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San Diego County Cache Critters


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Friday, 5/12/2006

I encountered this Coast Horned Lizard (Phyrsonoma coronatum) twice within a few feet of the same stretch of the Wilson Trail on Pinyon Ridge this afternoon. The two sightings were three hours apart and he had moved perhaps six feet in that time. This was a pretty large specimen, perhaps close to the maximum 4 inches for this species.

-GD

 

Coast Horned Lizard - far from the Coast

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A cooling off yawn?

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Friday, 5/12/2006

On my hike back to the trailhead after a hike/jog to Wilson Peak, a young California Whipsnake (Masticophus lateralis) crossed my path and quickly disappeared into a hole at the base of a cholla. At first glance, it appeared to be a garter snake in an extraordinarily uncharacteristic setting far from any water. At only about 24 inches in length, it was the right size and color and featured a yellow stripe on each side. As I was inspecting the hole it went into, I was pleased to see a head pop back out. Apparently, it was curious or this was only a convenient hiding spot, not its home. The lighting and background and movements of the Whipsnake's head were challenging for my autofocus camera but I was able to capture this portrait that shows the characteristic markings for the species.

 

Adult California Whipsnakes, sometimes called Striped Racers or the "chaparral snake", can reach nearly 50 inches in length. They eat frogs, lizards, snakes, small mammels, young birds, and insects. Spiny lizards (species Sceloporus) are an important part of their diet.

-GD

 

California Whipsnake

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I had a fun time yesterday doing Old 395 along the north side of Lake Hodges. There were plenty of these swallow-like birds nesting underneath the freeway bridge (east side):

054297a2-d235-4552-8710-d942d14b70b1.jpg

 

Here's a closer shot of one who's just left the nest:

f1a06f5c-945e-4f68-bef3-e6491110fe72.jpg

 

I saw plenty of other birds and small lizards, plus one little rabbit, but on the way back I also saw the back end of this snake (total length was probably 3-4ft):

d2fd63c1-da91-4218-8b7a-20a18a098552.jpg

 

Any formal identifications for me GD??

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I had a fun time yesterday doing Old 395 along the north side of Lake Hodges. There were plenty of these swallow-like birds nesting underneath the freeway bridge (east side):

054297a2-d235-4552-8710-d942d14b70b1.jpg

 

Here's a closer shot of one who's just left the nest:

f1a06f5c-945e-4f68-bef3-e6491110fe72.jpg

 

I saw plenty of other birds and small lizards, plus one little rabbit, but on the way back I also saw the back end of this snake (total length was probably 3-4ft):

d2fd63c1-da91-4218-8b7a-20a18a098552.jpg

 

Any formal identifications for me GD??

 

I'm not sure about the bird, but the snake is a California Kingsnake. It looks like a good sized one too. These snakes will actually eat a rattle snake, so they are your friends!

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I had a fun time yesterday doing Old 395 along the north side of Lake Hodges. There were plenty of these swallow-like birds nesting underneath the freeway bridge (east side):

054297a2-d235-4552-8710-d942d14b70b1.jpg

 

Here's a closer shot of one who's just left the nest:

f1a06f5c-945e-4f68-bef3-e6491110fe72.jpg

 

I saw plenty of other birds and small lizards, plus one little rabbit, but on the way back I also saw the back end of this snake (total length was probably 3-4ft):

d2fd63c1-da91-4218-8b7a-20a18a098552.jpg

 

Any formal identifications for me GD??

I agree with Cornerstone on both identifications. The California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula) is more characteristically black with light bands but brown is also a representative coloration. The swallow's plumage and the nest shape match an identification of Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). Thanks for sharing.

-GD

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Could anyone tell me how to post a picture inthe forums ( don't laugh..I'm not computer savy at all..I still print the pages) I have some cool animals that I need to share and get help identifying. r/ jodi..

 

First you have to upload the picture to a cache page or log or something. Then you need to copy the link to the picture on the site. Then, when you are in the forums, click on the tree icon on the toolbar above where you are typing your forum post and it will ask you for the link to the picture. Just paste the URL link to the picture in that box and, voila, the picture is embedded in the forum post.

 

Don't worry, this is all magic to me. How do it know???

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Could anyone tell me how to post a picture inthe forums ( don't laugh..I'm not computer savy at all..I still print the pages) I have some cool animals that I need to share and get help identifying. r/ jodi..

 

FlagMan gave you the short version but the devil is in the details. Here's the details. You're going to hate the details.

 

Posting Forum Photos

 

What is needed is a URL address for a photo that you either posted on a Geocaching.com cache page or uploaded to either “Your Avatar” or “Your Photo” gallery that’s located on your Account page.

 

Assuming that you haven’t already posted the photos in question then start by building up a photo collection under, for example, “Your Photo” gallery as follows.

 

Sign in to Geocaching.com and then select the “MY ACCOUNT” tab that’s on the Geocaching.com home page. Once there scroll down to the “Your Photo” section and click “Change/Edit.” Doing so will take you to the “Choose My Profile Photo” page where you will find an “upload a new image” link.

 

Clicking that link will take you to the “User Image Upload” page where you can browse and select one image for upload and then click the “Upload” button. Doing so will upload the image and display a thumbnail of the image.

 

Click inside the thumbnail image. Doing so will display the image in a new window. Right-click and copy the information displayed in the URL address bar at the top of this new window. That will copy the server URL of your image onto the Windows scratch pad.

 

Now go to the Forum Thread of interest and click the “Add Reply” button that’s below the last log entry of the thread. On the “Replying to …” page click the tiny “Insert Image” button that's located on the message toolbar. Doing so will bring up an “Explorer User Prompt” window that offers an entry box for the URL that you saved on the Windows scratch-pad.

 

Right-click the entry box and select “Paste” from the drop-down list. Now click “OK,” add comments as desired and then click the “Add Reply” button that’s below the editing area of the “Replying to …” window.

 

Tada! … that’s all there is to it for this method.

 

On the other hand if your photo has already been loaded onto a cache page then just view that photo full-sized and use the above procedure except start at the point where you save the URL to Windows scratch pad.

 

Yes, you must go through this mess for each and every photo posted to the Forum but remember, you get to use server storage space for a photo gallery at no more that the price of a Geocaching Premium Membership.

 

Posting Forum photos not for seesies.

 

Glad to help,

Harmon

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Clicking that link will take you to the "User Image Upload" page where you can browse and select one image for upload and then click the "Upload" button.

* Also when you get to this stage make a bookmark so the next time you upload a photo you can just zip right to this upload page! :ninja:

Edited by TrailGators
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Clicking that link will take you to the "User Image Upload" page where you can browse and select one image for upload and then click the "Upload" button.

* Also when you get to this stage make a bookmark so the next time you upload a photo you can just zip right to this upload page! :P

Or, if you use a tabbed browser, like FireFox or Opera, you can just leave that page open all the time as another tab . . . :P

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Clicking that link will take you to the "User Image Upload" page where you can browse and select one image for upload and then click the "Upload" button.

* Also when you get to this stage make a bookmark so the next time you upload a photo you can just zip right to this upload page! :P

Or, if you use a tabbed browser, like FireFox or Opera, you can just leave that page open all the time as another tab . . . :P

Or the new IE

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Clicking that link will take you to the "User Image Upload" page where you can browse and select one image for upload and then click the "Upload" button.

* Also when you get to this stage make a bookmark so the next time you upload a photo you can just zip right to this upload page! :P

Or, if you use a tabbed browser, like FireFox or Opera, you can just leave that page open all the time as another tab . . . :P

Or the new IE

Thanks for the tip Dave#5! I just downloaded IE7 beta! :P Edited by TrailGators
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Cool pictures!

 

I hiked McGinty with DaMoores today and first we saw this rosy boa. The interesting thing about this was the snake rolled in a ball down from the embankment next to the road and landed in the middle of the trail. It took it quite a while to warm up and unroll and finally move slowly off the road. It was fascninating. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the "ball," I just couldn't get my camera out fast enough.

