’t make edits like this with intent to mislead viewers. I will always tell if my shot portrays an image that does not match what I saw in nature.

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake Edit by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

The second and third were much smaller.

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

The last was not as large or as pretty as the first, but gave me my favorite in situ shot!

ImageBanded Rock Rattlesnake (Crotalus lepidus klauberi) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #97: California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae)
I found a fair number of cal kings considering I don’t live near any grassland habitats where you can flip them all the time. The first of the year I found with Xander, Jeremy, and my dad in San Diego Co. We first found a small banded and then Jeremy flipped our lifer striper (which did not want to pose well).

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageBall python by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

I found this one on the crawl in grassland habitat.

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

On the same day I photographed the ruber in the wild flowers I walked up on this young king crawling amongst the rocks. Later in the day I flipped another under AC.

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) in situ by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCalifornia Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #98: Coast Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea)

One of the rarest and most unpredictable snakes in California is the Patch-nosed Snake. I had only seen DOR’s or a fleeting glimpse in recent years so this encounter felt very deserved. It was extra cool because earlier that day I walked a zonata.

ImageCoast Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoast Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageCoast Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepsis virgultea) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #99: Red-Spotted Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus)

My #1 goal in Oregon was to find a Red Spotted Garter Snake. With the help of Richard Hoyer, this became possible. I have always been a huge fan of garter snakes. Needless to say I was ecstatic to see such a colorful snake. I only got one good shot of it but it’s one of my favorite and most memorable from the year. Thank you so much Richard for showing me around and being so patient while I photographed everything!!!

ImageRed-Spotted Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Before the final species, I want to post some landscape shots. I have a lot to learn in this area of photography. They aren’t the greatest but there’s some nice habitat and memories held in these shots.

ImageCloudy Riverside Sunset by NicholasHess, on Flickr

When the hills look like this you know it’s gonna be a good year!

ImageSocal Spring Hills by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageLA Co. Desert by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Mountains by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Clemente Island by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageWilson River, Oregon by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Sky Islands by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Monsoons by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageArizona Scenery by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Francisco at Night by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageDesert Sunset by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageTotality by NicholasHess, on Flickr

Species #100: San Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra)

Perhaps it is a bit cliche, but I find it very difficult to think of a more beautiful snake than The red black and white Mountain King. I found two in the same canyon in the San Gabriel Mountains on different dates as well as two seen the same day we flipped the southern rubber in the San Bernardino Mountains.

This one was a young one I walked on a warm May day in a riparian canyon. When I first spotted it I only saw a small dark colored snake quickly slithering away from me. The flicker effect really messed with me and I wasn’t sure what I was looking at at first.

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

After Kyle had flipped the first zonata, I was hungry for my own. I did find one but not you hope… Luckily though I had gotten good shots of the first from that day.

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

And finally the best for last!

My favorite find of the year must be the first zonata I found in 2017. It was the first, it was the biggest, it was the reddest and the best. I thought the conditions were perfect. It was nice and warm, the lizards were active and I could just smell the snakes. Around every corner, on every rock wall behind every tree trunk, I was expecting to see a live candy cane maneuvering along the forest floor. After awhile my intensive day dreaming payed off and stretched across the trail, eight feet ahead of me was the most perfect sight every herper dreams about.

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr

ImageSan Bernardino Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis zonata parvirubra) by NicholasHess, on Flickr


Well that’s a wrap guys! Thanks so much for making it this far and taking time to enjoy my post. I am incredibly thankful to have gotten to know Jeremy Wright so well and rejoice in so many amazing encounters. I’m also glad I got to meet up with Zach Lim and Chad Lane in the Bay Area and North, thanks guys! Spending two days in the field with Dr. Richard Hoyer was an experience I’ll never forget. Hoyer is a wealth of knowledge and I learned so much from him and thoroughly enjoyed hearing all his stories as the pioneer of the use of artificial cover flipping and his studies on rubber boas. Thank you so much once again, Richard. I am incredibly thankful to have spent so much time over the last eight years with my father traveling to so many different places and spending countless hours together doing what we love.

If 2018 is half as good as 2017, I wouldn’t be able to complain. That being said… I have so many ideas on how to improve my photography, and there are still many species I have yet to find. Panamint rattlesnakes, blind snakes, checkered garter snakes, sierra nevada ensatina, mojave fringe toed lizard, great basin rattlesnakes, san joaquin coachwhip, cope’s leopard lizard, baja coachwhip, valley garter snakes, wandering garter snakes, the list keeps going, all would be lifers. There is still so much to do! I also have begun to take a more artistic and abstract approach to my photography. I plan on taking photos in ways I’ve never done before. Freshwater underwater photography could open a lot of photographic opportunities. My goal is to fill 2018 with exploration and new techniques and styles, and see where that takes me. If you're interested in purchasing prints of my photographs, now you can! Head to my website: http://www.nicholashessphotography.com/ and see if you like anything! Lots of herp and nonherp photography there. Check it out ;)

Ok 2018, what do you have in store for me this year?

Over and out,

Nicholas


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 29th, 2018, 5:09 am 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:05 am
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Location: Albuquerque
Great post man! I'm taking a trip to Morro Bay this spring, we're hoping to find a lot of what you have!

