Southern California 2008

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Ross Padilla
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Southern California 2008

Post by Ross Padilla » February 20th, 2011, 5:50 pm

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In my previous post 2007 in So Cal, I talked about our worst drought on record and showed what it was like to herp during that drought. In December of that year we had a new beginning when a huge storm rolled through and dumped tons of rain for a couple of days. The area I search received 2.5" which was almost the total amount of rain for the previous season. Being inland the nights are pretty cold which I think may be one of the reasons snakes are harder to come by than the coastal areas during winter. Despite that, I was able to find much more in the month of December than what I normally do when there is no rain. For the fact these conditions were so different than what conditions I herped in during the drought, I decided to include these late 2007 finds with the rest of my 08 finds as it was the beginning of a new moist season for me.

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Under the back rest of this car seat (half of which is visible and exposed to the sun), I found a pair of....
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Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus helleri) The first time I've found 2 snakes of any kind under AC in December out here.
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What a site it was to see green in over a year.
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San Diego Night Snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) This snake was found under the board photoed above. These are the most common snakes encountered out here under AC.
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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) This fellow was found in his typical rocky habitat.
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San Bernardino Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus modestus) A good find for the area.
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It seemed like it had been forever since I had seen snow on the mountains.
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Even finding a shed of an adult Cal king was pretty exciting. I hadn't seen an adult out here all year.
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California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) My target species turned up not 50' from the shed skin. This was a new area and produced its share of getula the fallowing spring.
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Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) This fellow was found under a board with a Western Toad.
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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) I then turned up this rattler about 100 yards from the helleri. This was my favorite find of December.
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The arrival of spring was breath taking to say the least. I hadn't been in the area for a month, so it was nice to see all the flowers in full bloom. I was hoping to flip a boa this spring and it was a lot more difficult than I expected.
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Baja California Lyre Snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes) This juvenile was the first Lyre I've ever flipped.
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San Diego Night Snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) Also flipped this under a rock.
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Coastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) Damn, after about 3 days I finally flipped one. lol These boa guys sure make it look easy! I have a lot to learn when it comes to flipping boas though. I was very excited about the find and took about a hundred pictures of it. lol
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Granite Spiny Lizards (Sceloporus orcutti)
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San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens) I couldn't believe my eyes when I flipped a board and found this 70" Gopher Snake under it! It was the largest one I've found so far. Wish the picture had turned out a little better.
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It almost looked like it had snowed here.
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Red Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus) My first Coachwhip in a couple of years. Not that they are hard to find, but last year was very slow out here. After they struggle for long enough, they will sometimes try to play dead and point their nose at the ground.
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This one tried to play Indigo.
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I don't run into too many of these.
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Habitat shots are nice, but to me there's nothing like a spring time board shot.
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California Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula californiae) Spring looked nice, but it was still on the dry side in a lot of places. A heat wave in late March may have had everything to do with it. I would love to have found more Cal kings, but because of the conditions I was limited to a few areas that retained moisture better than the others. This little one and most of the others were found in those areas under boards and other AC.
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San Diego Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata webbii) This one had some unusually nice red coloration.
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Two-striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii) I've only found these at one spot I know.
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San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens)
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These two dashed as soon as I lifted their cover.
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California Kingsnakes (Lampropeltis getula californiae) These two were the only adults I ran across this year. :( The last one looked pretty old compared to most kings I ever find. Last two pictures are the same snake.
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A Riverside Co. striper! A bit thin but was still happy to find it.
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I thought this picture turned out cool.
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San Diego Night Snake (Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha klauberi) Image

Western Black-headed Snake (Tantilla planiceps)
Found this little guy after searching for hours without a find. He turned out to be the only snake I ever found at this site.
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Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri) Believe it or not, the only one I've seen this year.
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Red Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus) A sub adult found under a board.
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One found under a piece of car seat.
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And one of the nicest ones I've ever found, under this board.
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San Diego Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus abbotti)
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Newport-Long Beach Barred California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) For the past year all I could think about was finding this type of aberrant king. Last winter I set up a few more spots and found a few more areas with lots of AC. My goal was to find as many kings as I could which would hopefully increase my chances of finding one. Well, after all that work I ended up finding this one at one of my old spots, it figures. When I first lifted the board I thought it was a normal banded king until I looked closer. I hadn't expected to find one this year so soon, so the feeling was great.
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Coastal Rosy Boas (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) After things started warming up, I hit the roads in hopes of finding some boas. I had never been successful road cruising them until this year. Hubbs shared a few tips with me in 06, but in 07 when I tried to apply them, I came up empty. I'm sure that had everything to do with the drought because this year they were everywhere. I only struck out one evening and that might have been because it was a little cold that time. I know there are a lot of herpers that have been cruising these coastals for years, but to me this was one of the greatest herping experiences I've ever had. These two were found on my first attempt road cruising this year.
Boa #1
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Boa #2
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Then I found these two another evening.
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Found these two DOR's. The Long nosed was smashed flat. I think the king happened on to a DOR, began to eat it, then became a DOR.
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Then a 4 boa night! Of course I was all excited about that.lol

