Southwestern Field Herpetology

Southwestern Field Herpetology
Apr
10th
2009

Quality, Not Quantity (part 1)

On Tuesday night I headed off into the Superstition mountains for a 4-day springtime trip to try and see whatever could be seen. I would be meeting up with a pair of Timber rattlesnake researchers from Pennsylvania the next day to try and find a Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) Unfortunately, the weather did not agree with my plans. A cold front moved in to place just as quickly as I did, and the normal April daytime temperatures of 90 degrees dropped to a windy 75. Evening air temperatures were as low as the upper 50’s by 9pm, creating quite a challenge for the next few days. The original plan was to visit the mountains to the South East of Tucson, but I thought we’d have a better chance in my favorite local range, the Superstition mountains to the East of Phoenix.

It was a good sign when I saw this Ground Snake (Sonora Semiannulata) within minutes of arriving on location.

Groundsnake
Sonora semiannulata

Groundsnake

Here he is again without the Flash, in the dramatic late-afternoon lighting. I prefer this sort of shot than the ‘field guide’ style above.

Sonora semiannulata
Ground Snake

Sonora semiannulata

When I was done photographing, I watched it crawl into a crack in a rock cut, which was also inhabited by a sub-adult Chuckwalla. The only part visible was the tail; evidence that somebody isn’t as sneaky as they think they are.

That's a weird looking root.
Chuckwalla

That's a weird looking root.

The evening lighting can be quite dramatic in the canyon. I haven’t been able to accurately portray how this place looks with my photos.

Superstition Mountains
Superstition Mountains

One last photograph for this portion of the story; a large Red Spotted Toad (Bufo punctatus):

Bufo punctatus
Red Spotted Toad

Bufo punctatus

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2 Responses to “Quality, Not Quantity (part 1)”

  1. JJFeldner says:

    Bryan, you should’ve called me. I have two! LOL

  2. Bryan says:

    You’re right! Why am I wasting all this gas when I can just go herping at your place? haha

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