Sunday, June 12, 2011

Roger Repp's Suizo Report - 29 April

Howdy Herpers,

From 29 April through 3 May, it was my privilege to herp with a gang of five friends who are like brothers to me. I first met these guys at various time intervals through my connections with the Chicago Herpetological Society. I have been a member of the CHS, off and on, since 1967. While I was interested in herps for nine years previous to 1967, it was the CHS that really lit my fuse when it comes to herpetology.

For that, we should either thank them , or spank them--depending on one's perspective of having the likes of me within the beloved confines of your ranks.By way of explanation, the ranks we occupy would be the few, the proud, the geeks. (Also known as the ranks of the truly rank.)
The plan to get some of these CHS homeboys together in Arizona for a herp-a-thon was conceived in October of 2010. The first iteration of the plan had only three of them coming, but we realized that we would drop two other CHS stalwarts like soiled toilet paper if we didn't invite them. They accepted, and we broke into a rousing chorus of "Tick-tock, the game is locked, and nobody else can play."
Thus it came to pass that on 29 April, a big bird dumped Ralph Shepstone, Gery Herrmann, Steve Barten, and Mike Dloogatch onto the tarmac of Tucson International Airport. There to greet them was Dave Barker, who had generously offered his vehicle as our second chariot for the trip, as well as your typing boy here.
There next ensued the usual flandickery associated with arriving guests: a Motel check in, a visit to the local pub, a Walmart, a Subway Sandwich Shop, and a quickie herp trip. The latter was performed at the holiest of holy places--the Suizo Mountains.

The adventure began with us lounging in camp chairs while consuming tasty beverages. We then did a round of "tortoise checks" on Iron Mine Hill. Both tortoises under watch were still home. Gery drew first blood by finding a small regal horned lizard, and Steve "recaptured" atrox # 130--a  male that we marked back on 19 March.



Much to our chagrin, the theme of Gery and Steve finding all the cool stuff was to be recurrent throughout the remainder of the visit.
After dark, we pointlessly blundered about with flashlights for over  two hours without finding a darn thing. We then decided to fire up the receiver, and cheat a bit to see what the wired snakes were doing. And what we found is this: they weren't doing much. They were hiding quite well, which might explain why six experienced herpers weren't doing much either.

The pictures will highlight the rest.

















Pic01, by Ralph: Out of sequence. This is something that I don't  normally do, but since everybody looks ok in this pic, I'm happy to share. Top row, left to right:  Gery, Steve, Dave, Mike. Bottom row, left to right: me, Ralph.


















Pic02, by Steve: The Regal Horned Lizard that Gery found. It was not only the first solare of the year on our plot for me, but the first of the year period. This is fairly late in the game for a first encounter.














Pic03, by Steve: "Great White" (Dave's Toyota Tundra) and "Little White" (my Toyota Tacoma) as viewed in our parking spot from Iron Mine Hill.








Pic04, by Dave: Nice touch with the camera Dave!

Pic05, by Steve: Tiger rattlesnake # 8, "Zona." This is by far the best look we've had of her all year. The tigers aren't doing much, but this one appears to be quite pregnant.



Pic06, by me: Atrox # 121, "Tracy." While she is quite obvious in the photo, she was very difficult to see--even with the aid of radio telemetry. As Dave Hardy once said "what you learn from telemetry is that we only see the obvious snakes."


While Gery and Steve were later to prove that is not always accurate, we certainly would have NEVER seen Tracy without cheating.

We'll leave it at that--for now. Next week, I'll send one that will blow the doors off this one. We speak of the Big Windy Black Velvet Adventure.

Best to all, roger



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