Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

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Porter
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Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

I’m planning my first trip to Arizona. Originally, I wasn’t going to ask for any help down there. I did my own research, and I want to see how I do. I’ve got a couple targets but I’m really just going down to explore and see what I find. I want it to be a nice stress-free trip.…Putting my limited skills to the test (Sitting at home with a sprained ankle right now ) However, there’s one thing that I don’t have a good enough idea on where to search for it. It’s definitely the amphibian I want to see the most. Sonoran green toad. If anyone has a spot they would like to share or a road where they know they cross… A certain little pond somewhere, I promise to take the best footage of it that I possibly can :mrgreen: lol I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to return. At least not for sometime. I’m going alone, so I’ll be flat broke when I return. I barely have enough money to go.

Also, any information about what roads I need to be cautious of in regards flash floods, I’m all ears (i’m pretty sure I have the main road cruising roads figured out, so I’m not trying to trick you into getting roads haha I just might be asleep on them at some point and don’t wanna wake up floating across the desert). Feel free to PM me. If there’s something that you would like to see me film, because you like my videos, I’m willing to accept offers like that… But it’s important to me to go down there on my own Without asking for help. I really just want to know about the green toad...

**I figured out where they find the white speckled rattlesnake’s. I think it might be too far to drive during this trip. But it’s by those black rocks lol ;) Just a show that I did in fact do my research**

zeevng
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by zeevng »

I don't have anything to add in the way of Toad advice, I just wanted to chime in and say I'm jealous and wish you incredible luck down there. A solo, unplugged herping trip through Arizona during the monsoons is pretty much #1 on my "Must do under any circumstances" list. Take a ton of pictures, and report back all your incredible finds!

And I definitely understand the wanting to herp on the merits of your own research, I have had a customized Google Maps file that I've been working on for a couple of years. I spend hours poring over it at the lowest zoom level, identifying places to check out and leaving a pin. The pins obscure most of the map at this point. :lol:
Herping spots large zoom.png
Herping spots large zoom.png (235.95 KiB) Viewed 914 times

Anyway, enjoy, be safe, have fun, and as always,
Happy Herping! :thumb:

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Porter
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

Cool man, thank you! 🍻 I wanted to go since I reintroduce myself into the hobby back in 2010. Don’t be jelly!! It’s the path to the Darkside…lol
I’m done with photography. I’m all about video these days. You can expect to see some added to the mattress post for sure 🤟🏻


Dude, you’re telling me! :lol: :lol: :lol: This is what my Google looks like and I only started pinning shit this year:

28606256-428C-4435-995D-38CA7FA1E898.jpeg


Thanks again man for chiming in & the positives vibes! I’m sure I’ll have a blast down there even if I find very little. Cant wait

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Steve Bledsoe
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Steve Bledsoe »

Porter,
I don't drop in very often, but it's good to see you're still active in the hobby.

Retiformis is my favorite Arizona amphibian!
I found retiformis to be fairly common around Ajo and south down into Organ Pipe National Monument. I've also found them on Ajo Road ( Tucson-Ajo Hwy 86). None of these areas are "secret herping spots" so I don't think telling you to look for them here on these federal lands is going to ruffle any feathers!

A. retiformis can be found on Hwy 85 which runs north and south through Organ Pipe, but the Border Patrol traffic is often very heavy there and a lot of critters get killed nightly on that road.
I would suggest you drive down Hwy 85 and jump off on Ajo Mountain Road which is a dirt road that runs east of the main highway.
There are other roads in the area but most all of them are on the Tohono O'odham reservation land and the Reservation Police will run you off or even ticket you.
Last bit of advice - Rain is very important. If it's not raining or if there is no standing water on the ground, the toads are hard to find.
Good luck!
Steve

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Jeff
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Jeff »

Middle Ajo Road - Kitt Peak Turnoff to a little west of Sells, they are routine, in case you don't want to risk 85. My observations are 40 years old though. As Steve said, rain is a must, and just keep the windows down and listen for mixed choruses.

