Daily Beard Day 38 – we took these at Jason’s parents’ house in Seminole, TX at 5:30.
We woke up after a great sleep indoors and went to an Italian restaurant for lunch before we milked the Western Diamondback (Crotalus atrox) from last night.
We spent the afternoon relaxing and planning our strategy for the evening before we headed out. On our way to road cruising we stopped at a Wendy’s in Carlsbad for dinner, where they got all 3 orders wrong on the first try (an impressive feat, but they were very nice and corrected our food without hassle).
Then we hit the roads, where we quickly found a Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) and a baby Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens). The mud turtle was new to Jason and I, and since you don’t see mud turtles crossing the road often in the desert, were stopped to take some pictures.
The roads that we choose for the evening looked promising, with lots of great habitat on either side and few cars. The amount of grass and green vegetation has increased dramatically as a result of the unseasonably high rainfall, making the landscape almost unrecognizable from when we first arrived out west.
A little ways up the road, we started seeing dung beetles rolling cow feces across the road.
Once we settled on plans for the night, we stated road cruising in two cars (Jason in one, Eric and I in the other). We split up to increase our chance of finding Prairie Rattlesnakes (Crotalus viridis), the last species that we needed to collect from New Mexico. We had struck out for the last several nights of searching for them, so we were hoping that we’d find them with two cars searching. For the first few hours, we didn’t find any snakes, but then Eric and I found a Western Diamondback and Jason found a DOR Checkered Garter Snake (Thamnophis marcianus).
After several more hours of searching, we turned up two more live diamondbacks, a DOR diamondback, and a Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei).
After a long night, we parted ways with Eric and headed back towards Seminole, Texas. On our way we kept our eyes peeled for snakes, but only found a DOR badger and a DOR kangaroo rat.
Finally, we arrived in Texas (at 4:30am) and got to stay at Jason’s grandmother’s house. Looking forward to sleeping in a bed tonight.
We woke up to a nice, mountain morning after what may be our last night camping for the trip. We hurried to process the DORs from last night since a storm was rolling in.
The cap on our bleach bottle broke as we went to put it away, so we wrapped it in parafilm and a rubber band, which should hopefully keep it sealed for the rest of the trip.
Once we finished our work and the rain stopped (it barely drizzled) we cooked lunch (cous cous, chicken, and corn).
Then we packed up camp and headed to Artesia to meet with a contact, Eric. We had some tasty burgers and and quesadillas. Then we hit the road for some cruising. We got a DOR Common Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula), three Checkered Garter Snakes (Thamnophis marcianus), and a Western Diamondback (Crotalus atrox).
Late in the night we found a Texas Toad (Anaxyrus speciosus), which was a new species for Jason and I. We also passed a Pronghorn Antelope which jumped a fence and took off before I could get a photo.
After a good night of cruising, Eric was nice enough to let us crash at his place, so we got to sleep indoors.