The title says it all - it's been a weird year; almost a complete lack of Winter and a notable lack of herp abundance. That said, I've been in the field a lot and thus turned up a cool find or two. I'll keep the finds in mostly chronographical order, with a few comments here and there - enjoy.
I do enjoy exotic lizards, though notably I've not had great luck searching them out. Oh well - I still do manage some interesting ones every once in a while:
Brett, one of my former co-workers from my Zoo days has been joining me on a lot of lizards searches lately. Until recently he was bad luck:
With my photos, I'm typically the type that likes to "work for" what I get - I don't shoot captive animals typically, prefer to only shoot things that I (or the group I'm with) found, and usually shy away from using any kind of "studio" - not that there's anything wrong with any of those. I have, however, started using fish tanks to shoot the aquatic herps I find lately. Yes, the habitat may not look natural, but sometimes aquatics look the best under water:
And sometimes not...
I need an ID with this guy - I'm pretty good at owl ID in the field, but for some reason, looking back at pictures I really suck at it. I think it's a screecher, but I'm not positive:
Up until recently, I haven't had much luck getting shots of herps eating - but torrential rains in October helped me out with lots of frog activity:
No, that isn't a flash issue - those walls really are pink:
More of dem' Oustalets chameleons. They just don't get old to find:
Found while walking one eve:
Another lizard that has eluded me except by sign, the Nile Monitor:
I usually have bad luck with corals too - I don't necessarily target them much, but Tim Borski has snagged more on one night then I've seen ever. I'm not complaining though: having them a rarity keeps them a nice surprise.
First of two this year:
Also this past year, I spoke at the Suncoast Herp Society. While there, I went with the Suncoast president, Melissa, and her fiance Bill to hunt some Southern Hognoses, a species I've spent many the hour pursuing. I did some research and we went to a place that looked good - no luck on them, but found this cool mantid:
The late rains brought muchos treefrogs throughout the winter.
And after a crusade against the term "trash snake," this garter wasn't helping himself too much with his 20-times-runover food source:
I think it probably was once a frog:
And forgive the profusion of pictures, but after years of seeing these range-restricted animals and not getting great pictures, I figured it was time. Hope you guys don't mind:
Gates barring beautiful looking roads like this drive me nuts:
This past winter, I got down to extreme southern Florida a few times more than usual. Always good sights to see there:
Possibly the closest I'll ever get to Tantilla oolitica:
This car looked several decades old, never to be removed from this sink hole:
I also enjoy camping with my wife quite a bit. Unfortunately, Florida weather is only good for camping a couple months out of the year.
Our new hound, Corbett. We think he's a Blackmouth Cur:
He's our other dog, Shona's, tormentor:
Camping can also mean herps too:
And who doesn't love this kind of sight in the road?
away from the urban sprawl, the stars come out to play.
And so do the less common frogs, free of persecution from Cuban treefrogs:
It also brings time to relax
We saw this on the way home:
But joining them, mere seconds before, eating the dead pig was this guy:
The South Florida Herp Society (SouthFLHerp.org) also held our annual Burm Bash this past December, and people came from NAFHA as far away as Tennessee and Alabama to join us - Thanks to those folks. Finds weren't as flashy as last year, but we found some stuff we were happy with:
It was real cold, we went out to look for pygmies and I surmised that with the cold they'd be as tucked into the leaf litter as possible. Bingo.
They're really not a pretty owl...
Matt flipped this guy under some A/C - the first chance I actually had at a picture of one:
Meanwhile, back at the farm...
Not my nile, but I'll take it!
But not all lizards are so, this was apparently a Christian Oustalet's Chameleon, as it started praying when I found it:
I'm thinking a brown basilisk, but given the area it could be a green as well. Any thoughts?
One eve, while cruising around, I stepped out of the car and noticed eye shine 30 feet up in a pine tree. Thinking it a raccoon, I edged closer, thinking to myself "Wouldn't it be funny if it were a bobcat?"
Imagine my surprise as I got closer:
I hope the fellow got down:
Despite the entertainment-based news, the vast majority of the exotics we have in Florida are harmless. I found this guy in a water-filled pipe one day, and didn't think much of him until I looked at his belly:
Despite all these, I'm not always bound to Florida - from a recent trip home to Connecticut, I found an abnormally ugly Wood Frog:
But, he was very well camouflaged:
A prettier one was found a few feet away:
And they got progressively nicer:
Always a pleasure,
And one last habitat shot
I know it's been a while, but I've been trucking on getting my book out for publication - it's still available for preorder for another week or two: http://www.ecouniverse.com/product/282/
Part 2 coming muy pronto - thanks for looking everyone.