Puerco Mountains Report #10
Roger Repp?s Puerco Mountains Report
Buenos It's Hot Out Herpers,
If I could push the October button, I'd do it! All you high elevation and road cruising herpers LIVE for this heat. Those of us who have to wallow in it think it SUCKS!
It has once again been a while since one of these has been sent out. There are many reasons for this, the biggest being was that I was learning how to better size my images in the computer. Thanks to Bill, Jillian and Paint Shop, we've finally tamed that tiger.
And speaking of tigers, now I can ASSAIL you guys with photos.
As none of you will remember, our last report had me elated that our one and only female tiger Gracie was still alive. I'm happy to report that she is on the prowl now, and there is at least a fighting chance of seeing her up with each visit. Indeed, with all three tigers
that are still able to take nourishment, things have gotten MUCH more interesting.
Sorry Blake--I'm afraid it's the black flag for Blakie. Wanna come dig with me? 8-)
Posted here is likely the last photo that you see of female CA102, better known as Ali. It was taken during the golden hour of 2 June. Following this, there was long time period where I thought her transmitter had died. And then, on 22 June, the Peach, Shannon Hoss, and I went for broke to make one last try to find her. She was finally located WAY the hell out at the edge of the earth, where she was snagged and bagged for transmitter removal.
She has been an interesting snake to watch for the past three years. Some of you may remember this snake as the one who actually followed me for over 50 meters one night as I went to check out her nest site.
This picture of Gracie was taken late in the evening of 2 June. It was the first time I'd seen her out of her hibernaculum since last October! She hung around in her hibernaculum for long enough to shed her skin, and is now on the move for food.
Good old, Frankie (CM10) has come down from the hill and is hanging around in the big wash--very close to Dot-Head. They seem to be going after the pack rats that build all stick middens under the trees and hackberry. This is something that the atrox never did. I think we're seeing a little bit of habitat partitioning here.
I sometimes think we herpers don't appreciate what snakes REALLY do. When we buy picture books, none ever show photos like this. Truth be told, more than half time the snakes under our watch are buried under or among the plant life. This was the case with Gracie, pictured here on 7 June 2008.
Yes, you are indeed seeing a food bolus in Tony the tiger. He was coiled on open ground, and I should have made a better picture than this. The photographic Jedi amongst us would chide me for not knowing what every button on my camera is for--and they would be right for doing so. Tony was a sitting duck for this picture, and this was the best that I got.
But it SURE is better than nothing--which is the way it used to be!
In closing this report, it has been one of the best springs ever. Two standout observations
from this spring:
If I didn't see another zebra-tailed lizard, this would be my second best year ever for numbers. I've been counting common lizards for nine years. The best year ever for zebra-tails was 2001, with over 1200 counted. The current count for 2008 is 950+.
The same is true for regal horned lizards. In 1998, I saw 18 regals. So far this year, I've got an even dozen. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to close with a picture of one that Tricia Saenger and I found.
Best to all, roger