Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

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TimCO
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Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by TimCO »

The trip was great fun. We had a good turnout of high quality herpers and interesting weather, including the most violent flash flood I've seen. As far as observations, we rocked it out. There was a herp survey conducted in Mills Canyon in 2002, and we more than tripled the species observations from that survey.

The group consisted of:

Bill Gorum
Travis Dockter
John Ruyak
Ty Burtard
Paul and Sandy White
Chris Newsom
Kaylee Brooks
Cameron Young and sons
Erika Velasquez
Tim Warfel


The crew ended up with an impressive 38 species.

Abystoma tigrinum
Anaxyrus cognatus
Anaxyrus debilis
Anaxyrus punctatus
Anaxyrus woodhousii
Hyla arenicolor
Pseudacris triseriata
Scaphiopus couchii
Spea bombifrons
Spea multiplicata
Lithobates blairi
Apalone spinifera
Chelydra serpentina
Terrepene ornata
Aspidoscelis exsanguis
Aspidoscelis sexlineatus
Aspidoscelis velox
Crotaphytus collaris
Holbrookia maculata
Phrynosoma cornutum
Sceloporus undulatus
Eumeces obsoletus
Coluber constrictor
Coluber flagellum
Diadophis punctatus
Heterodon nasicus
Hypsiglena torquata
Pantherophis emoryi
Pituophis catenifer
Sonora semiannulata
Tantilla nigriceps
Thamnophis cyrtopsis
Thamnophis elegens
Thamnophis proximus
Thamnophis radix
Tropidoclonion lineatum
Crotalus atrox
Crotalus viridis




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brick911
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by brick911 »

Wow. Congrats on a killer survey!

Paul White
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Paul White »

It must have rained hella-hard Saturday; I had to run back to Amarillo Friday night/Saturday morning and come back to find new waterfalls about 5-6 Saturday evening

This:
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became this:

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Didnt' find so many snakes after that :p

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cayrip
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by cayrip »

I am sorry I missed everyone except for Paul last weekend. We had to get back early with family coming into town and a snake presenation planned for Sunday at a local State park. We had a blast though (no bears but I had my boys scared ;) ). Here are a few from the trip in no particular order.

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Why the federal government uses this snake killing shit is beyond me? - found a snake skeleton and did an quick experience with a DOR snake--ants remove all trace of the snake within 8 hours so detection rates of kills will be very hard to calculate.
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I wish I had brought the "big" lens:
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One for each of them:
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And the token dinosaur:
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ChrisNM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ChrisNM »

one of my favorite shots thus far. Do not adjust your monitors, the horizon is accurate.

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working on the others.

EDIT: On a mood killing note...who in the hell was flipping and not placing rocks back?! I tried doing some flipping on my way out to only find freshly turned rocks not returned back to original position, many of which were very easily placed back; hint hint to whoever was doing such and happens to be reading.

ColdBloodedHerps
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Location: Colorado

Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ColdBloodedHerps »

John and I don't mess around. 8-)

Here's my list (missing one vagrans):

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Herps:

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John with the first diabolicus

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Me with my first ever atrox. He was a big ol' boy.

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Travis and the big atrox.

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This was a nice parting gift as we drove out of the canyon to go home.

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No washing that. Souvenir. :lol:
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Inverts:

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Thanks everyone who participated for making this the best week of my life! :D :beer:

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ChrisNM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ChrisNM »

Ty....nice to see one of the "Colubers" gave ya a good shot for a tongue flick, and a great shot too!

ColdBloodedHerps
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ColdBloodedHerps »

ChrisNM wrote:Ty....nice to see one of the "Colubers" gave ya a good shot for a tongue flick, and a great shot too!
Thanks Chris and ya finally got one. Looking forward to more of your amazing pics. It was nice to meet you and I hope to see you in the field again in the near future. :D

TimCO
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by TimCO »

ChrisNM wrote:
EDIT: On a mood killing note...who in the hell was flipping and not placing rocks back?! I tried doing some flipping on my way out to only find freshly turned rocks not returned back to original position, many of which were very easily placed back; hint hint to whoever was doing such and happens to be reading.
There was another group of herpers up on the canyon rim. I seriously doubt anyone in our group would be mucking up habitat.

TimCO
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by TimCO »

Nice shots Ty. You and John were the dynamic duo. Hard core dude.

ColdBloodedHerps
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ColdBloodedHerps »

Thanks Tim. Hopefully John and I can keep our mojo going.

Forgot a pic of the flash flood. It was insane. Tim went across the road a few minutes before it turned into this. This was no laughing matter, but it was funny seeing Tim's reaction after we went back down the canyon and showed him the pics. :lol:


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Daniel D Dye
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Daniel D Dye »

Awesome Tim, and some great photos from all. Everytime I look at photos from out your way and the photos I took when I was there ealier this year, I want to sell everything and move west. Somebody slap me!! :lol:

Daniel

Paul White
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Paul White »

Also, there were people doing off roading up there--I know because I saw it and saw the habitat degredation it caused. That said some of those people pulled our van out after it got stuck on the road so I can't be too nasty about it. :oops:

ThomWild
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ThomWild »

Very cool! You guys set the bar for any future trips very high!

