Archivos de diario de agosto 2019

16 de agosto de 2019

SnakeDays 2019 (August 1-4, 2019)

I got to drive out to Alpine for SnakeDays this year. Arrived in Marathon late Thursday night, August 1, and stayed with my friends James Evans and Marci Roberts. James and I cruised the road together Friday night and Saturday night and found eight species of snakes.

About halfway down the Black Gap road (FM 2627) on Friday night, we pulled over for a rattlesnake on the road and ended up staring at the sky for about half an hour. These was no moon, and the Milky Way was spectacular!

I was glad to have the time with James, "The Photographer West of the Pecos." How many other photographers travel with a battery-powered softbox light?

My herp list for the weekend:

  • Texas toad (Anaxyrus speciosus) on US-385 a few miles north of Marathon
  • Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus) at Tom & Susan Curry's in Alpine
  • Glossy snake (Arizona elegans) on US-90 a few miles east of Marathon
  • Trans-Pecos ratsnake (Bogertophis subocularis)
  • Western diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)
  • Mohave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus)
  • Prairie rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis)
  • Great Plains ratsnake (Pantherophis emoryi)
  • Sonoran gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis)
  • Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)

Unfortunately, there were lots of road-killed animals (snakes and mammals) down every highway. Also, a utility company was installing a power line between Marathon and Alpine along US Hwy 90. They had dug about 50 holes that were about 6 feet deep for the poles, and left them open, some evidently for days. They were fenced with an orange mesh construction fence, but that's only good enough to maybe keep clumsy people from falling in. I decided to check a few and see if there were any trapped animals. In 10 holes, I found two live southern plains woodrats (Neotoma micropus) and one dead, dried-out kangaroo rat that looked like it had been at the bottom of the hole for several days. I was too late to help the k-rat, but I duct-taped my snake tongs to another stick, and was able to pull out the woodrats. They didn't like being squeezed in the thorax with the tongs, but they looked really happy as they high-tailed it back into the brush!

(Notes 146: 8-11)

Publicado el agosto 16, 2019 11:44 TARDE por cliftonladd cliftonladd | 44 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

17 de agosto de 2019

Roaring Springs, Real County, Texas (August 9-11, 2019)

Brenda and I had a fantastic time at Roaring Springs the weekend of August 9 - 11, 2019, with our friends Michael Crockett, Luz Stella Loza, Luke Browning, and Arlette Vila. The impetus for the trip was wanting to watch the Perseid meteor shower in a place with dark skies. Roaring Springs definitely has dark skies, but we also had a waxing gibbous moon (about 80% full). We saw a few meteors, and the nights were perfect for sitting out in lawn chairs and just enjoying the night and each other's company. It was a sweet weekend.

Roaring Springs Ranch has a high diversity of tree species, including papershell pinyon (Pinus remota), bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum), Arizona black walnut (Juglans major), pecan (Carya illinoinensis), and several species of oaks.

I searched the spring run of the Premier Spring of Roaring Springs for Valdina Farms salamander (Eurycea troglodytes), but didn't not find them. I'll check again the next time I have a chance.

Brenda enjoying the cool waters of Camp Wood Creek.

(Notes 146: 12-13)

Publicado el agosto 17, 2019 09:31 TARDE por cliftonladd cliftonladd | 33 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

28 de agosto de 2019

Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila, México (October 2018)

In October 2018, I made a five-day trip to Cuatro Ciénegas, Coahuila with a big group of biologists, geologists, and archeologists from Austin. Peter Sprouse was the main organizer, and others on the trip were Andy and Leah Gluesenkamp (and their cool kids Jackson and Ruby), Jessica Gordon, Aimee Beveridge, Gabi Casares (friend and co-worker), Sarah Howard, Amy Grossman, and Crystal Datri. I rode down with Terry Sayther and Deborah Stuart, who are expert anthropologists (and the best BMW mechanics in Austin) and their friend Cathy Winfrey. Everything about this trip was enjoyable, including the people who went, the people we met in Cuatro Ciénegas, and everything we saw along the way.

Cuatro Ciénegas is one of the 121 Pueblos Mágicos of México, designated by the government for their cultural and natural charm and beauty. Everybody we met in Cuatro Ciénegas was very friendly and welcoming.

We saw thousands and thousands of butterflies: sulphurs, queens, monarchs, swallowtails, and others. And lots of other insects. Everything was green and lush. They must have had a lot of rain there in the months before we got there. And it rained pretty hard on the Saturday we were there.

The people there were more than friendly. They were also appreciative and protective of the natural beauty of the region. Conservation education was prominent, with signs for everything from a simple "don't throw trash" to big signs across the highway alerting travelers to the butterfly migration in the area.

Swimming with Minckley's cichlids (Herichthys minckleyi) and spiny softshell turtles (Apalone spinifera) in Rio Mezquites.

(Notes 143: 32-39)

Publicado el agosto 28, 2019 05:07 MAÑANA por cliftonladd cliftonladd | 59 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario