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Knee deep in breeding Atratus

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Posted by: Zach_MexMilk at Sun Mar 31 17:17:29 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Zach_MexMilk ]  
   

Had a very productive morning today out in San Mateo County. Had to attend a work party at 1 PM, so was only able to be out in the field for a few hours. Luckily for me, I narrowed down my targets and spots and was able to find quite a few snakes.

However, to begin, yesterday evening, after work, I biked over to my local SF Alligator Lizard spot in hopes of getting my first City 'gator for the year. Got lucky at around 5:00PM when I heard some rustling in the coyote brush:

San Francisco Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea coerulea)- San Francisco, CA



Now, for today.

My regular herping buddy and I hit a nice rock field East of Highway 280 in hopes of our first Kingsnake of the year. Although no Lamps were found, we managed a few cool snakes-

Pacific Gophersnake (Pituophis catenifer catenifer), San Mateo County, CA- 2 were found



Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenius)- San Mateo County, CA





Moving along to a new spot that I have never been to before (big "thank you" to Luke Talltree for guidance)-

Along a trail, there was a broken down structure (maybe an old housing area for cattle?). Was able to find one piece of tin that was flippable.

First Crotes of the year!

Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus oreganus), San Mateo County, CA




At the end of the trail was out destination- a pond! I love ponds.

First herp found was a rather drab CA Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii), San Mateo County, CA:


Scanning the edge of the water, a bright flash of orange caught my eye.

"Flame-phase" Coast Gartersnake (Thamnophis elegans terrestris), San Mateo County, CA


Posed





Now for the highlight of today.

My favorite local Thamnophis species is T.atratus atratus, the Santa Cruz Gartersnake. Something about them makes them strikes me as very attractive and alluring, even more so than an SFGS.

I guess I came to the right spot today. The place was CRAWLING with huge SC Garters garthering in huge numbers amongst the reeds and chaparral. I believe that these snakes were breeding? Countless snakes ignored our presence and beelined it directly to the reeds where they chased around others. I can not describe the sight!

Some were even crossing directly in front of our feet, so I was able to secure one (quickly) for some quick pics.













What a great day! Just seeing the sheer amounts of garters in one area was a thrill. Top 10 favorite herping moments for sure!


   

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>> Next Message:  RE: Knee deep in breeding Atratus - shadowguy, Tue Apr 2 16:21:27 2013