Boa #1 A large female.
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Boa #2 Adult female.
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With so many out this night, I guess someone had to get hit. If there was any more traffic, there probably would have been a lot more DOR's. Also seen a DOR ruber.
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Boa #3 A juvenile.
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Boa #4 A sub adult in situ.
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Coastal Rosy Boas (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) This little guy looked like a stick as I passed by. I had to go back and take a second look to be sure it wasn't a boa
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In situ. These are by far my favorite kind of shots.[/b]
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Just after turning around to make another pass, I was met head on by another driver. I immediately thought to my self "I hope this guy didn't hit any boas". This was the scene I came up on 5 minutes later.
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This one made a quick "U" turn as we approached. Here's the only photo I have of the snake. Unfortunately it turned out half focused.
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This little fellow sort of balled up on me. He would only stay balled up if I was touching him.
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San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens)
At first glance I didn't know what this was. It looked like it had stripes. In situ. You can see the little trail he left.
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Coastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca)
Right after the Gopher snake, I found this one. Luckily he didn't move and I was able to get this in situ that turned out to be my favorite.
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As I reached down to pick him up, he went into this defensive pose.
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This is my favorite mountain range because I've been coming here sinse I was 18. I found very little back then because I didn't know what was doing. Its still tough but a lot of fun no matter what I find.

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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) In situ. I found this little guy before I expected to see anything.
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This photo of him didn't turn out like I had hoped, maybe next time.
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Coastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca)
I was very happy to finally find this species up here. Even though the boas up here are not much different than the boas in the lower elivations, its really cool to find them in a different habitat that requires a different search time to figure out.
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Baja California Lyre Snake (Trimorphodon biscutatus lyrophanes) I actually found this Lyre before I needed to turn on the head lites. It was the first time I've found one in the early evening.
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Southern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri)
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Coastal Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata roseofusca) This was the best I could get on the in situ. I never get tired of finding these even though I've seen quit a few this year.
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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) These are the best photo's I could get on this guy. I left the snake stick at home.
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One night in September I had the chance to do a little night driving down by Borrego, but decided to wait a couple of days for a mini heat wave. After its arrival I headed out to the Borrego area to try my luck for a couple of hours. It was nice and warm the whole time. I didn't have my thermometer but it was somewhere in the mid to upper 70's. I arrived at night, so these habitat shots I added were actually taken last year at the same area.
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Its almost dark as I arrive, and immediately I'm day dreaming of seeing a kingsnake crossing the road. lol That's always my main target, especially here. What I start finding instead, are tons of these.
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Tarantulas were everywhere! I've never seen so many in my life. I also seen a few of these alien creatures.
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It wasn't long before I started finding snakes. They weren't actually crawling everywhere, but I seen my share for the two hours I was there. Having work the next day prevented me from staying as long as conditions were good.

