Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy warning

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Norman D
Posts: 454
Joined: November 4th, 2010, 7:10 am
Location: Sonoran Desert

Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy warning

Post by Norman D » March 6th, 2011, 1:06 am

Hi Everyone. My name is Norman and dwell in the Sonoran desert. Pretty new to the forum (been lurking the past year) and pretty new to field herping compared to a lot of you. Love the outdoors. I enjoy taking photos with my little point and shoot camera (hate carrying too much stuff with me). Arizona seems to be known for SE AZ herping, but I mostly hang out in Maricopa county since school and work keep me busy. My username expresses my passion for Astrochelys Radiata and Astrochelys Yniphora.

Astrochelys Radiata
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Pyros, desert tortoises, and gila monsters were my main interests when I started out. Took me over 10 years to find all 3 of them. But I didn't really know how to look back then. Eventually, I started getting into rattlesnakes after visiting the AHA forum and seeing photos by Rich G, Brendan, Will Wells, Kris AzAtrox, Sharrocks, and the likes of many more. I will mostly be sharing photos of pyros, DTs, gilas, chuckwallas, horned lizards, and crotes since those are my favorites.

When I first started out, I mostly dreamed about finding mountain kingsnakes....mostly since I was a little kid. My little brother would have to listen to me all the time talking about how cool they were. Always going up north fishing for trout, but never found a pyro. Over ten years later, I would find my first pyro (a yearling) on a camping trip for my bday... in one of the more visited canyons in Arizona.
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I wouldn't find another pyro in the northern regions, but did pretty good in the southern regions the next few years.
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Always a sad sight...
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Almost everytime I go looking for pyros, I would find various gartersnakes especially the cool Narrow-Headed Gartersnakes. I found this one eating a trout
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I actually like all kingsnakes and have actually found more pyros than cal or desert kingsnakes. This is the first Cal King I found in over 10 years and it was on one of the most popular trails in heart of Phoenix:
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My father used to take me to washes to look for desert tortoises when I was a little kid, but we only found a carcass of one. Around ten years later, we found a desert tortoise near Prescott. The only photos I have of it are on film. This past year, I was able to get out and find some more! Also found a huge male near Joshua Tree Park. Volunteering with AZG&F has helped me locate a lot of desert tortoises and learn a lot about them
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Desert tortoises apparently aren't made mountain lion-proof
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Cool surveys!
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Next, gila monsters! Gila monsters are pretty common, but secretive. Living in Arizona over 25 years, I never saw one until last year. Many people who live in Arizona, never have and never will see a Gila Monster.
My first one
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And others followed:
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A common way to find a gila...but my first time finding one this way...
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Not much of a flipper, but it is pretty cool to get a triple
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After the popular gila monster, the chuckwalla usually pops into mind when speaking of lizards in AZ.
Used to see some near Tucson when I was a little kid, but never took photos of them. I don't think I even had a camera back then.
These are fun to see since they are on all of my favorite local hiking trails. Seems like many people don't take a lot of photos of chucks

You can see carrots from far away
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Two for one deal
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Another two fer one deal
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Juvie and baby chucks are pretty darn cute
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Almost looks like a gila in disguise
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The only decent photo of many chucks I found near Joshua Tree
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Can you find the chuckwalla in this pic?
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A pair
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Horned lizards are one of the coolest North American Lizards and we all grew up keeping one as a pet or catching them when camping. Still some of my favorites
Since I switched to a digital camera, I haven't been able to find the mountain species in AZ.
Phrynosoma Goodei
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PhrynosomaPlatyrhinos
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Phrynosoma Solare
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Phrynosoma Cornutum
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Texas Hold'em: Pocket Aces
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I also like the Scelops...they feed a lot of your favorite sky island rattlers
Still cold
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I am sure a sky island rattler wouldn't pass up one of these either
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Speaking of sky island rattlers, this is the only one I have found: C. L. Klauberi. Bad pic, but I was excited since it was found about 3 feet away from a pyro. Too much excitement led to a shaky camera.
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Some animals are very fast and you are lucky if you can sneak up on them and get a decent photo such as fringe toe lizards, coachwhips, etc
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Roadcruising is a big part of herping, but I get too damn sleepy. I wanted to show my fiance' a sidewinder and roadcruising seems like one of the best ways to produce one.

