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 Post subject: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 2nd, 2018, 9:58 pm 
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Joined: June 18th, 2012, 7:05 pm
Posts: 399
Location: Utah
2017 was kind of a slow year for me as far as numbers go. It seems like I got skunked more often than not. However, I feel like the diversity was good and I did manage to check off a number of species that have eluded me or that I've put off searching for several years.

I started finding the first herps of the year back in March.

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer-Coluber constrictor mormon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer-Coluber constrictor mormon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta bellii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta bellii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

In mid April, I took a trip down to the Nevada BioBlitz. Thomas and I stopped in St. George for the night and turned up a few things.

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Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle-Apalone spinifera emoryi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Texas Spiny Softshell Turtle-Apalone spinifera emoryi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Red-eared Slider-Trachemys scripta elegans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Side-blotched Lizard-Uta stansburiana elegans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake-Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake-Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Common Chuckwalla-Sauromalus ater by Rye Jones, on Flickr

After hours of cruising we turned up the only snake of the night.

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

The next morning we did a bit of herping before heading out to Nevada.

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Northern Plateau Lizard-Sceloporus tristichus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Skink-Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Side-blotched Lizard-Uta stansburiana elegans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Red Racer (Coachwhip)-Masticophis flagellum piceus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Red Racer (Coachwhip)-Masticophis flagellum piceus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Nevada was kind of slow. I think we hit the area a few weeks too early, but it was a good time with lots of great people.

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Utah Banded Gecko-Coleonyx variegatus utahensis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Hairy Scorpion-Hadrurus arizonensis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Red-spotted Toad-Anaxyrus punctatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Variable Groundsnake-Sonora semiannulata semiannulata by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Smith’s Black-headed Snake-Tantilla hobartsmithi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Skink-Plestiodon skiltonianus utahensis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Arizona Toad-Anaxyrus microscaphus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Woodhouse Toad-Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Spadefoot-Spea intermontana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Yucca Night Lizard-Xantusia vigilis vigilis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Long-nosed Leopard Lizard-Gambelia wislizenii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

A few weeks after returning from Nevada, I made another trip down to Southern Utah with my friend Pat.

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Tortoise-Gopherus agassizii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Tortoise-Gopherus agassizii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Cruising the first night was pretty unproductive so we stopped to search for some amphibians.

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Woodhouse Toad-Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Baja California Treefrog-Pseudacris hypochondriaca by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

The next morning we found a few more tortoises and a gila.

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Desert Tortoise-Gopherus agassizii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Tortoise-Gopherus agassizii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

We laid in the sand for what seemed like several hours, patiently waiting for this gila to come out of a pipe. It would only ever come to the edge and bask. It was pretty skittish and would retreat back into the pipe at the slightest movement. Really fun to watch and observe though.

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Banded Gila Monster-Heloderma suspectum cinctum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Banded Gila Monster-Heloderma suspectum cinctum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

That evening we returned hoping to find the gila out, but it appeared it went further into the pipe as there were no fresh tracks leading away. We hiked around before sunset. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed some movement. When I looked over I saw a side-blotched lizard. It took me a minute to register there was a groundsnake coming out of a sandstone crack.

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Variable Groundsnake-Sonora semiannulata semiannulata and Western Side-blotched Lizard-Uta stansburiana elegans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Variable Groundsnake-Sonora semiannulata semiannulata by Rye Jones, on Flickr

We also saw a gophersnake that I did not photograph before heading out to cruise that night. It was another slow night of cruising with only one little mojave rattlesnake.

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

While we were photographing this snake a car pulled up asking what we had found. Turns out it was Andy O'Connor and Josh Wallace from Washington (Not sure if they're still active on the forum). It was nice to finally meet them in person. I've always enjoyed reading their posts in the past. We ended up camping together that night and made a plan to get them their Utah gila in the morning. The plan was successful and we found another gila the next morning. This one was more cooperative than the first.

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Banded Gila Monster-Heloderma suspectum cinctum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Banded Gila Monster-Heloderma suspectum cinctum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Banded Gila Monster-Heloderma suspectum cinctum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Southern Desert Horned Lizard-Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

A few days after leaving St. George, we met up with Andy and Josh again to try for smooth greens. It was another successful outing.