#16 is actually a Desert Grassland Whiptail Aspidoscelis uniparens


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 30th, 2018, 9:02 am 
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Joined: June 11th, 2010, 9:46 am
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Awesome! Love these epic CA posts. Great photos.

FH


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 31st, 2018, 11:35 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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Great post, nice to vicariously watch you grow up and enjoy life. It gets even better! Your own car, some time off, and some spending money - man, that all spells freedom.

I like the way you stuck in the little interludes of non-herps, the little where's Waldo thing, landscapes etc in among the runs of numbers.

Speaking of which, your toad #45 is not a cognatus IMO. Paratoids defintely all wrong, cranial crests not really captured in the image. Dorsal pattern also wrong, but that's a weaker diagnostic. (Toads/spades, like turtles, can be buggers to ID. When taking pics it's always a good idea to try and get a good one or two of the crucial diagnostic characters. Those make the best vouchers anyway, if not the best art.)

If you ever want to come up and herp Utah, Nevada, or W Colorado just give a holler, or try it out on your own. There are a few good herpers, and some cool herps up here too. Some of the latter take a little local knowledge to come by them. Failing at herps (and there's always a chance at that!), there are some truly stupendous landscapes. And some unusual outdoor experiences to be had, e.g. squeezing through slot canyons. Same general primetime as your deserts - May/June. A few things e.g. valley garters & boas are more like Feb/Mar. July tends to suck, Aug/Sept can be pretty good. A not-so-distant starting point might be March or April in the SW corner of the state; be sure to hit Zion too, and maybe Snow Canyon State Park, for the landscapes.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 31st, 2018, 2:08 pm 
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Location: Albuquerque
I would say Woodhouse on #45, cognatus don't usually have the reddish flecks whereas the younger woodhouse's do


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: January 31st, 2018, 6:26 pm 
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Great Job on the 100!!!

You guys need to hit NW Australia before the Cane Toads decimate the entire nation's herp populations.

Just wait till you have your own driver's license :-)


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: February 1st, 2018, 4:14 am 
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Cool dude :thumb:
I particularly super dig that gater beneath the sun rays, spotted toad with the night backdrop (you expanded that idea from the gecko shot and improved the tech-neat), UN-common Chuck, the bobcat shots just amaze me (really beautiful), blue-phase YBR (is that the one helihooks was always talkin bout?), lateralis's, sonoran desert toad head shot, all the aquas, and I gotta know... did the moray chomp down that shrimp? :lol:

Also, really cool to see a photographer taking to the water. awesome year Nick :beer:


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: February 2nd, 2018, 8:42 am 
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Great pics, great post!

Bobcat kitten is fantastic.


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 Post subject: Amazing Achievement!
PostPosted: February 2nd, 2018, 6:10 pm 
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Location: Portland/Vancouver
I can't reply to all forum posts (though I enjoy almost all of them very much), but this one is so special that I must.

Wow!!!

I especially enjoyed seeing the bobcat, and scenery photos.

This was a superlative thing to share with the online Herper community. Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 8:42 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:46 am
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
herpseeker1978 wrote:
Great post man! I'm taking a trip to Morro Bay this spring, we're hoping to find a lot of what you have!

#16 is actually a Desert Grassland Whiptail Aspidoscelis uniparens


That one could very well be a young sonorae, localities would help a lot.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 11:13 am 

Joined: January 11th, 2013, 12:06 pm
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Damn dude, you were on fire last year! hope 2018 is just as good.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: March 17th, 2018, 7:27 pm 

Joined: July 30th, 2016, 12:55 am
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Location: Santa Ana, CA
Awesome year. And you’re so young. Legend in the making.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: April 29th, 2018, 11:34 pm 

Joined: March 30th, 2015, 10:01 am
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Location: Orange County
Amazing finds and photographs!

Glad to see you made the most of the epic conditions we had in 2017.

That 2nd Sidewinder shot really stood out to me, should definitely be published


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: April 30th, 2018, 12:49 am 
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Thank you for bumping this! Went back through and gave it even more attention than I did the first time.

You photographed the coast-side collareds! I assume the same population I've mentioned before?

Where did you see bighorn?

Still think that bobcat series is incredible

I think your #45 toad is Woodhouse’s, based on shape of cranial crests and gestalt of the face

Caught you using four different names for Striped Racer. Tricky, tricky. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: April 30th, 2018, 4:24 am 

Joined: February 25th, 2011, 12:03 pm
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you are a photographer, young man.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: May 1st, 2018, 6:19 am 
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Wow, you guys are awesome! Great post. One of the best ever. No doubt.


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: May 10th, 2018, 5:36 pm 

Joined: February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm
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Thanks for the kind words everybody! 2017 was incredible no doubt! so far 2018 hasn't provided quite as much diversity, but has already produced some gems. I hope to make a 2018 sofar post soon!
If you enjoy wildlife photography ESPECIALLY HERPS be sure to check out my new website! I'm finally selling prints and haven't sold crap... yet! Take a look and let me know what you think: https://www.nicholashessphotography.com/Galleries

Nicholas


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 Post subject: Re: 100 Species, A 2017 in Review Post
PostPosted: May 12th, 2018, 6:36 pm 
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So much win.

Your "severely edited" Rock Rattlesnake pic would look great on a black T-shirt...


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