San Diego Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer annectens) This hatchling was the first snake I encountered. It would have been really nice to of photoed him flattened way out like he did when I approached him. There was a car coming at the time so I had to settle for a posed shot. These Gophers might actually be intergrades, as are a lot of other species here.
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Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata x occidentalis) Another frequently found snake in this area. This one had found himself a nice meal. I was surprised after viewing this photo how cool his over all pattern and colors looked.
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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber) This little fella was about as lucky as they come. Not only did I just about clip him, the car behind me missed him also.
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Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) This was actually a good sized adult and the only adult anything I seen this night. I've only found one other Long-nose at this location, so I was happy to see this guy. He was about as wild as they get when trying to pose him. This was the only position I was able to get in 5 minutes of playing with him. Maybe someday I'll be able to sit long enough to get some really good poses.
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Desert Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus variegatus) I found a few of these also. I've always thought these were the coolest little lizards.
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California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) I was really excited to find this little guy. I waited the extra couple of days to increase my chances of finding one, and it actually happened. I just love the look of these Borrego kings.
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The night turned out a lot better than I expected, too bad I had to leave so early though. Conditions were so good that I actually found a few more snakes way up on hwy 79 just outside Temecula. Every time I leave Borrego and go through there, its late, cold, and all I see are DOR's. I ended up seeing 9 live snakes and 5 DOR's. Another thing was, I seen about 6 Coyotes that night. That was by far the most I've ever seen while night driving out there. Later I was able to make a few more trips out there, here's what I seen.
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Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
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Red Diamond Rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)
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Always a target of mine which makes these DOR's an even sadder sight.
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Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)
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Glossy Snake (Arizona elegans eburnata x occidentalis) After finding a few of these partial striped Glossies in the area, I was beginning to wonder if this was where the striper's could be found.
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Then one night I finally found one. I've been wanting to find one of these for a couple of years now.
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California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) The striped Glossy was found right after dark. After that, Borrego was dead for three and a half hours despite the nice temps (low 70's). After that long, you begin to wonder if you'll see anything else. Well, I finally gave up hope and started to head back. Hoping to find a "live" king all night, I lucked out when I ran into this little guy.
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Hope you all enjoyed, it was one of my better years.

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DaneConley
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by DaneConley » February 20th, 2011, 7:17 pm

When I find a dead animal on the road I always take it off...just in case something else eats...and doesn't end up like that kingsnake. But great photos and I'm really glad now that I'm beggining to use AC. Those kings are spectacular.

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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by mikemike » February 20th, 2011, 8:05 pm

Great post, Ross. Looks like 08 was a pretty awesome year for you!

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Marc Dubois
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Marc Dubois » February 20th, 2011, 8:50 pm

Great post !!

I like especially the Red Diamond Rattlesnake and the Longnosed Snake.

HerpHail
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by HerpHail » February 20th, 2011, 9:39 pm

Great pictures! Those R. Co. habitat shots look familiar. ;)

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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by RobertH » February 20th, 2011, 10:31 pm

Great pics. I can see now why people like desert phase kings. The colors are so pure and vibrant.

Robert

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Nature Nate
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Nature Nate » February 20th, 2011, 10:57 pm

The second boa you found on your first attempt at cruzing is my favorite for color and pattern of all the rosy morphs! that's my dream to see one of those in the wild someday. Down here in SD all that I've seen are the dark brown and muddy colors. Great Post! I plan on doing one in a year or so like this about the first year of my personal boardlines after they age. Thanks for sharing. -Nate

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LocalityRosys
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by LocalityRosys » February 21st, 2011, 8:07 am

Outfreakenstanding post man. One of the best ever. The habitat shots were just as cool as the animal shots. It took me back to see pics of one of my all-time favorite Rosy localities on your 4 Rosy night. The one shot of the Rosy in situ (the long straight-away shot) is the exact spot I found my first Rosy. It brought the best of memories back to me. I had found Rosys in all of the other spots from you 4 Rosy night too. Thanks for that, it was amazing.

Great post,

Jer

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monklet
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by monklet » February 21st, 2011, 8:48 am

Tasty, timely and highly inspirational :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: Love the "in situ" road shots. Tons of great stuff ...almost like being there ...well, as close as it gets in pics anyway.

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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by hellihooks » February 21st, 2011, 8:53 am

nice re-post Ross... good stuff! jim

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Ross Padilla
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Ross Padilla » February 21st, 2011, 10:07 am

DaneConley wrote:When I find a dead animal on the road I always take it off...just in case something else eats...and doesn't end up like that kingsnake.
Good move, man. I never realized how important it was until I found this king like that. Thanks.
mikemike wrote:Great post, Ross. Looks like 08 was a pretty awesome year for you!
Thanks, it sure was.
Paul Lynum wrote:Ross,

I hate to say (Not really ;) ) but I like the board and habitat shots the best. Don't get me wrong about the herp pics, I like those alot too. Just ones man's garbage is another man's treasure! :thumb: You know what I'm saying.