Jeff

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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

Steve Bledsoe wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 9:38 am
Porter,
I don't drop in very often, but it's good to see you're still active in the hobby.

Retiformis is my favorite Arizona amphibian!
I found retiformis to be fairly common around Ajo and south down into Organ Pipe National Monument. I've also found them on Ajo Road ( Tucson-Ajo Hwy 86). None of these areas are "secret herping spots" so I don't think telling you to look for them here on these federal lands is going to ruffle any feathers!

A. retiformis can be found on Hwy 85 which runs north and south through Organ Pipe, but the Border Patrol traffic is often very heavy there and a lot of critters get killed nightly on that road.
I would suggest you drive down Hwy 85 and jump off on Ajo Mountain Road which is a dirt road that runs east of the main highway.
There are other roads in the area but most all of them are on the Tohono O'odham reservation land and the Reservation Police will run you off or even ticket you.
Last bit of advice - Rain is very important. If it's not raining or if there is no standing water on the ground, the toads are hard to find.
Good luck!
Steve
Steve, good to hear from you! Yeah, I’m still hanging around.. Making one last effort to track down a field Herper girl and take field video in my own unique direction. I’m digging it 👍🏻

Oh believe me, I’ve been watching the weather like a hawk! It looks like a three day thunderstorm had moved in, but it completely disappeared yesterday. So now I’m getting a little worried. I’m hoping all this brutal dry weather is leading into something nice. Somethings got to give..?! From what I can gather of Arizona news casts and predictions, this year isn’t a very good monsoon year. Average, but not below average… definitely not great. I’m taking a plane out there. So I’m gonna have to make a hard decision on whether to cancel the flight, which probably means I won’t be able to afford to reschedule soon enough to catch a storm the following week, Or fly out during the brutal weather anyway and hope for a surprise downpour.

I haven’t even seen them yet and I have to agree with you! Amazing color and pattern on those little guys. I’m glad to hear that they’re common. I was a little worried because I was checking out some markers/pins on a database that all were purposely obscured. I couldn’t find any exact locations for finds. I had the same problem earlier this year when I was trying to figure out where the bay area people find Santa Cruz long-toed salamanders. They’ve got obscured markers floating out in the ocean 😂 I measured how far those were from the shore, and tried to create a radius to get a basic idea of where to look. I also remember seeing train tracks in a few photos. So I narrowed it down to Harkins slough. I was only able to go out there during the day, after a rainy night in hopes of a chance encounter, but no luck. Habitat looked good enough though. Couldn’t get to the places I wanted check because it was gated off/fenced off when I got out there. Bummer, but whatever.
So, I did the same thing with the toads… I found some small ponds a bit North of where you described. I’ve got a bunch of pins set up there. If I send you a screenshot, do you think you could tell me if it’s on private property or not? I probably shouldn’t go wandering out onto a reservation 🥳 I’ll PM you…

One of the spots I had planned on checking were the three roads that head out from why! So that’s good to get a confirmation and more insight to that area. I will definitely check out the dirt road you suggested :beer: Thanks man!

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Porter
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

Jeff wrote:
August 7th, 2020, 6:59 pm
Middle Ajo Road - Kitt Peak Turnoff to a little west of Sells, they are routine, in case you don't want to risk 85. My observations are 40 years old though. As Steve said, rain is a must, and just keep the windows down and listen for mixed choruses.

Jeff
Jeff, thank you for posting man! I’ve got a bunch of pins fairly close to that area and some by where you mentioned! I’ll send you a screenshot as well. I was planning on cruising Kitt peak for Gila. I’ve got about four or five sites pinned out… With anywhere from an hour to 2 Hour Drives in between. The plan was basically just to get down there and start storm chasing. Now I’m just hoping there’s some storms to chase :lol:

I’ll definitely be listening to sounds While I’m out there! When I was in Ohio, I took a drive right after a downpour close to my hotel and heard the croaking of grays treefrogs for the first time. Very amazing and thrilling experience! They didn’t even sound like frogs, they sound like exotic birds. I’m very curious to see what Arizona sounds like :mrgreen:

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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

OK, well I can’t figure out how to send an image through p.m.… Since both you guys mentioned the roads, i’m guessing it’s not all that sensitive information. I got my info from a public database anyway. If someone thinks I should remove the images, give me a heads up and I will! I basically just created a schematic to follow for whichever area was getting a storm at the time..

