A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

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BillMcGighan
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A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by BillMcGighan » January 23rd, 2013, 9:32 am

A trip to Florida last Halloween was a special event for us, but it was primarily family business.

To eek some nature out of the trip, my wife tried to feed a ladybug (our granddaughter) to a spider!


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:roll:



We did manage to get out to some federal land for a walk with our dogs.
A pleasant surprise was an area that had several Gophers roaming around in a protected area.
We counted about 5 in an hour.


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Moving down the trail to some private land (no signs, no posted notices) and adjacent to the federal land, we discovered about 40 Gopher burrows in about an acre, and about 8 foraging adults.

Gophers can be locally abundant, but this was great.


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And again.


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The reality that these on private land were not protected very well concerned us.




So on our visit to Florida during the Dec/Jan holidays, though fraught with family obligations and drama, we did manage to sneak away to the this local again.

We weren’t disappointed.


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And, as you might guess there was one of the Gopher’s neighbors about:


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dery
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by dery » January 23rd, 2013, 9:34 am

Cool Bill. Love the hab pics :beer:

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umop apisdn
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by umop apisdn » January 23rd, 2013, 2:53 pm

Cool, I miss getting to see gophers regularly. That EDB was a nice find, too. Looks like a big'n, enjoyed the in situ shots. Did you search for a nearby hibernaculum?

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Todd McKinney
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Todd McKinney » January 23rd, 2013, 3:53 pm

I'm so envious right now.

Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » January 23rd, 2013, 3:58 pm

Looks like quite the awesome place, Bill. I love the gophers as well as the EDB.

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Dalton Lund
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Dalton Lund » January 23rd, 2013, 4:50 pm

Sounds like an awesome spot. When I first read the title I thought of the mammal, then it clicked when I saw the tortoise :lol: Nice EDB, looks good sized too.

Green Snake Man
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Green Snake Man » January 23rd, 2013, 6:37 pm

.

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SnakeStick
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by SnakeStick » January 23rd, 2013, 6:53 pm

Very cool, Bill. EDBs and Gophers are always a welcomed sight. The habitat looks awesome too!

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BillMcGighan
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by BillMcGighan » January 24th, 2013, 7:56 am

Dery
Cool Bill. Love the hab pics.
Thanks Sam, Take lots the same next weekend.



umop apisdn
Did you search for a nearby hibernaculum?
Yeah, Mike.
Within 10 meters in 3 separate directions there were 3-4 Gopher burrows.



Todd
I'm so envious right now.
Not as much as me that you all are going to S AL next weekend!
Have a great time.




Tamara
Looks like quite the awesome place
It’s not far off the beaten track, so the next time Ray and you head for S FL, I’ll give you the location if you'll be on that side of the state.



Dalton
When I first read the title I thought of the mammal, then it clicked when I saw the tortoise
Sorry, Dalton, for the confusion.
In FL, coastal GA, and coastal SC, when locals talk about “Gophers”, they are talking about the reptile. Many locals do not know the mammal exists.


I once had a neighbor in Orlando who lost a whole row of hedges next to his driveway. He pulled the dead plants up and they had no roots.
Someone at a nearby plant nursery, rightly or wrongly, told him “Gophers had probably eaten the roots"; the nursery person meant, of course, the mammal but didn't elaborate.

After telling me this, my neighbor then said to me very seriously, “I didn’t know a turtle could do that.”



Green Snake Man
when will it be my turn for an EDB?!?! lol. I've got a few spots around here that I have heard of EDB's being seen but no luck yet. I'm planning on spending alot of time there during this cooler weather searching for them. What are good conditions to find them out basking? Some say sunny weather in the 60's out around burrows and stumpholes
That advice sounds good Alex. Spotting such a cryptic animal is tough especially when they are often coiled half under a palmetto or the like.

In the last 20 years or so, I’ve started using binoculars in good looking habitat for daytime. It’s like a spotlight at night in that it focuses your search on a small area.

Also see PM.



Snakestick
Gophers are always a welcomed sight.
You’re right, Ian. They’re often indicators.
Even with non-reptile folks, Gophers breach the gap of reptile prejudice.

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BDSkinner
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by BDSkinner » January 24th, 2013, 8:12 am

Also made me think of Geomyidae.... I think I remember that's what the turtle family was called before someone noticed it was also a gopher family...

Have you thought about contacting the land owner? I wonder if they know who else lives on the property.


-Brad

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BillMcGighan
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by BillMcGighan » January 24th, 2013, 2:28 pm

I made a haphazard attempt, Brad - not much effort.

