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52 degrees, raining, cloudy...perfect for herps? YES!

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Posted by Erik - NM on March 22, 2003 at 15:31:19:

I worked yesterday night and when I got home, I had an e-mail from Chris McMartin. He asked if I wanted to do a little herping today (3-22-03) in the morning. I said sure, we could do that.

We decided to go at 8:30am today...and it had rained all this morning and it wasn't very warm. 52 degrees right before I left my house. I got to "The Field" and he was already there. First thing we found was this cold Texas patchnose:

I've never got to photograph one without holding it, so it was the perfect opportunity. Being so cold, he didn't escape at first, but held his ground:

he had actually gaped, but I didn't capture it on, memory card.

finally slithering away...

Chris wanted to find and photo one of those hefty coachwhips that had been lurking around this field. That was the main goal. We came upon some shingles and started sorting through them. I saw a checkered garter snake, but was unable to get a picture. Then I lifted up a shingle laying on some branches and found this guy:

close up head shot

Me and Joe Forks had been looking for one for quite some time in the field and I finally found one! Definitely the find of the day! A praire kingsnake (Lampropeltis calligaster).

Put the little guy in a container and searched some more. Came upon this board and Chris lifted it up:

can you see something coiled?

A little closer look revealed a 3ft atrox coiled up! First crote of the year and definitely another find of the day:

a little upset that we bothered him from his nap....

Things were off to a great start today...and I honestly didn't think we'd find much given the weather conditions. So after the picture session, we headed herped some more near an underpass. Started flipping shingles and then flipped one of the boards there. We found this:

A red striped ribbon snake! A first for me and Chris! Yet ANOTHER find of the day! We had found checkered garters in that area and I really didn't expect to find a ribbon snake there. So that was a great surprise!

We also found one of these....which aren't as common here as they are in east Texas and definitely hard to get a decent picture of.

a ground skink trying to hide...

We started heading back to our cars and to call it a day. The sun had poked through the clouds a few times and we were gonna flip whatever we could find on the way back. Came upon a log on the ground and rolled it over. I instantly saw the shine of this little guy:

not the best picture, but they are SO hard to get a good pic of. I also got the tongue flicking...pretty cool! Adult plains blind snake.

That was a first find for Chris....and so was this guy:

Flathead snake (Tantilla gracilis). A little different from the millions of earth snakes found.

Still heading back to the car, we came upon this carpet near the road:

Chris lifting the carpet (don't try this at home...or at the field)

Here's a little closer shot of what was underneath:

another atrox! This one was about 2ft and not very irritable. I guess next time we'll use the hooks and potato rakes to lift carpet!

We're just about to our cars and we find this high yellow Texas patchnose. It was definitely brighter than the usual patchnose snakes we find:

Now we are about 50ft from our cars.....a GREAT day, but Chris didn't get to photo one of those Nastycophis (although the ones me and Joe found weren't that nasty). Wait...what's this? A small piece of tin near the road? Awww....what the hell? We'll flip it anyway:

a 3ft coachwhip concluded the day! What a great day in not so great conditions (or so I thought). This coachwhip was definitely not one of the huge hulking beasts I found before, so I now know there is a good population of them in this relatively small the middle of the city.

One last "flower" shot and habitat shot:

Chris took some more pics and may add some to this post! I didn't get pics of the checkered garters or earth snakes we found...or the Texas spiny lizard.

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