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Western Smooth Green Snake-Opheodrys vernalis blanchardi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Smooth Green Snake-Opheodrys vernalis blanchardi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wandering Garter Snake-Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Smooth Green Snake-Opheodrys vernalis blanchardi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I ran into Jeremy at an expo and we decided to go look for milks the next day. We flipped a few gophers, a milk and quite a few great basin rattlesnakes.

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Milksnake-Lampropeltis triangulum taylori by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I made another trip down to St. George with my wife. This trip was more of a vacation and not really herp related, but I did manage a few things here and there while we were out exploring.

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Zebra-tailed Lizard-Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Zebra-tailed Lizard-Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Zebra-tailed Lizard-Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Plateau Tiger Whiptail-Aspidoscelis tigris septentrionalis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

And I may have snuck out one night for a quick cruise....

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Mojave Desert Sidewinder-Crotalus cerastes cerastes by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Glossy Snake-Arizona elegans eburnata by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I went out a few more times for milks. I think I only had one other successful trip with 3 milks, a bunch of gophers and a nightsnake.

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Desert Night Snake-Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Milksnake-Lampropeltis triangulum taylori by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Milksnake-Lampropeltis triangulum taylori by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Milksnake-Lampropeltis triangulum taylori by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I took another trip with Pat to explore some new areas in south central Utah. A cold front moved in which made for a really slow weekend. The only snake seen was a freshly hit gopher. It was nice to check out a few new areas though.

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Northern Plateau Lizard-Sceloporus tristichus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Plateau Tiger Whiptail-Aspidoscelis tigris septentrionalis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Orange-headed Spiny Lizard-Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Orange-headed Spiny Lizard-Sceloporus magister cephaloflavus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

On the way back home we decided to flip a hillside that I've looked at in the past and wanted to try, but had never got around to stopping. Temps were in the low 50s and it was raining, but we flipped a few rattlesnakes.

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

One night back in June I met up with Gavin for what turned out to be our best night of cruising all year. We saw a total of 58 snakes (I think). The majority were gophers, but we also saw longnose, milks, rattlesnakes and a whipsnake.

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Great Basin Gopher Snake-Pituophis catenifer deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

After moving this rattlesnake off the road, it decided to climb about three feet off the ground into some sagebrush.

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Milksnake-Lampropeltis triangulum taylori by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I've seen boreal toads in CA before, but I hadn't seen them in Utah until this year. They are one that I'd been putting off for some time. I finally decided to go look for them this year. I found a few before the sun went down. After the sun was down they came out in the hundreds.

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Boreal Toad-Anaxyrus boreas boreas by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Boreal Toad-Anaxyrus boreas boreas by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Boreal Toad-Anaxyrus boreas boreas by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Boreal Toad-Anaxyrus boreas boreas by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Spadefoot-Spea intermontana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I tried a new spot near my house this year that I spent quite a bit of time cruising. Turned out to be a decent spot for boas among other things.

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Night Snake-Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Things started to really slow down about this time.

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Western Long-nosed Snake-Rhinocheilus lecontei by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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New Mexico Whiptail-Aspidoscelis neomexicana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

In July I decided to try for the last frog species I needed in Utah, the Columbia Spotted Frog. I've scoped out lots of areas on Google Earth over the last several years, but never had the time to go check them out. I made it a point to get out this year and try. My dad joined me for this trip. We got to one of the areas late in the evening and hiked some places before sunset without seeing anything. We cruised the roads that night only seeing a nightsnake and rattlesnake.

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Night Snake-Hypsiglena chlorophaea deserticola by Rye Jones, on Flickr

The next morning we headed out to some of the areas I had scoped out for frogs. The first few spots didn't produce anything, but we eventually found some, as well as some horned lizards on the roads.

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Northern Desert Horned Lizard-Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Desert Horned Lizard-Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Columbia Spotted Frog-Rana luteiventris by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Columbia Spotted Frog-Rana luteiventris by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Columbia Spotted Frog-Rana luteiventris by Rye Jones, on Flickr

On the way back, we stopped at a few spots to do some fossil hunting. This GB collared lizard didn't seem to happy to see us.

