Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Suizo Report -- Hauling a$$ and sitting tight

Howdy Herpers, 10/03/12

In the report that went out yesterday, Marty had this to say about tracking our wayward male molossus CM14:

"Found this neonate solare as HW, Ryan and I attempted to track male CM14, the only snake Roger designated as a "MUST GET." Thanks for jinxing me! Roger and HW got his signal the night before so he might have booked and made a significant move or, for some reason, my receiver wasn't picking up his signal. Hopefully Roger was able to locate him Sunday."

Yes, H-W and I had his signal the night before. We got the signal from the windmill, which is located just south of the Suizo Mountains proper. But the closer we got to the foremost ridge, the quieter the signal got. This usually indicates that the animal is on the other side of the ridge. As it was already very late in the evening, it was decided to get CM14 in the morning.

And so, the aging team of Schuett and Repp decided to send the younger, stronger, faster men after the snake. As Marty suggests, a "must get" was written on the datasheet, with an arrow pointing directly at "CM14." Typing Boy here told them "I don't care if you don't get any others--just get this one. Once you get to the windmill, try him. I think he's in the next drainage north."

Somehow, this message did not come through. They tracked everything BUT the one we needed to get. When I chided them for this, (indicating in not-too-subtle a fashion that we had sent BOYZ to do a man's job), they informed me that I was getting fat, and needed the exercise. They were helping me to live a longer life. They had done me a HUGE favor.

That's what I like about these guys: nothing!

And so, the next evening, fat, dumb and happy here tried the signal from the windmill. Good old 12 - 2 on the dial of the same receiver I sent them out with the night before. Needless to say, it came in--loud and clear. Slackers! As surmised, the signal was actually coming from the next drainage north of the front ridge of Suizo Mountains Southwest. At first, I thought I was in for an easy track.

But up, up, up I went. Beyond the very last mountain my son Tim and climbed together back in the year 2000. Well above that, and well around the corner from it. Finally, he scores. There is CM14 coiled in a hunt posture, under a bursage and prickly pear. See image 1.

He had moved over a mile. The scary part is that we have two more big male molossus like this one, who will likely do the same thing.

Now, we move to the images. In doing so, we can thank Marty, H-W, and Ryan for not listening to me. Truth be told, I enjoyed every second of the monumental tracking episode with CM14. And thanks to the boys not listening to the man, we have some great sequence shots of a few individual snakes.

Image 1: Male CM14. My method of photographing a snake in situ is to fire a couple shots from the distance first observed, and then start closing in for the money shot. After this image was taken, the snake bolted. I'm glad to have this much, but it SHOULD have been better.

What a spoil sport of a snake!

Images 2-3: Female CM15 on the night of 28 September (Repp). Just after this shot was taken, she bolted under the boulder with a mylar balloon strewn in a nearby prickly pear, where Marty found her the next day (Image 3, Feldner).

Images 4-6: Male CM12 on the move. Image 4, (Feldner) has him on the SW side of IMH, near where we park. Image 5 (Repp) has him coiled at the southernmost tip of IMH, and image 6 has him abut 200 meters out into the bajada. (Dates are file extensions). 

Images 7-9: A classic sequence of a rattlesnake, female CT12, using sit-and-wait ambush techniques. Image 7 (Repp) shows her set up in the center of a dead clump of prickly pear--note the fruit all around her. Image 8 (Feldner) shows her THICK posterior going into a hole the next morning. No doubt, it gets VERY hot in that place by day. And the last image in this series shows her back out the following morning--in the EXACT spot she was two nights before.
We'll stop here. We look forward to what comes next.

Best to all, roger

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