 

39de8118-7e5e-4a5e-aa73-de405ff38a00.jpg

 

Then, after walking over to the "Peg Leg Mine Mine" cache, this guy rattled at us.

 

7a758ee5-fd8a-4f70-be46-c1cb9226c4ba.jpg

 

It was almost four feet long, quite fat around the middle, but it only had a few rattles.

 

7c9d5986-1462-42d0-8461-db49a22fb008.jpg

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Wow!!! Such awesome teachers!!! Thanks for the help..here goes. We spotted all these critters out in Sweetwater Sat. The only one we recognize is the rattlesnake that was mad at us. Any idea what the others are? Thanks, jodi and John

 

324ca9f0-6adf-411a-a614-7f5bb4536a2a.jpg

 

With the red shading on the horns on the head...my guess..Coastal Horned Lizard.

 

 

 

4ff5ec70-c7e6-489f-ab42-483b8b55bb71.jpg

 

Best guess...Southern Pacific Rattlesnake

 

 

 

6046be09-64ac-4814-aaca-26b905f09b80.jpg

 

Emu

 

12daf5f1-1e88-44da-b2ea-7260d31c4336.jpg

 

First guess is a Mountain Kingsnake. However, I need to go look at some pics of Sinoloan Milksnakes. If Don doesn't answer first, I'll post again if I get anything more conlcusive.

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Ok, is it too late to change my last ID? :)

 

Forget the kingsnake...now I pick Western Long Nose snake...

 

Don?

I concur with Cornerstone's identification. I have never seen one of these in the wild although they aren't noted as being rare or endangered. They are crepuscular and nocturnal so a daytime sighting is fairly unusual. Here is a descriptive link for Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei. Thanks for the new postings.

-GD

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Although not technically a cache critter, Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans babies are a seasonal feature at Team Gecko's home, with broods successfully raised over the back door to our garage three years in a row. This year's nest holds four babies. It is a real treat watching the adults flitting around our backyard catching insects to feed their youngsters.

-GD

 

The nest

26a0f353-c0aa-4813-9931-8b58101ed2ab.jpg

 

Class of 2006

2fca71a4-c926-47ce-a721-d93035c03ee7.jpg

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Ok, is it too late to change my last ID? :)

 

Forget the kingsnake...now I pick Western Long Nose snake...

 

Don?

I concur with Cornerstone's identification. I have never seen one of these in the wild although they aren't noted as being rare or endangered. They are crepuscular and nocturnal so a daytime sighting is fairly unusual. Here is a descriptive link for Rhinocheilus lecontei lecontei. Thanks for the new postings.

-GD

 

:D Thanks for the help identifying these critters. That little snake was about a foot long and only as big as my pinky finger. It was approaching dusk as we had been "exploring" for quite a while. How cool!!!! The lizard was really big..at least 6 inches.

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Gopher snake!

Correct! Now I get to be Don! :ph34r: Richard encountered a Gopher snake, Pituophis melanoleucus, among the largest and most widespread snakes of the North American deserts. The gopher snake is usually between 36 and 96 inches long. Gopher snakes range in color from cream-yellow to green-gray to tan, with large black, brown or reddish blotches on their back and smaller ones along their sides. Most specimens have a dark line between the eyes and another from behind the eyes to the angle of the jaw. :huh:

 

9177e99a-27ca-4871-9518-a99c1879edd1.jpg

Edited by TrailGators
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Gopher snake!

Correct! Now I get to be Don! :rolleyes: Richard encountered a Gopher snake, Pituophis melanoleucus, among the largest and most widespread snakes of the North American deserts. The gopher snake is usually between 36 and 96 inches long. Gopher snakes range in color from cream-yellow to green-gray to tan, with large black, brown or reddish blotches on their back and smaller ones along their sides. Most specimens have a dark line between the eyes and another from behind the eyes to the angle of the jaw. :P

Gopher snakes are indeed quite common. I had one memorable encounter with an adult last May, shortly after I drove back down from the Los Pinos fire lookout. As I was touring the Corral Canyon OHV area for the first time, I spotted a gopher snake at the side of the road. I parked and got out of the truck to encourage it to move out of the way to a safer location. As soon as I stopped, though, it headed straight for the left front wheel and started crawling through it. The rest of the tale is available on my log for Travelin' Turtles.