I did go to the office of the adjoining federal land to talk to the resident biologist; wasn't there; office 30 miles away; talked to ranger. He said the private land was for sale and they, the feds, had access ROW, agreed it would be nice for the state to buy the land to deal with relocated Gophers, and then we both agreed there probably wasn't any money or interest! (Kind of self defeating.)
I'd like to think if I lived nearby, I'd pursue this, BUT....

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Dalton Lund
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Dalton Lund » January 24th, 2013, 6:10 pm

Haha, makes sense. No need to be sorry, though. Funny story, by the way.

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Crimson King
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Crimson King » January 25th, 2013, 1:22 pm

I always like to see gophers out and about...being gophers...:) There's so many organisms that depend on them in one way or another. Hopefully a sign that the others are doing well too.

:Mark

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Josh Holbrook » January 25th, 2013, 5:38 pm

Gopher Tortoises certainly have loads of personality. Thanks for posting, Bill.

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Berkeley Boone
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Berkeley Boone » January 25th, 2013, 6:40 pm

Josh Holbrook wrote:Gopher Tortoises certainly have loads of personality. Thanks for posting, Bill.
Agreed! Double digit gophers is always a fun time. What a beauty of an EDB too!
Great post Bill!
--Berkeley

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BillMcGighan
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by BillMcGighan » January 26th, 2013, 8:47 am

Mark, Josh, Berkeley
The thing that hit me was the numbers and densities of these neat creatures.

Mark, you may appreciate this, but it reminded of how commonplace these kind of obvious numbers were in the 60s-70s!

It's definitely a place we'll visit again.

Barry R
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Barry R » January 26th, 2013, 8:32 pm

good stuff Bill :D

Lloyd Heilbrunn
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » January 27th, 2013, 9:43 pm

BillMcGighan wrote:Mark, Josh, Berkeley
The thing that hit me was the numbers and densities of these neat creatures.

Mark, you may appreciate this, but it reminded of how commonplace these kind of obvious numbers were in the 60s-70s!

It's definitely a place we'll visit again.
Yeah, I have not seen them that thick much lately. :(

Shoot, they used to be across the street from my house on a almost 100% chance of finding basis.

Jimi
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Jimi » January 28th, 2013, 1:06 pm

FYI the 2007-2012 gopher mgt plan was revised in September 2012 http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/manag ... ment-plan/.

From the Executive Summary:
For this 10-year plan, the overarching objective of no net loss of gopher tortoises will be accomplished by meeting all of the following objectives:

(1) Minimize the loss of gopher tortoises by 2022 by ensuring humane and responsible relocation of all gopher tortoises from lands proposed for development, minimizing illegal harvest of tortoises, creating best management practices (BMPs) for agricultural and silvicultural lands, implementing methods to reduce juvenile mortality, reducing loss of tortoises to disease, and reducing vehicle-related mortality through education and exclusion measures.

(2) Increase and improve gopher tortoise habitat by 2022. This will require ongoing coordination with public agencies on the management of gopher tortoise habitat on protected lands in addition to restoring degraded lands with potential gopher tortoise habitat. Both public and private land acquisition averaging 57,000 acres per year will help to conserve the species distribution and maintain wildlife corridors between undeveloped lands. Identifying additional incentives to encourage habitat management and conservation easements on private lands is instrumental to increasing the acres of managed and protected habitat.

(3) Enhance and restore gopher tortoise populations where the species no longer occurs or has been severely depleted on protected, suitable lands by 2022. This will require an evaluation of protected lands to determine where gopher tortoise populations are depleted and the condition of the habitat. Implementation of a range-wide population monitoring protocol to help evaluate the status of the species throughout Florida will help to determine where gopher tortoise populations need to be restored.

(4) Maintain the gopher tortoise’s function as a keystone species by 2022 by addressing specific management needs and creating guidelines for relocation of priority commensal species from development sites as appropriate. Best management practices for priority commensal species on agricultural and silvicultural lands will also be created, and land managers and the general public will be targeted with information about the broader role of the gopher tortoise as a keystone species.
It's a real pleasure to see them at high densities. There are a number of spots like that along the coast (where you can watch them do funny things like eat dead fish). Cool beasts.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Tim Borski
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Re: A short visit to an interesting Gopher place

Post by Tim Borski » February 15th, 2013, 5:21 pm

Bill, that's some yummy looking hab. (The critters aren't bad either!) :mrgreen:
Nice job!

Tim

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