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 Post subject: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 28th, 2012, 5:25 pm 
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Joined: July 8th, 2011, 1:04 pm
Posts: 662
Location: King County, WA
For this part of the journey, I met up with Lucas B., Hellihooks and Gecko Guy. We focused on finding desert herps, and I was especially keen on getting tracks, scat and sheds for whatever species we came across. Hellihooks already shared some of that journey via his Tubular Trip post:http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10722. Some of the other fun bits for the few days I spent with them are...

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This was another lifer for me... CA legless lizard! It was a lovely silvery creature. The tracks it left were very snake like, not surprisingly. But they did appear fairly regular in their form (like nice sine waves) not unlike the sand skink in FL.

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Look it that lovely face! :thumb: Tiny eyes, nostrils with valves, countersunk lower jaw. All features vital to a fossorial lifestyle. Found this guy thanks to Jim (Hellihooks)!! :beer:

Another lifer for me was the next creature, also found thanks to Jim... :beer:

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Blainville's Horned lizard! Cute as a bug's ear! :shock: :thumb:

This was my first ever Blainville's horned lizard. I was luck to find several more with Nature Nate later at the tail end of the trip.

We also got to visit a friend of Jim's who has some gorgoues Crot's and use them as models for some trails and gaits for the book. Here is one of the ruber's:

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The ruber was huge, and at that time, was the biggest I had ever seen. As you can see, its a lovely animal.

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Here is one of the trails from the ruber:

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Many heavy bodied snakes tend to use fairly straight methods of locomotion as their baseline form of movement. With Crot's it is generally shallow lateral undulations (as in the photo above) or rectilinear locomotion. Rectilinear locomotion is also used by boas as well. Here is a rectilinear trail from that lovely rosy boa Jim found.

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This was one of his helleri that I was hoping to get a trail from, but apparently it was too cold and not feeling well. I was not posing this snake for a nice photo shot, instead, Jim placed it there as it was a good location for leaving trails. No luck, though. But, I did get to photograph some nice lay spots from helleri, thanks to Jim.

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See the way the gravel is pushed away from 2 areas in the enter of the frame? Those are both lay spots where the animals had hung out, thermoregulating. If you look close, you can see an old, withered scat.

One more post from the trip coming up!

~ Fil


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 28th, 2012, 5:52 pm 
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Joined: October 20th, 2011, 3:39 pm
Posts: 600
Location: Santa Clara Co. , CA
Fil,

Interesting stuff here. Congrats on the Legless and Horny Toad :thumb:


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 28th, 2012, 6:08 pm 
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Joined: February 21st, 2011, 3:37 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Somewhere Between Vegas and LA, CA
Fil, I am first of all surprised that you spell your name Fil.

I didn't know this... :lol:

Next! I am jealous of the legless lizard, man! I have yet to find one... :? It was fun helping you out! :thumb: Keep in touch and shoot me a text or somethin next time your are in my neck of the woo......well...creosote...... :lol: :thumb:

-Lucas


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 28th, 2012, 9:07 pm 
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Joined: May 14th, 2011, 11:16 pm
Posts: 994
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Nicely done, Fil. Looks like you all found some great stuff down there. A CA Legless is on my shortlist of things I'd like to see this year.

JimM


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 29th, 2012, 6:42 am 

Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:12 am
Posts: 7081
Location: Hesperia, California.
Yeah Fil... we barely scratched the surface (Pun unintended) for that area...we have another 2000 acres we can cruise on the ATV's, where the dirt roads are that soft silt, and Andy says no one has been out there this year. There spots near the Beaver ponds I want to check for Arroyos, and as they ONLY hop, and don't walk, they should produce some distinctive tracks. I see that helli out sunning in that spot every year, so maybe you'll get a shot of her actually sunning there.
I'm starting to think that legless is one I've seen before... you are the third person to flip a legless in that exact spot, when no other legless could be found anywhere... Scott (ColubridGuy) and Jonathan both flipped their lifer legless's right there... :shock:
That little HL was an awesome find...that area seems to have some of the prettiest high contrast Coastals I've ever seen... :thumb: jim


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 29th, 2012, 7:03 pm 
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Joined: October 18th, 2010, 7:55 pm
Posts: 428
Location: San Diego, CA
I'm jealous of your legless lizard too Fil. And like Jim says - the horned lizard you guys found is awesome. I thought for sure it was a southern desert horned lizard when I first saw it. The red diamond rattler looks pretty fine as well.

Look forward to your SD post. I especially want to see some of the CHL's you found with Nate.


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 Post subject: Re: CA Herp Tracking Trip Part 2 (high desert)
PostPosted: March 29th, 2012, 7:11 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 5:29 pm
Posts: 2566
Location: I love L.A.
I like that helleri. :thumb:


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