Sunday, April 29, 2012

Suizo Report -- Off Plot Part 1

Howdy Herpers,                                   04/26/12

Every once in a while, I cut the herps on our beloved plot a break, and wander off elsewhere. As far as I can tell, they don't seem to miss me much.

 From 30 March through 1 April, Herrmann the German and I joined Dale DeNardo, Marty Feldner and John Slone. Our mission was to seek a special form of speckled rattlesnake, the "Dwarf Mitch," AKA the "White Mitch." We met out in a mountain range that carries a strange name. They are called the "Nunya Bizness Mountains," which are located somewhere north of the south pole. But it might be easier to get to them by traveling south from the north pole.

As this was a first time visit to the Nunya Biznesses for Dale, Herrmann the German, and me, we had the privilege of listening to tales from Sloner and Marty of the great abundance of our quarry in the days of yore. As near as I can figure out from their discussion, at one point it was possible to walk across their backs without ever having ones' feet touch the ground.

It's always cool to hear about the good old days from people who are over 20 years younger.
For their stories seemed indeed to be the good old days. For the time period we were out there, they were the crappy new days.

The bad news was that we only found one. The really bad news is that Dale DeNardo found it, and was insufferable in the modesty that followed this act.
(It's always better
to be lucky than good.)

But there us a silver lining in all this: we DID find one. And thanks to marvelous Marty, we also scored a patch-nosed snake. That was it for the Nunya Bizness portion of this trip. Five pairs of eyes grinding on hillsides so steep that if one stands up straight, one's nose is hitting the terrain. Two snakes to show for it.

There were other disappointments with this trip. I was told that there were elephant trees here. Heretofore, I had always thought that elephants entered this world by coming out of their mother's wombs. I had no idea they grew in trees. And any tree that would produce elephant fruits had to be really big. I even brought my chainsaw in hopes of doing some ivory collecting, not to mention a ladder to get me up into the canopy.

Sadly, the elephant trees weren't even in bloom, let alone carrying the fruit. We must have been there out of season.

But all jesting aside, it was a good trip, with good people. We saw over 30 desert iguanas. We ate well, drank better, and had lots of interesting and raucous discussions. I just wish I could remember them.

On 21 April, I joined Melissa Amarello for a look at the cerberus dens under watch. I will go into further depth on this trip with the next report. There is too much to share for one report from this fantastic area for one report. And the end of my lunch hour looms large.

We go to pictures for the rest of this report:

Image 1: Dale's White Mitch, a female. Posed image.
Image 2: Marty's patch-nosed snake, in situ
Image 3: From cerberus country, a den called "Caprock."
Image 4-6: This sequence shows the benefit of hands off observations. Melissa named this snake Roger. But I'll bet she tells all the guys that sort of thing. Anyway, Roger comes out of caprock, Roger settles in, Roger comes all the way out of Caprock. He is poised to watch the comings
and goings of all the females in the roost.

Image 7: Roger coming back out of Caprock the following morning.

Images 8 and 9: The short-horned lizards from this area are fantastic! These images are two views of the same animal.

Again, we'll go into more depth of the cerberus trip with the next report. For now, this here is Roger Repp, signing off from southern Arizona, where the turtles are strong, the snakes are handsome, and the lizards are all above average.

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