Here’s the little ponds/Creek system I found:
579B3606-E976-473F-B83B-E181835D9486.jpeg

Here’s the Kit peak area stuff:
CC50BFC1-E665-4A09-8856-6EB765964746.jpeg

Again, if anyone thinks this is sensitive info, give me a heads up and I’ll remove it!

So the game plan for this was, I got a limited time and I need to know where certain species were found or at least have some kind of clue if I’m trying to track down a species at the last minute.( I want the beginning of the trip to be pure random exploration and find whatever I come across. Then the end I’ll go For some things I haven’t found yet) So I basically pinned the species I want to try to find for sure. That way if I’m close to any of these spots I can shoot over there real quick if weather looks good. I have no idea what part of Arizona I’m gonna be in but I want to know what’s close to me, Wherever I am… So it’s basically a cheat sheet :lol:

However… I’m real good at spotting Kush spot habitat! And I was thinking, if I’m going to find a vine snake, it’s going to be in some place where nobody’s looking. So I’m also planning on targeting random spots that look good. But I won’t know that until I’m actually down there

Also Steve and Jeff, am I in danger of getting washed off of any of the roads you’ve mentioned? Or am I OK as long as I’m not down in a wash or a canyon somewhere?

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Steve Bledsoe
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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Steve Bledsoe »

Hey Porter,
You only have to be aware of flash floods in washes. The problem is that you can be somewhere where it's not raining, but get caught in a flash flood generated by a thunderstorm uphill from where you are. Be very careful hiking in dry riverbeds and narrow canyons during monsoon season.

The problem with exploring side roads north and south of Hwy 86 and I-8, where most of your map pins are placed, is that much of this land is Native American Reservation land. It's easy to get into trouble with the tribal police if you wander down the wrong road. Send me an email to [email protected] and let's talk about your plans. I may be able to help you find your way around.

I was in AZ in the Santa Rita and Huachuca Mountains the week before last, and the monsoon rains didn't cooperate. This time of year it takes rain to find most of the critters there. Rain is essential.

Steve

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Re: Arizona... Bufo retiformis?

Post by Porter »

Update on this:
so I ended up canceling because of the dry heatwave and then I rescheduled for a month later. Of course in between my new vacation plans, that’s when they got the rain :lol: I was supposed to fly out Saturday, and canceled again yesterday. The CA desert trip that got ruined earlier this year was my worst trip out there over the last eight or so consecutive years. Still, I was able to find a few things. I’m sure I could do at least that good in AZ if I decided to go. However, the amphibians are important for me to see. I might only be able to go once. So I’ll see if I can make it down there another time. I had originally planned a five part western themed section for the mattress. Hopefully I can get to that next year

Big thanks to Steve Bledsoe for the insight on the stuff I didn’t know :beer: ... And to the others who commented. I may do a little field her being over my vacation time, but I don’t think it will be a trip themed video like what I’ve been doing. I did go out one night last week, and under the cloud smoke, I found a baby king and a baby gopher within about 15 minutes. I just did one loop Of a bout 20 minutes, so that turned out pretty good. I’ve got two lemon cars so road cruising isn’t much of an option right now as one is broke down and the other one needs to go into the shop. The foothills where I live, at the bottom of Sierras, are covered in smoke. When I wake up and walk outside into the fog I smell a burnt campfire, eyes sting, snowing with Ash, And there is a gloomy orange haze over everything. I’m looking forward to just spending a week of recoup and not doing anything. I may try to get up to the Sierras just to get out of this dreary weather. I’ll try to get a little video together for the mattress but it Would have to be a compilation and not much to look at.

Heart goes out to all the people who are connected directly to the wildfires in California, and dealing with it on the front lines! Let’s keep the love strong, the hatred low. Stay strong everyone. We’ll get through this 💪🏻

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