Field Report May 15-17, 2009
"Sky Islands"
The term "Sky Islands" refers to the mountain ranges in southern Arizona.  Chiricahua Mts.,  Huachuca Mts., Patagonia Mts., Santa Rita Mts., Dragoon Mts., and the Whetstone Mts. (Kartchner Caverns).

 

Scott Potts and I headed down to Southern Arizona to herp the "Sky Islands".  The temps were in the 80's around Prescott when we left, but the temps were in the low 100's as we passed through Phoenix.  Scott insisted that we stop by Golden Corral for the lunch buffet....so I sacrificed my body for the team.  By the time we hit our targeted area in Southern Arizona the temps were still in the low 90's.  And as normal this time of the year - it was bone dry! The first reptile found was a Regal Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma solare).

It was a little slow so Scott decided to imitate a Coati Mundi....what a guy.

I also took this slow time from herping to take a few pics of the habitat.  This is looking down from near Mt. Hopkins.

 

  We even found some cool looking spineless, purple prickly pear cactus.

    Okay, that ought to satisfy the tree-huggers.

 

Soon after dark we met up with our friend Jerry and his buddy Kevin.  It has been a few years since I herped with Jerry, so it was nice to see him again.  We figured out our game plan and split up.  Soon after that we found a Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) basking on the hot road.  Since it was dark I decided to take pics of the atrox in daylight.

  Not much else was moving in that area so we decided to head to Jerry's place to crash for the night, which meant driving through the mountains.  On the way we managed to find a couple of Sonoran Lyre snakes (Trimorphodon biscutatus lambda)  These are cool looking snakes with bug-eyed, slit pupils.  Although they are not considered venomous, they are rear-fanged and do inject venom into their prey to subdue them.  They are cool looking snakes.

 

Kevin and Jerry  Scott and Jerry

 

That was it for the first night, we got to Jerry's house a little after midnight and Jerry's wife Cindy had BBQ pulled-pork sandwiches ready for us when we got there.  Saweeet!  Then to top that off, Jerry and Cindy cooked breakfast in the morning.  Jerry had to go referee some basketball games so Scott and I headed out in the morning although it was already hot.  We saw lots of lizards, but only found one that would sit still long enough for a picture.  A nice Zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides).

  Went back to Jerry's place, had lunch and then headed back out. Got real close to the Mexican border.

  You can see the "WALL"  We also saw some humanitarian watering holes.

 

  Scott also video taped this little adventure, that's Jerry riding shotgun.

 

Saw some wildlife as well.  Saw a Coati Mundi but didn't get a pic, but there were some Coues Deer, a sub-species of the whitetail deer.  The deer was named after Dr. Coues and his name was pronounced "Cows", but everyone incorrectly calls them "Coos".............life goes on.

I left the pic "un-edited" with the glowing eyes, I sure didn't think that the flash would do that from that distance.

 

Los Alisos Creek On the other side was some homo sapiens taking a swim, I opted to not take pics of them, plus I wasn't sure what country they were from  :)

After the sun went down we found a Western Banded Gecko (Coleonyx variegatus)

Cool little guys...a lot of reptiles feed off these guys.    And then we found a road kill Desert Kingsnake.

And a Sonoran Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis).  Last year's hatchling.

 

Then back to Jerry's house.  Scott and I drove back home the next morning.  Dry and not a lot of reptiles.

 

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