Victim of the road and a hallucinogenic snack for a wandering predator
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The target:
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Sidewinders are dirt common but still a very neat and unique crote. If they were rare like Obscurus, everyone would be all over these
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Roadcruising can also turn up some other cool finds:
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Chihuahua Hooked Nose Snake
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Not to be confused with this guy
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Rattlesnakes used to be considered a hazard and now have become a focal point for many photographers. I am becoming one of those people. My lack of a dependable vehicle keeps me from going to SE AZ much, so I do what I can nearby. I used to see diamondbacks, mojaves, and sidewinders all the time roadcruising when younger. I thought all rattlers were pretty much the same. The more I saw photos of various species in various habitats, I became intrigued. Also, I was starting to learn from Rich G, Kris AzAtrox, and Brendan about observing animals and not harrassing them. By doing so, I have been able to find some of the same animals and other animals that use some of the same dens. In addition, I find myself finding animals on a more consistent basis. Here are some of the photos (bad and decent) I took over the last couple years.

As common as atrox and scutes are, I actually have only found a few of each the past year. Mostly because I rarely roadcruise anymore.
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Looks like this one sustained some head damage but still living up to its reputation
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I almost stepped on this one, but my fiance' spotted it! I knew she was the one for a reason
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Two of my 2010 goals were to find an AZ black and a tiger rattler. Never really looked for them before, but thought they were beautiful species.
I managed to find a cerb in the southern portion of its range and it was such a mellow snake
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Speaking of mellow crotes, the black tail comes to mind. One of my favorites and a gorgeous species
Mountain phases
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Desert phases
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Tigers are known for being secretive and some people say they are difficult to find. I didn't have too much trouble finding them and it may have been the most encountered snake for me in 2010.
My first one had a kiss waiting for me, but I had to politely decline
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The first two tigers I encountered were pretty nervous and rattled for a long time. I have heard they are pretty mellow, but based off my first 2 impressions...I would almost disagree.
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After my first two, I didn't come across another tiger that rattled.... no matter how close I got to them
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You gotta hide better than that....
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And some I got pretty close
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And closer
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And the benefit of not hooking rattlers...

initially I thought this was a huge tiger. But when I got home and uploaded the photos, I noticed to tails with broken rattlers. Two tigers!
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Then I checked on them about two weeks later...shed
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A week later
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I was hoping to see babies, but no luck...maybe next year

Now on to SW Speckled Rattlers which are often confused for Tigers
This is one of my favorite species because it lives nearby and it is so variable.

This was my first speckled I got to see two years ago. These would be the only speckleds I found in the spring.
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Then, in the same rock pile
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A year later, I had trouble finding any snakes in the spring....actually didn't find one snake in the spring. Summer time was here and that meant I was going to sweat hard to find anything. I sweat a lot this summer but had a lot of fun. Also got tagged by a speckled for getting too close with my point and shoot camera. Lesson learned.
Actually, I lied....I did find a speckled in the spring....in california. Actually, my fiance found it
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Here is the first mitchelli I found night hiking
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Looking for speckleds, you may come across things that may eat a speckled or a speckled may eat
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Eventually, I started to look not far away from this range to look for some that were brown and red
My first time, there I found one that I thought was a tiger at first. It didn't act nervously like some of the other speckleds I encountered
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In the same range, I found some nicer looking animals
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And the bastard who costs me a lot of money!
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Not too sure what this one was doing
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A tiger and mitchelli
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The mitchelli bite shortened my 2010 season.

In addition, I did make it to Costa Rica last year and have lots of pics. One day I will get around to posting those, but here are a few from that trip
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Thanks for looking and I hope to contribute more in the future.
Norman

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azatrox
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 5:51 am
Location: Arizona

Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by azatrox » March 6th, 2011, 2:10 am

Great stuff Norm! I need to find me a woman that's as good at spotting animals as your fiance apparently is! :D

Love the chuck overlooking the city photo!

Bump on over to the Az Chapter and introduce yourself when you get a minute...I'm sure they'd love to see these photos in there as well...

-Kris

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pete
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by pete » March 6th, 2011, 4:11 am

That must have taken quite a while to put together!!

I enjoyed every picture in that post! :thumb:

Thanks for that..a little eye candy for the winter :)

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M.J.FRANETOVICH
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 9:54 pm
Location: Deadhorse/California

Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by M.J.FRANETOVICH » March 6th, 2011, 4:24 am

congratulations on your first post :thumb: It was awesome!!!! Pretty good photography work as well :beer: welcome to the forum!!!