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Great Basin Collared Lizard-Crotaphytus bicinctores by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Collared Lizard-Crotaphytus bicinctores by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Another day in July it felt "snakey". The humidity was up and it seemed like some stuff would be moving so I got out to see what I could find. For the most part all I saw was garters. They were definitely on the move. I found several while hiking and some more in the road. After I found a freshly hit boa, I got out and hiked the area a bit, turning up another large adult boa.

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Wandering Garter Snake-Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wandering Garter Snake-Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Rubber Boa-Charina bottae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

A few more of the usual finds for the next few weeks.

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer-Coluber constrictor mormon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta bellii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

My quest for a live Utah ringnecked snake took me to some new areas and some familiar areas. Still wasn't able to find a live ringer, but it wasn't a total bust.

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Northern Leopard Frog-Lithobates pipiens by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Rattlesnake-Crotalus oreganus lutosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Spadefoot-Spea intermontana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Basin Spadefoot-Spea intermontana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Another snake I've been searching for years for in Utah is the great plains ratsnake. This snake has eluded me for several years. I was determined to make this the year. Pat and I set out to eastern Utah in search of one.

We turned up dozens of leopard frogs.

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Northern Leopard Frog-Lithobates pipiens by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Leopard Frog-Lithobates pipiens by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Leopard Frog-Lithobates pipiens by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Another snake that has eluded me in the past is the black-necked garter. They may be common in a lot of other places, but they are not commonly seen here in Utah. We decided to try a few spots for those as well while we were there. Not long into the hike, we found one crossing a stream. A very welcome sight and thus completing my Utah garters.

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Western Black-necked Gartersnake-Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Black-necked Gartersnake-Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

I tried to get photos with natural light, but the light was fading fast so I had to bust out the flash.

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Western Black-necked Gartersnake-Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Black-necked Gartersnake-Thamnophis cyrtopsis cyrtopsis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

A night of cruising didn't produce anything. We hiked a wash and found a bunch of toads.

This thing was a beast!

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Woodhouse Toad-Anaxyrus woodhousii woodhousii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

The next morning we hiked another area. We found a few whipsnakes. We managed to catch one and photograph it.

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Desert Striped Whipsnake-Masticophis taeniatus taeniatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Eastern Collared Lizard-Crotaphytus collaris by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Plateau Lizard-Sceloporus tristichus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Northern Leopard Frog-Lithobates pipiens by Rye Jones, on Flickr

Eventually we were able to turn up the main target of the trip. This was my favorite find of the year.

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Great Plains Ratsnake-Pantherophis emoryi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Plains Ratsnake-Pantherophis emoryi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Plains Ratsnake-Pantherophis emoryi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

A few weeks later, Pat and I made yet another trip down to St. George.

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Desert Glossy Snake-Arizona elegans eburnata by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Arizona Toad-Anaxyrus microscaphus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard-Sceloporus uniformis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Side-blotched Lizard-Uta stansburiana elegans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

We went down to Nevada one night to meet up with Steve. No snakes, but we saw plenty of lizards.

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Western Zebra-tailed Lizard-Callisaurus draconoides rhodostictus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Southern Desert Horned Lizard-Phrynosoma platyrhinos calidiarum by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Utah Banded Gecko-Coleonyx variegatus utahensis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard-Urosaurus graciosus graciosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard-Urosaurus graciosus graciosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Long-tailed Brush Lizard-Urosaurus graciosus graciosus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

The next morning back in St. George, I stopped to photograph a large spiny lizard that I saw cross the road. As I stepped out of my truck, I nearly stepped on a mojave coiled in a bush right next to the road.

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Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard-Sceloporus uniformis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Baja California Treefrog-Pseudacris hypochondriaca by Rye Jones, on Flickr

That night we met up with Cameron for some road cruising.

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California Kingsnake-Lampropeltis getula californiae by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mojave Rattlesnake-Crotalus scutulatus scutulatus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

As the year came to an end, so did the herping with only seeing a few of the common species around home.

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wandering Garter Snake-Thamnophis elegans vagrans by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta bellii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Painted Turtle-Chrysemys picta bellii by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer-Coluber constrictor mormon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer-Coluber constrictor mormon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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American Bullfrog-Lithobates catesbeiana by Rye Jones, on Flickr

And officially the latest I've seen a snake out in Utah. Found a couple valley garters the weekend after Thanksgiving.

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

While photographing this one, we watched this mink capture and eat another one. It was a cool experience to witness.

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Mink Eating a Valley Garter by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mink Eating a Valley Garter by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mink Eating a Valley Garter by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mink Eating a Valley Garter by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Valley Garter Snake-Thamnophis sirtalis fitchi by Rye Jones, on Flickr

To end I'll throw in some of the non herps, landscapes, etc.

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Barn Owl by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Virgin River through Zion by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Bighorn Sheep by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Desert Bighorn Sheep by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Egret by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Gray Owl by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Bold Jumping Spider-Phidippus audax by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Pine Valley Mountains by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Pronghorn by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Garfield County Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wild Horses by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wild Horses by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Box Elder Co. Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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House Fly by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Bold Jumping Spider-Phidippus audax by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Lynx Spider-Oxyopes scalaris by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Raccoon by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Salt Lake Co. Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Moosehorn Lake and Bald Mountain by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Shepard Lake Waterfall by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Root Borer Beetle-Prionus heroicus by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Tarantula-Aphonopelma iodius by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Western Longwing Katydid-Capnobotes occidentalis by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Jumping spider-Habronattus sp. by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Dragonfly by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Buck at Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Garfield Co. Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Banded Garden Spider-Argiope trifasciata by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Greater Angle-wing Katydid-Microcentrum rhombifolium by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Farmington Bay by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mule Deer by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Elk by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mule Deer by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Red Fox by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Tetons by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Moose by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Moose by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Mallard by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Horned Owl by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Farmington Bay Sunset by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Wood Duck by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Horned Owl by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Great Horned Owl by Rye Jones, on Flickr

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Bald Eagle by Rye Jones, on Flickr

2017 turned out to be a pretty great year and I look forward to what 2018 has in store.

I hope you made it all the way through this. Thanks for looking!


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 8:03 am 
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Joined: August 24th, 2010, 8:34 pm
Posts: 426
Location: Los Angeles County
If that was a slow year, I can't wait to see photo's from a good year. Great stuff and great photos.

-nightdriver


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 3:38 pm 

Joined: August 2nd, 2015, 11:55 pm
Posts: 10
Really like the lutosus you found with your dad after looking for spotted frogs. Can't wait for next season. Combined force of the whole Utah crew is going be a voucher machine!


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 10:05 pm 
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Joined: June 18th, 2012, 7:05 pm
Posts: 399
Location: Utah
nightdriver wrote:
If that was a slow year, I can't wait to see photo's from a good year. Great stuff and great photos.

-nightdriver


Thanks! Don’t get me wrong, this was a great year. There were just so many trips in between all of these that I couldn’t even turn up a single gopher. A lot of the areas I herped I’m used to seeing 10+ snakes a night with no problem. Plus on some of the 3-4 day long trips only cruising maybe 1 or 2 snakes total. It seemed like a weird year. I’ve never had one that I’ve been skunked so many times. All in all I had a great time this year and saw a lot of cool animals with a lot of great people.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 3rd, 2018, 10:08 pm 
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Joined: June 18th, 2012, 7:05 pm
Posts: 399
Location: Utah
HunterMeakin wrote:
Really like the lutosus you found with your dad after looking for spotted frogs. Can't wait for next season. Combined force of the whole Utah crew is going be a voucher machine!


Yeah that was a nice one, big too. We’ll have to get a big group outing put together. It would be fun to see what the group could turn up in some less herped areas. Maybe Deep Creeks or something out that way?


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 4th, 2018, 12:19 am 
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Outstanding pics! That mink is an amazing shot. Is it melanistic? I've only seen a couple in Ohio and they were both much browner.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 4th, 2018, 1:16 pm 
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John Martin wrote:
Outstanding pics! That mink is an amazing shot. Is it melanistic? I've only seen a couple in Ohio and they were both much browner.


Thanks, John! I believe the mink is feral. There is a mink farm not too far away. Years ago an animal activist group decided it would be a good idea to break in and release about 6000 minks. The majority were recovered but I believe this is likely related to that. I saw two others in this same area.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 5th, 2018, 11:30 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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Nice storytelling, and pics to go with. I always enjoy them all, thank you Rye. Congrats on the lifer-lifers and state lifers.

Quote:
As I stepped out of my truck, I nearly stepped on a mojave coiled in a bush right next to the road.


