Monday, May 26, 2014

GoPro + Sport Kite + Duct Tape = Dizziness

Towards the end, there are a few segments of stable stalling, I swear!

Here are some still shots.

Like father, like daughter...

Monday, May 19, 2014

Hello Again, Redwood Forests

On Mondays, I get out of school a few hours early. I took advantage of the time and went out to the Santa Cruz mountains once again today.

Western Forest Scorpion
(Uroctonus mordax)

I found a few of these under a rock near a stream. No idea what they are, but this one moved around on my hand. They seem to be some kind of terrestrial (but they may be aquatic) isopods.

The underbelly of the creature.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The "Less Than 2 Weeks Before Summer Vacation!" Hike

Finally, summer is almost here. In less than two weeks, I will be out!
Here's some photos from my late afternoon hike at Almaden Quicksilver...

Picnic tables are the best place to relax...

Darkling Beetle in Attack Mode

Darkling Beetle Eating

Snake Got Stuck and Died?

I came upon this yesterday. A snake (gopher, I presume) tried to go through an old pipe, got stuck, couldn't go backwards, and died, I presume. I've never seen anything like this before, although the folks over at Field Herp Forum claim they see it often, especially with human trash such as nets.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Learning to Use My Tongs

My tongs came in today! Interestingly enough, the UPS guy who delivered it turned out to be really into catching snakes and had this exciting conversation with my mom whilst I, unknowingly, sat in the bathroom. Oh well!

I did not get the Gentle Giant tongs, so I am slowly learning to use these ones, making sure to not hold the snake tight enough rather than hold it too tight when picking it up. I have not gotten the hang of it yet and used my hook for the most part, but I'm getting there!

I found a very green (and very pissed off) Northern Pacific. He was fangs-deep in a western fence lizard, which eventually shook its tail and was let go, stumbling into the grasses and probably dying there, to be eaten later. (Note: He released his prey without my disturbance. I only picked him up when the lizard went off.) I did not know that rattlers held on to their prey like this...

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
(Crotalus oreganus oreganus)
and Western Fence Lizard
(Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii) in mouth.

Rattlesnake after the lizard ran off.

You can see the intense green coloration of the
snake in this picture.

I also found a California Kingsnake which was extremely uneasy and covered my entire hands in musk (of which my dad complains I still smell like, even after a shower and multiple sessions of intense scrubbing).

California Kingsnake
(Lampropeltis getula californiae)

And finally, we found an interesting spider. I could not identify it, so if anybody knows what it is, please reply in a comment or send me a private message!
Edit: Thank you Zach_Lim from Field Herp Forum for identification!

Camel Spider

Monday, May 5, 2014

Post-AP Relaxation

The AP Chemistry test being over, I decided to head out and search the hills for whatever I could find.

While creeping around off-trail, trying to avoid the vast forests of poison oak, I flipped an old cloth that had somehow wound up there, finding a little Jerusalem cricket. He played dead until I turned my hand over and he crawled over to the other side.

Jerusalem Cricket (aka Potato Bug)

I also went back to where we found the rattlesnake yesterday. I had messed up the planks of wood which it called home yesterday and was not able to put them back because the little guy slithered off into the tall grass, and I did really not want to step on him. Thankfully, it was quite cool today, and he had found a place to nestle in. I pulled him out and he got used to the snake hook quite quickly.

I noticed immediately that he was missing a few rattles. This is normal, and is why you cannot always age a rattlesnake by the number it has.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
(Crotalus oreganus oreganus)

He quickly learned not to slide off
of the hook.

This is by far one of my favorite pictures of a rattlesnake which I have taken. Hopefully, there are many more like this to come!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pre-AP Relaxation

My AP Chemistry test in tomorrow morning, and I needed some time to relax. My parents were willing to come with me to search for snakes. (All photo credit to them, since I was busy flipping logs.)
We only found one, but oh my was he/she beautiful.

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
(Crotalus oreganus oreganus)

This is one of my favorites. My dad calls it my "Austin
Stevens Picture." Not enough heroic glory, in my opinion.