><)))&>
Mel~

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by chris_mcmartin » March 6th, 2011, 4:46 am

What was that brown mammal departing the road? I couldn't tell.

ugh
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by ugh » March 6th, 2011, 4:57 am

Wow ,what a kick-ass trove! Best of all, lots of in-situ's-looks like a lot of field time invested to make those observations and totally worth it I'm sure in what was learned about the subjects! :thumb:

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DaneConley
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by DaneConley » March 6th, 2011, 6:25 am

Was that a capybara?!?!?!

But great post and the chuckawalla looking over the city is an amazing picture.

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Will Wells
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by Will Wells » March 6th, 2011, 8:17 am

I really liked your post and I would like to hear more about the speckled bite you mentioned. Give us the details

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monklet
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by monklet » March 6th, 2011, 8:59 am

Screamin' post! Love all the in-situ shots. ....especially those tigers.
Sidewinders are dirt common but still a very neat and unique crote. If they were rare like Obscurus, everyone would be all over these
:thumb: I've noted that many times! ...if they were rare people would go ape to see one ...especially locomoting.

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rosy-man
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by rosy-man » March 6th, 2011, 10:46 am

great stuff welcome to forum next time want to see a ton of boa pics though very nice

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kcmatt
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by kcmatt » March 6th, 2011, 11:39 am

Welcome. You seem to have some strange luck, on both sides of the word. A triple Heloderma flip and zero snakes an entire spring? Crazy. Enjoyed the pyros.

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Jason Mintzer
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by Jason Mintzer » March 6th, 2011, 2:00 pm

Welcome. Great pics. :beer: That triple gila flip must be a record. I especially liked all of the specks. Thanks for the post.

scott s
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by scott s » March 6th, 2011, 5:59 pm

Wow Norm,

You knocked it out of the park!

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Norman D
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Location: Sonoran Desert

Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by Norman D » March 6th, 2011, 7:10 pm

Thanks everyone for the kind words and warm welcome! It sure is fun being out there and WE ARE ALL ANXIOUS FOR THE SPRING TO COME!
chris_mcmartin wrote:What was that brown mammal departing the road? I couldn't tell.
DaneConley wrote:Was that a capybara?!?!?!.
haha yeah it wasn't a good photo, but it is a baby black bear in Graham County. Our first and my fiance' was super excited since she loves bears. We never found mama bear. Of course, we stayed in the car though

Will Wells wrote:I really liked your post and I would like to hear more about the speckled bite you mentioned. Give us the details
Thanks Will. I was trying out a new wash in a very popular Phoenix mountain range. Within a few minutes, I found that speckled. It was nervous as hell and I was excited as hell. It struck at me several times and I was about 10 feet away. I should've known better because I have only had one rattler strike at me in the past. So this guy already had it out for me. Well, I followed it until it was backed up to a rock. I proceeded to take some photos. I took one or two shots, then I started messing with my settings for a better photo....WITHOUT stepping back or up OR keeping an eye on the snake. Just mistakes I usually don't do. When I was pressing buttons to go through my camera options, I got tagged on my middle finger. Maybe I was just getting too comfortable and let my guard down....in doing so, I have lots of hospital bills (good thing I have decent health insurance) and I lost my ability to flip people off with my right hand. A valuable lesson learned. I hope everyone is careful out there. That was some excrutiating pain. Despite me being about 15 minutes from one of the best hospitals for rattlesnake bites in the SW (I drove myself & got there about 20 minutes), my finger wasn't able to be saved. I have photo documentation but I only shared with family and close friends.


Norman

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Desert Raticus
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by Desert Raticus » March 7th, 2011, 9:26 am

azatrox wrote:Great stuff Norm! I need to find me a woman that's as good at spotting animals as your fiance apparently is! :D

Love the chuck overlooking the city photo!

Bump on over to the Az Chapter and introduce yourself when you get a minute...I'm sure they'd love to see these photos in there as well...

-Kris
Gawd, if you find a *couple* of extra women good at spotting stuff, send one my way, would ya? My husband would rather play golf! :sleep:

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Correcamino
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Re: Intro/photos from another Arizona dweller (Pic Heavy war

Post by Correcamino » March 7th, 2011, 10:23 am

Awesome post Norm! Enjoyed every bit of it but particularily enjoyed the specks and tigers insitu.

Cheers,

Rich

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