Well that would have sucked. Looks like a grumpy bruiser.

Quote:
I believe the mink is feral. There is a mink farm not too far away. Years ago an animal activist group decided it would be a good idea to break in and release about 6000 minks. The majority were recovered but I believe this is likely related to that.


Yeah, I've heard about that. The mink are an ongoing threat to various native taxa. Too bad they occur at one of the few fitchi strongholds. Between them and the bullfrogs I worry for this taxon in Utah.

Quote:
HunterMeakin wrote:
Really like the lutosus you found with your dad after looking for spotted frogs. Can't wait for next season. Combined force of the whole Utah crew is going be a voucher machine!

Yeah that was a nice one, big too. We’ll have to get a big group outing put together. It would be fun to see what the group could turn up in some less herped areas. Maybe Deep Creeks or something out that way?


+1 on the grey lutosus (a Tule Valley specimen?) - I like that look; all the ones I find there are grey, old, and stunted

also +1 on the "voucher machine" thought; anyone down for a pyro mission (mid-late May? early June?) to the Indian Peaks and Mountain Home ranges? fun bycatch could include ringers, skinks, desert garters, and all the usual common GB stuff; a pyro there would fill an irritating hole in the known, vouchered distribution between the Wah Wahs & Snake Range, and close to some "rumored spots" south of the Snake

there's lots of nice, huntable rock there; we could call it our chapter trip, "in memory of"; and I reckon very few of the Utah crew have been out there, it's quite the boonies

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 1:04 am 

Joined: August 2nd, 2015, 11:55 pm
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Quote:
also +1 on the "voucher machine" thought; anyone down for a pyro mission (mid-late May? early June?) to the Indian Peaks and Mountain Home ranges? fun bycatch could include ringers, skinks, desert garters, and all the usual common GB stuff; a pyro there would fill an irritating hole in the known, vouchered distribution between the Wah Wahs & Snake Range, and close to some "rumored spots" south of the Snake

there's lots of nice, huntable rock there; we could call it our chapter trip, "in memory of"; and I reckon very few of the Utah crew have been out there, it's quite the boonies

cheers


Definitely going to make a few trips out that way. Last year I tried several times to repeat Marks pyros from the Confusion Range, so I could get them on the NAHerp database. This winter I have been on google earth, comparing nearby areas to where he found them. There is so much pyro habitat it's hard to pick where to start lol! Would be awesome to get a group of guys out there for a multiple day trip and really hit it hard.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 9:03 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
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Quote:
repeat Marks pyros from the Confusion Range


Other than "personal glory", in my opinion that would be pointless. Those animals are all accessioned into BYU via photos (2 specimens) or physically, as "1 snake in 5 parts" (yes, 1 specimen, in 5 segments - that's how he found it though). Trust me bro, it's a tough hunt. He made many, many, many, many fruitless trips out there. I was with him for a few. Gorgeous place, splendid desolation. But a TOUGH hunt. Probably half the time, zero snakes. Even lutosus and gophers are hard to come by out there, alright? Whipsnakes own it, with little company.

I think, if you're wanting to put in some effort - try someplace they aren't yet documented. If you get one, don't keep it secret, get it into "the permanent record" in a museum. Not just with UDWR, and not just with HERP, but get it a museum number.

This is why I suggest Indian Peaks Range. It's much nicer hunting - more shade, more (i.e., some, vs absolutely none whatsoever) water, better rock (lots of igneous w/ cracks & flippables, not just limestone). And you actually see other species of snakes there, almost every trip (it just wears on a guy who think himself a decent snake hunter, to not be able to kick up a snake all damn day, ha ha ha). With pyros being documented from the Wah Wahs since the 60's, and now with Mark's having found (and museum-accessioned one of) them in the Antelope Range just last year, IMO the San Franciscos and the Indian Peaks are pretty much gimmes. All it will take is some effort and follow-through. The 'Friscos don't have as much good rock and their access roads are crappier. So I say "start with the IP's". Mark and I have been out there a couple times together and a couple times alone. IMO it's just a matter of time. Beat us to it!