I know what you mean, I've always loved seeing shots like that in other posts from all over the country. It really gives you the feel of the catch.
Paul Lynum wrote:As for you, 2007 was the worst year I ever had in the field. It sucked and by the end of that year I was wondering if I should throw the towel in. Stuff I thought I was a pro at became really hard to find. I took 06 of from the field and was more than ready (And cocky) for a fresh start in 07. What a wakeup call and humbleing experience. Thank goodness 08 was a good year! If it wasn't I may not have been here today to tell you I enjoyed your post :beer:

Hasta

PL
Funny because 2007 was my best year. The only reason why I was able to find so much is because I went out more that year than any other. The snakes were still hard to find though. I remember when I first put my 2007 post together, it made it look like snakes were all over the place for me, but in reality there was a lot of time in there I wasn't finding Jack! lol Thanks Paul.
Marc Dubois wrote:Great post !!

I like especially the Red Diamond Rattlesnake and the Longnosed Snake.
Thanks, those are some of my favorites.
HerpHail wrote:Great pictures! Those R. Co. habitat shots look familiar. ;)
I hope not. :lol: Thanks a lot.

RobertH wrote:Great pics. I can see now why people like desert phase kings. The colors are so pure and vibrant.

Robert
Thanks, Robert. Yeah, they are really a treat after seeing so many coastals, but I still love both.
Nature Nate wrote:The second boa you found on your first attempt at cruzing is my favorite for color and pattern of all the rosy morphs! that's my dream to see one of those in the wild someday. Down here in SD all that I've seen are the dark brown and muddy colors. Great Post! I plan on doing one in a year or so like this about the first year of my personal boardlines after they age. Thanks for sharing. -Nate
Glad you liked them, they are definitely different from the SD boas. One thing good about that is you get to see a different look to them not too far away. I'd like to find some CA uni's my self one day. Good luck with your boards.

LocalityRosys wrote:Outfreakenstanding post man. One of the best ever. The habitat shots were just as cool as the animal shots. It took me back to see pics of one of my all-time favorite Rosy localities on your 4 Rosy night. The one shot of the Rosy in situ (the long straight-away shot) is the exact spot I found my first Rosy. It brought the best of memories back to me. I had found Rosys in all of the other spots from you 4 Rosy night too. Thanks for that, it was amazing.

Great post,

Jer
Thanks a lot, Jer. That means a lot coming from Mr. Locality him self. ;) Yes, that road can be amazing during the right year. Glad it brought back so many good memories for you.

monklet wrote:Tasty, timely and highly inspirational :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: Love the "in situ" road shots. Tons of great stuff ...almost like being there ...well, as close as it gets in pics anyway.
I'm glad you liked it, Brad. I thought now was the time before the season really starts going off. Thanks!
hellihooks wrote:nice re-post Ross... good stuff! jim
Thanks a lot, Jim!

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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by heavenscloud » February 21st, 2011, 11:44 am

Ross Padilla wrote:Habitat shots are nice, but to me there's nothing like a spring time board shot.
Couldn't have said it better myself! Those AC shots are drool-worthy and have me itching for spring! Hope you have similar success with those spots this year. :thumb:

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Dell Despain
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Dell Despain » February 21st, 2011, 11:54 am

I remember some of these, and I'm happy to see them again. Exceptional post Ross.

I love the habitat shots myself, those hillsides w/ the huge boulders spread all over the place look dreamy, hard to hunt I bet, but still dreamy.

You doing an 09 post too?

-Dell

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Fieldnotes
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Fieldnotes » February 21st, 2011, 11:56 am

might be an old post/pictures, but it is a good one :thumb: :thumb:

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Ross Padilla
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Re: Southern California 2008

Post by Ross Padilla » February 21st, 2011, 10:22 pm

heavenscloud wrote:
Ross Padilla wrote:Habitat shots are nice, but to me there's nothing like a spring time board shot.
Couldn't have said it better myself! Those AC shots are drool-worthy and have me itching for spring! Hope you have similar success with those spots this year. :thumb:
Glad you liked them. Thanks a lot!
Dell Despain wrote:I remember some of these, and I'm happy to see them again. Exceptional post Ross.

I love the habitat shots myself, those hillsides w/ the huge boulders spread all over the place look dreamy, hard to hunt I bet, but still dreamy.

You doing an 09 post too?

-Dell
I will but maybe this summer and combine it with all the 2010 stuff that was lost. Thanks a lot, Dell.
Fieldnotes wrote:might be an old post/pictures, but it is a good one :thumb: :thumb:
Thanks, Will. :thumb:

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