LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu May 22, 2014 8:55 am

A more touristy trip & report than my usual, but here it is...

! Full report => http://www.hylawerkgroep.be/jeroen/index.php?id=75

Since long, my dear friend Jan and I had the idea of doing a roadtrip in the States. As Jan had to attend a conference in St George, UT, a two weeks travel plan was forged. An ambitious route was put forward, stretching from Louisiana to California. As Jan is not into herpetology and our time was limited, the (literally) hundreds of species occurring along this trajectory received only limited attention. As such, this report will be notably more "touristy" than mu usual reports. I also did not bother too much in pursuing species I had seen during previous trips to the USA (see menu items CA 2011 and AZ 2012). Nevertheless, I was able to admire the targets on my subjective shortlist.

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the plan

Louisiana

US herpers Armin, Eric and Kyle were very welcoming and helpful during the first few days of the trip. Main attraction for sure was Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) the next morning. With jetlag and herping excitement precluding most sleep, we got up with sleepy heads and disorientated brains. Hiking the beautiful hilly woods of Armin’s property, our local herpers succeeded in finding the target species and quite a few more species. Never having been east of Arizona in the US before, nearly all species were new to me.

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Western Rat Snake (Pantherophis obsoletus)

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Kingsnake (Lampropeltis (getula) nigra)

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Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

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Rough Green Snake (Opheodrys aestivus)

Texas

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Green Tree Frog (Hyla cinerea)

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Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix)

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Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis)

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American Alligator (Alligator mississipiensis)

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American Alligator (Alligator mississipiensis)

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American Alligator (Alligator mississipiensis)

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white ibis

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black-chinned hummingbird

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scissor-tailed flycatcher

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Texas River Cooter (Pseudemys texana)

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Texas River Cooter (Pseudemys texana)

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Ornate Tree Lizard (Urosaurus ornatus)

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?Texas Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis ?gularis)

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Pecos River

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?Texas Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis ?gularis)

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Trans-Pecos Striped Whiptail (Aspidoscelis inornata heptagramma)

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Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus)

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vermillion flycatcher

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?Plateau Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis ?scalaris)

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Southwestern Fence Lizard (Sceloporus cowlesi)

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Greater Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus)

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?Marbled Whiptail (Aspidoscelis ?marmorata)

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Apalone spinifera & Trachemys gaigeae

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Big Bend Slider (Trachemys gaigeae)

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Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

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proghorn

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proghorn

New Mexico

In New Mexico, I finally got to see some collared lizards, after previous failures.

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Eastern Collard Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)

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Urosaurus ornatus? – this one’s weird, as it has no small scales in between the enlarged dorsal/vertebral scales (which would fit for long-tailed, but out of range...)

Arizona

Late afternoon, I made a brief attempt to find the dullest of all rattlesnake species up the Chiricahua mountains, but again (cf. way too many attempst in 2012) no luck. I hate that species... ;-). We spent the night in Rodeo, NM.

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the Chiricahuas

The next morning, we started with a visit to the charming desert museum in Rodeo and its nice reptiles collection. The reptile-themed shop particularly impressed me.

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Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo (NM)

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Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo (NM)

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Chiricahua Desert Museum, Rodeo (NM)

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Canyon Spotted Whiptail (Aspidoscelis burti)

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roadrunner

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Harris hawk

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red-tailed hawk with western diamond-backed prey

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Sidewinder (Crotalus cerastes)

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Regal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare)

Next up, a must-see destination, the Grand Canyon. We broke up the drive by avoiding Phoenix, going east through the Mogollon Rim and spending the night at high altitude. I browsed for an AZ black (Crotalus cerberus) here and there but there was just too much icy wind all the time.

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rates going up

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Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

California

Death Valley NP, California.

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Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

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Nevada

We avoided Las Vegas, but spent 3 nights cruising in suboptimal conditions for 2 species of rattlers I had marked as prime targets beforehand. In the daytime, we enjoyed the scenery and hiked the desert as well as alpine habitat on Mount Charleston. To my great joy, the cruising did deliver this time, so I got to see both rattler species I had been looking forward so much, one of which had been a target during my two previous trips to the States.

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Sonoran Lyresnake (Trimorphodon lambda)

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Lake Mohave

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Yellow-backed Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus uniformis)

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Western Groundsnake (Sonora semiannulata)

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Western Patch-nosed Snake (Salvadora hexalepis)

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at the end of the 3rd trip with this species on the wishlist, finally success! – Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

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Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

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Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

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Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchellii)

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Speck and me

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Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi)

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Panamint Rattlesnake (Crotalus stephensi)

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Western Groundsnake (Sonora semiannulata)

In conclusion, another great time in the US. A perfect roadtrip, including not so many but some fantastic herp species.

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Mohave sunset

Preliminary list of observed species

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - touristy roadtrip 2014

Postby Andre Schmid » Thu May 22, 2014 9:07 am

Awesome landscape and for sure great rattlers. Looks like a succesfull holiday trip :D
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - touristy roadtrip 2014

Postby Mario Schweiger » Thu May 22, 2014 9:08 am

must have been a nice trip :o
Love, although not valid anymore - the Canebrake ("atricaudatus")
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Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - touristy roadtrip 2014

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Thu May 22, 2014 10:21 am

I was waiting for this post! Wonderful, some of these places are very familiar to me.
When I was young (many, many years ago) Southwest Texas, south New Mexico and Southeast Arizona were my herping playgrounds!

But Sir, I`m disappointed!!!
No Crotalus lepidus lepidus from Texas
No Crotalus lepidus klauberi from New Mexico
????
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu May 22, 2014 12:27 pm

Jürgen Gebhart wrote:But Sir, I`m disappointed!!!
No Crotalus lepidus lepidus from Texas
No Crotalus lepidus klauberi from New Mexico
????

Well, everyone knows I'm lost concerning snakes without Peter Engelen. After the leps from AZ in 2012, those were not on top of my list. If you drive 8600km in 2 weeks with someone who's not into herping, you have to make choices.
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Thu May 22, 2014 12:28 pm

BTW, Jürgen, do you have experience with hunting for Lampropeltis alterna?
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Peter Oefinger » Thu May 22, 2014 2:18 pm

Very nice collection of species & beautiful landscapes!
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Manfred Gessner » Thu May 22, 2014 3:00 pm

Fantastic Animals and scenery. Some amazing pictures.
I'm very jealous!

best regards Manni
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Matt Wilson » Thu May 22, 2014 3:54 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:A more touristy trip & report than my usual, but here it is...


You, Mr Speybroeck are too modest. Superb photos and a great trip! Well done lad!
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Re: LA TX NM AZ CA NV - roadtrip 2014

Postby Neil Rowntree » Thu May 22, 2014 5:19 pm

yes, a fine set of 'tourist' pictures there...!
http://northumberlandexplorer.weebly.com/
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