Archivos de diario de julio 2023

20 de julio de 2023

SnakeDays 2023 (July 11-18, 2023)

SnakeDays was held in person this year for the first time since 2019, and the meeting was in Alpine, my second home. This is an annual gathering of people who study amphibians and reptiles in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. So it isn't just about snakes, but also frogs, toads, lizards, turtles, etc., and it covers the whole Big Bend region. This journal entry mostly describes what we did on July 14 to 16, but my linked observations include entries during the whole SnakeDays 2023 Bioblitz from July 11 to 18.

My good friend James Evans and I got to herp along various roads for the three nights of July 14 to 16. We've been doing stuff like this around Big Bend for over 30 years, and every time it's like old times. Thursday night the 14th we drove the county road down to the Post, then went up 385 just a little past the prairie dog town. We found one gopher snake on the Post Road. I found one Mojave rattlesnake on US 90 when I drove home to Alpine from Marathon.

Three of my colleagues from ICF joined us this year. Karen Pérez got to Marathon in time for burger night at the French Grocer, then go with James and me on Friday the 14th. Jasmine Hernandez and Briana Ladd came in late on Friday the 14th and drove the back road to Alpine, going down Old Alpine Road from Fort Stockton to Highway 67 to Alpine in the wee hours of the morning of the 15th. They found a long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei) on Old Alpine Road, but we didn't all get to my house in Alpine until 3:00 a.m. on the 15th. I'm sure Jasmine and Bri were pretty wiped-out after the long drive from Austin, then herping from Fort Stockton to Alpine, and hopefully slept like babies on the couch and a cot.

All five of us searched Highway 118 north of Alpine past Fort Davis to Farm-to-Market Road 1832 (a.k.a. Boy Scout Rd.) on the night of the 15th and 16th. One of the more interesting things we found that night were headlight beetles (Deilelater physoderus) that were flashing their lights flying up and down the canyon at the end of the Boy Scout Rd. It took us a while to see one when it landed, then we were able to get a few photos. It was interesting seeing them flying and blinking their lights. We didn't get back to Alpine until close to 3 a.m. on the 16th. I'm glad Karen, Jasmine, and Bri were able to make it out to Alpine. And it really shows their dedication to deep knowledge of species and habitats, especially herps in the Big Bend.

We all had a good time, even though there was very little herp activity. It has been "abnormally dry" around Alpine (according to the U.S. Drought Monitor). I only saw three species of snakes in the three days we went out: Sonoran gopher snake, Mojave rattlesnake, and western diamond-backed rattlesnake. The site at the end of the Boy Scout Road had two canyon tree frogs. Those were the only herps we saw during those three days, plus Jasmine and Bri's long-nosed snake. I posted a few other miscellaneous observations during the SnakeDays 2023 Bioblitz project dates of July 11 to 18, though I tried to keep the focus on amphibians and reptiles.

This was a fun time with James, Karen, Jasmine, and Bri, and it was good to see all the SnakeDays people at the meeting at the Alpine Civic Center. And we all got to enjoy looking at the dark skies while we were out at night. Just seeing the Milky Way on a moonless night in the clear skies of Big Bend is enough to make the whole trip worthwhile for me.

Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer), Mohave rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus), James and Karen photographing a western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), and canyon tree frog (Hyla arenicolor).

(Notes 153: 30-31)

Publicado el julio 20, 2023 12:41 MAÑANA por cliftonladd cliftonladd | 37 observaciones | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario