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A Week in Vegas (June 12-18).

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Posted by: tspuckler at Tue Jun 19 02:14:16 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by tspuckler ]  

It was the same weather throughout the week, sunny and in the low 100s. I've been on a bit of a "toad kick" the past few years and during last year's Vegas trip I drove 3 hours to find a "lifer" Armagosa Toad. This time I decided to focus on a far more widespread and easier to find toad. (Though somehow it has eluded me in my 20 herping trips to Sin City).

The parking lot of the place where I stayed.

My first stop was this Wildlife Management Area where they seasonally allow duck hunting.

There were lots of cool wading birds, like these White-faced Ibis.

Then, while walking along the shoreline, it became apparent that there were many, many new metamorphs of the amphibian I was seeking hopping about: Woodhouse's Toad. It's not often that the first herp found on the trip is a "lifer." I considered it to be a good omen of things to come.

There was also this Nevada Tiger Moth to be seen.

Later on I came across this bigger example of a Woodhouse. Let's face it: There's no time like Toad Time.

On the way back I decided to check out this popular and scenic place.

A group of Desert Bighorn Sheep.

Petroglyphs are cool, yet spooky. They're usually in remote places where you don't expect to see them. It's very odd to think someone lived here hundreds of years ago and carved into the rocks.

It was getting close to the middle of the day when I realized that I had yet to see any reptiles on the trip. But then this sweet-looking Chuckwalla came along and saved the day.

Later that night I did some roadhunting and found my first snake of the trip - a young Mojave Rattlesnake.

That was followed by a small Great Basin Gopher Snake.

On Wednesday I took a trip to Arizona to check out what was going on in the Cerbat Mountains.

I wasn't expecting to see a big green lizard in the road, but it was only there for a moment before it bolted.

The Great Basin Collared Lizards that I'm used to seeing are earthtone in color. I soon realized that I was looking at lifer #2 - Eastern Collared Lizard.

Southwestern Prickly Poppy

Do you know what the deadliest killer is?

Plateau Fence Lizards were the most commonly seen reptile.

A trusty (rented) Toyota that travelled 2,500 miles by the end of the week.

The Giant Agave Bug lives up to its name - those things are huge.

Some movement in the underbrush revealed lifer #3: a Gila Spotted Whiptail.

A friendly reminder.

As I descended the mountains, I decided that I'd come back later to go night herping.

But first, who ever said that you can't combine firearms with food?

The first night find was lifer #4 of the trip: an Arizona Glossy Snake.

I was pretty stoked about the Glossy.


I ended the night by finding this Gopher Snake which is probably a Sonoran/Great Basin intergrade.

Last year visited a waterfall hidden in the desert. It was such a cool place that I decided to do it agiain this year. To get there I drove down this road.

The desert isn't a particularly "user friendly" place, but's that's why I like it.

I saw quite a few Zebratail Lizards.

They favor open areas with loose, sandy soil like this.

Here's one sporting a dewlap.

There's a large gallery of rock art to be enjoyed on the way.

This seep of water was attracting a large number of insects, especially Honeybees.

But there were other insects too, such as this Queen Butterfly.

Double Queen!

I got so lost in taking invertebrate photos, including trying unsucessfully to get good shots of Tarantula Hawks and Dragonflies, that I did not realize that I was being watched.

And he brought backup as well. The Bighorns and I had a "staredown" that lasted a few minutes before I decided that they wanted to get a drink and they wanted me to leave so they could do so.

So I continued on my way, which involved climbing these rocks, which is no easy feat.

Side-blotched Lizard.

I heard a noise behind me and wouldn't you know it, those Bighorn were following me. I reasoned they they were going to mug me and take the pack of almonds that I got at Starbucks earlier in the day. But then I realized that they were simply admiring my stellar rock climbing skills.

After the rock climb there's more hiking and eventually this abstract art-like passage often called "the narrows" needs to be navigated. It's pretty cool looking and pretty cool inside, especially when a breeze passes through.

Following even more hiking, I approached the waterfall.

It was early April when I visited here last year, but this time around there was no water flowing. The "bath tub" at its base was nearly dry.

This Dragonfly seemed to have the right idea - it was time to metamorphose and get out.

Even though I've been to this place a number of times, I've never roadhunted the area. I came back at night and gave it a try. This turned out to be a good idea, because I saw this.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake.

WDBs are tricky to find in Nevada, this is only the second one I've ever found in the Silver State.

There were also a few Desert Banded Geckos crossing the road as well.

On Friday I decided to hike a canyon about an hour north of Las Vegas.

Spiny Lizards were the reptile that I saw the most of.


Another Spiny Lizard.

Remnants of ancient man.

Remnants of not-so-ancient man.

Side-blotched Lizard.

Most of the Spiny Lizards would quickly retreat into the rocks crevices when approached

Tiger Whiptail.

On the next day I returned to Arizona, mainly because I am a fan of their billboards.

I herped this area.

Dark Fence Lizard.

Light Fence Lizard.

Claret Cup Cactus.

A group of Yellow-bellied Bee Assassin Bugs were entertaining to watch as they ambushed bugs visiting these yellow flowers.

Collared Lizard.

Unidentified Whiptail.

Yellowspine Thistle.

Cliff Chipmunk

Later that night: Gray Fox.


It was around 11:00PM and I hadn't come across any night time herps. I was so bored that I began taking pictutes of signs that made no sense.

Then it happened - Lifer #5: Spotted Leaf-nosed Snake.

It was both odd and cool to finally see "in person" a snakes I've only known from pictures for so many years. It was a great way to end the night.

With every day hitting 100 degrees or more I decided to "beat the heat" and head to a mountain where I knew it would be 20 degrees cooler.

There were a number of butterflies out, including this Mormon Fritillary.

Western Tiger Swallowtail.

The Nevada Admiral occurs nowhere else in the world but on this mountain and the surrounding area.

I walked this path.

Male Sagebrush Lizard.

Female Sagebrush Lizard.

There were lots of mammals to be seen, like this Mule Deer.

Wild Horse.

Wild Burros.

And when nightfall came, I finally got to see some snakes like this Great Basin Gopher Snake.

And my first and only Longnose Snake of the trip.

On my final day of the trip I wanted to see some amphibians, so I went to this very popular tourist destination.

It features several springs and creeks, like this one.

Red-spotted Toad.

Waterways often are a place where Cottonwood Trees can be found in the desert. And Spiny Lizards like spending time in Cottonwoods.

Flame Skimmer Dragonfly.

Tadpoles (probably for Red-spotted Toad).

Side-blotched Lizard.

I saw about two dozen Pacific Treefrogs.

I finished the trip of with the huge bug of the day: a Palo Verde Root Borer

See you next year, Las Vegas!

Third Eye Herp


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>> Next Message:  RE: A Week in Vegas (June 12-18). - gerryg, Thu Jun 21 16:05:47 2012
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>> Next Message:  RE: A Week in Vegas (June 12-18). - RossPadilla, Tue Jul 3 01:58:16 2012
>> Next Message:  RE: A Week in Vegas (June 12-18). - DMong, Sat Jul 28 02:49:44 2012