-Thomas

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ChrisNM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ChrisNM »

TimCO wrote: There was another group of herpers up on the canyon rim. I seriously doubt anyone in our group would be mucking up habitat.
Yeah, I hadn't seen anyone within our group doing such.

Heads up...the hubbs might be calling right about now. Just got off the phone with him. Lol

Paul...the rocks were in the flats on the main road shoulder.

bgorum
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by bgorum »

I'll add a few.
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It was great herping with all of you!

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Fundad
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Fundad »

Awesome stuff.. :beer:

Thanks for sharing.. :thumb:

Wish I could have made it. I love that part of the world..

Fundad

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ChrisNM
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ChrisNM »

Bill, digging the blairi. All I got the see were blurs of them. BTW, I have your battery here charged and ready for ya.

A last shot for tonight before I head to bed.

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She was found around 7:36pm, after sunset. Neat little scenario unfolded with her, details later.

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Dan Krull
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Dan Krull »

Wow. This was really great! We need more NAFHA trips! Are any other chapters active and having surveys? I'd love to see more posts like this from across the US. We had one in Kansas last fall and it was great fun. I don't remember seeing any other NAHFA posts. Keep them coming!

DAN

bgorum
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by bgorum »

Chris,

Thanks for lending me the battery. Looks like I don't have your contact info anymore. Can you pm me with your number so I can get it back to you? Did you not end up heading south for that other species?

Springsherper
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Springsherper »

Random thoughts:
I had an absolute blast!
Always cool to met new herpers. Always learning from you guys, thx Bill, Chris, Paul, Ty...
Ty, awesome pics. Way better than mine (I think I need some lessons)
That flash flood was third most impressive display of Nature I have ever seen #1 Blizzard of '77, Buffalo, NY. #2 Blizzard of 2003 in Teller Co. 44" in 36 hours.
Wish I hadn't startled the atrox out of their 'moment', but... you don't find Crotes, they find you :(
Curses, cyrtopsis...foiled again!!!!!!!!!
Mills Canyon... We'll be back!

John

Paul White
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Paul White »

is this a range extension for atrox? It puts them *very* close to the CO state line and I know they're not considerded as native to CO (least CDOW didn't think so when I lived there. This makes me want to herp right at the NM/CO border some more :P

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cayrip
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by cayrip »

ChrisNM wrote:
TimCO wrote: There was another group of herpers up on the canyon rim. I seriously doubt anyone in our group would be mucking up habitat.
Yeah, I hadn't seen anyone within our group doing such.

Heads up...the hubbs might be calling right about now. Just got off the phone with him. Lol

Paul...the rocks were in the flats on the main road shoulder.
This is one of the reasons I dislike large herp events. No offense to anyone but the stress of competition to catch the next cool thing often superceeds our better judgement -- I have been there many times in my younger days. Now that I have three boys of my own, I spend more time teaching them the lessons of putting things back than flipping rocks. My boys and I flipped a few rocks (>10) at one location on the way out but were careful to get them back. I am hoping that my boys did as I asked (I don't always check all the rocks flipped) since being the first ones there and the first to leave, we wanted to ensure a good time for everyone. We did run into a local that was interested in what we were doing but I don't think they would have been flipping rocks either. However, they could have copied us later to see what it was all about.

This certainly sucks to hear about since it ruins the experience.

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cayrip
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by cayrip »

EXCELLENT PHOTOS EVERYONE!!!! I wish I had been able to stay a bit longer--next time!

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Mulebrother
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by Mulebrother »

Nice post indeed. That sonora is a screamer.

good work!

ColdBloodedHerps
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by ColdBloodedHerps »

John, you are going to get your cyrtopsis! There's one out there with your name on it.

Chris, both of your pics are stunning! :thumb:

Bill, diggin that first bull shot and that racer! Both pics show the snake's personalities very well. :thumb:

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herpseeker1978
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Re: Rocky Mountain Chapter Fall Survey- Mills Canyon Report

Post by herpseeker1978 »

TimCO wrote:
ChrisNM wrote:
EDIT: On a mood killing note...who in the hell was flipping and not placing rocks back?! I tried doing some flipping on my way out to only find freshly turned rocks not returned back to original position, many of which were very easily placed back; hint hint to whoever was doing such and happens to be reading.
There was another group of herpers up on the canyon rim. I seriously doubt anyone in our group would be mucking up habitat.
I contacted the other group, of which I am a member of, with the following e-mail:
My email wrote:It has come to my attention that someone flipped a bunch of rocks near the canyon and did not replace them. I don't know if it was someone from our group, but I have seen similar damage on some of our past trips, so I felt it necessary to address this issue. This is a big no-no for several reasons. The reason we flip rocks is because of the micro-habitat that exists underneath. Just by flipping the cover, we alter that micro-habitat. If we replace it exactly as we found it, the habitat will regenerate much faster than just by tossing the rock to the side. By not replacing rocks exactly as you found them, you are not only destroying habitat, but it looks AWFUL!! If you saw a bunch of rocks overturned, what would you think? I think the place has been trashed. Not only is it not visually appealing, but if you were a game warden and you saw that shortly after you saw some herpers herping, what would you think when a law making decision came up trying to ban herping? It could easily be looked upon as herpers are raping the environment not only of animals, but of making it ugly and not taking care of our public lands for others to enjoy. Please take care of our public lands so they don't get taken away from us.
Josh

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