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 Post subject: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: January 20th, 2017, 10:17 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 411
This afternoon, I helped flush rabbits for another falconer and her immature female Harris’s Hawk. We were 16 miles south of Corvallis and another person along to observed called my attention to an adult Gopher Snake coil in the gravel of the former railroad right-of- way.

It had warmed up to 53 degree air temperature and certainly warmer on the ground and the sun was out at that time of day. But the snake could have been forced from underground by the recent rains and flooding of nearby ditches.

The past two years I have purposely sought and found Rubber Boas during the month of January. But this incidental observation I believe is the first for finding a Gopher Snake in January.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


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 Post subject: Re: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: January 21st, 2017, 10:27 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1587
Nice observation, thank you Richard. Do you know if there's a herp phenology database you could add that to?

Birders, buggers, flower-watchers, and other naturalists often keep meticulous "first-seens" for each year. This is how we know that many, many plants and animals are adjusting their seasonal activity patterns in response to a warming climate. I don't know of too many herpers doing such stuff. Maybe they are with some of the vernal-breeding species, particularly those that chorus.

Anyway, thanks again. Nice hearing from you.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: January 21st, 2017, 10:31 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 411
Jimi,
Son Ryan and others in Utah have observed the Rubber Boa during the month of Feb. --even with snow on the ground at one site. I am not certain about other species of snakes or the month of January. Since I began making searches in the winter months when conditions seem suitable, I have never failed to find boas during the month of Feb. every year since 1971. And as mentioned, once in awhile I find them in Jan. Same goes for the Sharp-tailed Snake here in W. Oregon.

When I observe unusual sightings like this one, I make a note and put it in a folder labeled 'miscellaneous observations'

Besides the Gopher Snake, at the far northwest side of the grass field from where we were hunting rabbits along an abandoned railroad right-of-way and the briar patches, there was the largest herd of elk I have seen. I estimate there were about 250 - 300 or more in that herd. This is Willamette Valley grassland habitat with hills and forested habitat quite some distance away to the west.

I cautioned my fellow falconer not to let her female Harris's Hawk go after and take down one of those elks as she likely didn't have an elk tag. Luckily, the hawk didn't spot the elk. Close call though. He he.

Richard FH


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 Post subject: Re: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: February 17th, 2017, 12:57 am 

Joined: March 30th, 2015, 10:01 am
Posts: 62
Location: Orange County
Richard,

Congrats on the January Gopher snake, always interesting to hear about early season finds, especially at higher latitudes.

Have your found your first 2017 Boa yet?

Hope to see you again this year up on Kern Plateau.

Mark


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 Post subject: Re: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: February 17th, 2017, 10:57 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 411
Mark,
As of January, a revised OAR Div. 44 regulation was approved by the Oregon Wildlife Commission. In addition to the 4 species of snakes already in a protected status in Oregon, the new regulations placed 6 more snakes in a ‘Protected’ status in Oregon, The Rubber Boa was one of those species.

I frankly do not know just where to place the blame for such irrational decisions as there is a total void of scientific evidence that would support placing any of those 10 species of snakes in a protected, hands-off status in Oregon.

In human interactions, trust is an important virtue. I believe that trust was violated in that the Commissioners likely were led to believe that ODFW used professional, science-based methods and possessed valid scientific evidence in support of listing those snakes. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At any rate, my long term study of the Rubber Boa in Oregon has come to a halt. Beside the Gopher Snake observed in January, this month I have observed 5 boas under tins and just today, observed 3 Long-toed Salamander under a plywood board. All specimens, including the Gopher Snake in January, were left where observed.

If my health holds up, I do plan on making one more trip to the S. Kern Plateau in May.

Richard FH


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 Post subject: Re: First snake of the new year
PostPosted: February 19th, 2017, 1:34 am 

Joined: March 30th, 2015, 10:01 am
Posts: 62
Location: Orange County
Richard,

That's a shame about the new Oregon regulations, I'm shocked to hear that it ended up going that way.
Blows my mind that the officials didn't take heed to your research and at least omit the Rubber Boa from their new list.

Glad to hear you plan on making it down to the Southern Sierra's this year.
I plan to soak up as much info as I can from you about these awesome snakes, especially considering it might be your last trip to Kern Plateau.

Mark


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