OTOH if you want another bitch pyro hunt with terrible odds (but potential glory) - try the North House Range! Or the Central House Range! Or the Crickets! Or the Fish Springs Range! Or the Tunnel Springs Range! Or the ... well, you get the point. Skip the Confusions unless you just want a lovely trip to utter solitude, with happy plants and few weeds 'cause there's zero water for herbivores. Oh yeah, skip the South House, 'cause we got one there in ~2012, and put her photo in the museum.

Shall we try to raise a crew for the IP's in early May?


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 3:08 pm 

Joined: March 8th, 2011, 2:08 pm
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Location: Utah
Like Jimi I would encourage that, if pyros are your target, then in the interests of science you should aim for pyros in those other ranges like those he mentions, rather than in the Confusions. I photoed 4 in the Confusions, in 2 different drainages, during 2011-13. If you spend time in all those ranges, you would probably conclude as I have that the habitat feels like pyros ought to be easier to find in the San Franciscos, Indian Peaks & House than in the Confusions. I'm not sure why pyros turned out more findable for me (according to specimens found per hours searched) in the Confusions than in the House & other ranges that seem to hold 'better' habitat (more surface water, more diverse plants species, higher elevation).

Also: to my knowledge nightsnakes, ringnecks & skinks are not vouchered in the Confusions & could occur there. So be sure to photovoucher specimens of those species if you can. I have photoed skinks in the San Franciscos, Indian Pks & House.

Thanks for the photos & accounts, Rye.

--Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 3:45 pm 

Joined: August 2nd, 2015, 11:55 pm
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Jimi and Mark - Yeah it was mix of personal glory and fascination with the idea that pyros occur in such a place. Also figured I would check out a confirmed spot and get a feel for what is possible habitat. Since I'm so new to herping, this is something I have been doing a lot. Going to known areas and getting a feel for how to detect targets, with the intention of looking in unvouchered areas once I have a grip on habitat, microhabitat etc. Managed to find 3 pyros on 2 separate day trips to Sevier county, which has given me some confidence to go look in new ranges this year!


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 8:09 pm 
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Jimi wrote:
Nice storytelling, and pics to go with. I always enjoy them all, thank you Rye. Congrats on the lifer-lifers and state lifers.


Thanks, Jimi!

Jimi wrote:
Quote:
As I stepped out of my truck, I nearly stepped on a mojave coiled in a bush right next to the road.

Well that would have sucked. Looks like a grumpy bruiser.


Luckily it gave me a warning. Makes me wonder how many roadside snakes we drive right past.

Jimi wrote:
+1 on the grey lutosus (a Tule Valley specimen?) - I like that look; all the ones I find there are grey, old, and stunted

also +1 on the "voucher machine" thought; anyone down for a pyro mission (mid-late May? early June?) to the Indian Peaks and Mountain Home ranges? fun bycatch could include ringers, skinks, desert garters, and all the usual common GB stuff; a pyro there would fill an irritating hole in the known, vouchered distribution between the Wah Wahs & Snake Range, and close to some "rumored spots" south of the Snake

there's lots of nice, huntable rock there; we could call it our chapter trip, "in memory of"; and I reckon very few of the Utah crew have been out there, it's quite the boonies

cheers


Yep, Tule Valley toward the NV border. I really like the ones out that way. That grey is nice.

Indian Peaks sounds fun. I was under the impression there were some records there. Guess we better get out there and get one.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 6th, 2018, 8:14 pm 
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Mark Hazel wrote:
Thanks for the photos & accounts, Rye.


Thanks, Mark


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 7th, 2018, 10:00 am 
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Wow Rye beautiful photo's of a "slow" year. I hope to get in the field with you this year.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 9th, 2018, 5:42 pm 
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Bryan Hamilton wrote:
Wow Rye beautiful photo's of a "slow" year. I hope to get in the field with you this year.


Thanks, Bryan. One of these days we'll get out together. I still need to pay you a visit out at GBNP.


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 10th, 2018, 7:06 pm 

Joined: July 15th, 2010, 6:41 am
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Location: Beautiful Great Basin
Those were a lot of great photos. Thanks for taking the time to post that


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 Post subject: Re: Utah 2017 Review
PostPosted: February 12th, 2018, 7:39 am 

Joined: October 19th, 2010, 12:38 pm
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Great finds! Motivates me to get out more this year.
Thanks for posting,
Justin


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