-Gecko Dad

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9:20 am.

I returned from the airport around dinnertime last night after a weekend visit to the Tucson/Oracle area to celebrate Grandma Gecko's 75th birthday. I hoped the baby Black Phoebe's would still be in the nest when I returned after three days away. They were - just barely. When I raised my camera up to take a photo, though, there was an eruption of fluttering and they all came flying out at once - perhaps on their first flights. Since none of them returned to the nest overnight, I was hopeful they would still be out and about in our yard. Here are a couple of shots of our newly "free range" young Phoebes taken this morning through our kitchen window.

-Gecko Dad

 

33578e09-4051-4ca5-8652-f6b6d4210dcb.jpg

 

1f37eb3d-8fc9-4545-afa2-26b44f895222.jpg

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Gopher snake!

Correct! Now I get to be Don! :rolleyes: Richard encountered a Gopher snake, Pituophis melanoleucus, among the largest and most widespread snakes of the North American deserts. The gopher snake is usually between 36 and 96 inches long. Gopher snakes range in color from cream-yellow to green-gray to tan, with large black, brown or reddish blotches on their back and smaller ones along their sides. Most specimens have a dark line between the eyes and another from behind the eyes to the angle of the jaw. :)

Gopher snakes are indeed quite common. I had one memorable encounter with an adult last May, shortly after I drove back down from the Los Pinos fire lookout. As I was touring the Corral Canyon OHV area for the first time, I spotted a gopher snake at the side of the road. I parked and got out of the truck to encourage it to move out of the way to a safer location. As soon as I stopped, though, it headed straight for the left front wheel and started crawling through it. The rest of the tale is available on my log for Travelin' Turtles.

-Gecko Dad

Funny story Don! Sounds like he wanted to go for some caching with you! :P

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Saturday, 5/27/2006

I was in the foothills north of Tucson on my way to Biosphere 2 Backdoor, when I spotted this Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus) in the middle of the road near the cache trailhead. I thought I would have time to take a few portrait shots of this remarkably colored snake until I saw how quickly it was moving - perhaps the fastest snake I have ever seen. This specimen was 5 1/2 to 6 feet long. Coachwhips in Arizona occur in "red" phase or "black" phase. I managed to capture the first shot with barely enough time to get in a second before it headed over to the road berm and disappeared down a rodent hole. Unlike the California Whipsnake I photographed on the Wilson Trail a couple of weeks ago, this much larger member of the Whipsnake genus did not reappear.

-Gecko Dad

 

Coachwhip

64b60e6f-7ab0-466c-873d-7070c8c1eed6.jpg

 

On the move

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Sunday, 5/28/2006

While running up the Charouleau Gap road on my way to Limbo Cache, I was treated to an overflight of a pair of Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura). Turkey Vultures are far and away the most common variety of New World Vultures with a range encompassing nearly all of the Continental U.S. and Mexico. Because I was on a rocky outcrop, I had an eye-level view of the pair and was able to watch them circling from above and below.

-Gecko Dad

 

Looking out over Canon del Oro near Catalina, Arizona

a2e7cfd1-75be-4514-b0c1-aae1b6dd524a.jpg

 

Over-the-shoulder view

a62caabf-3325-4208-a473-39bd84e339bf.jpg

 

Coming around again

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A magnificent overflight

efab3688-61f8-478e-bd77-ec7899324333.jpg

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Rattler giving me a serenade at the MTRP Fortuna saddle. It was sun-bathing on the trail and seemed very excited to see me. I appreciated the entertainment.

 

917e03c6-c6bd-4ddf-a660-e3ba4f233dec.jpg

 

How long? O, you know, eight or ten feet. Check out the evil eye it gave me and the shadow of the tongue.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Rattler giving me a serenade at the MTRP Fortuna saddle. It was sun-bathing on the trail and seemed very excited to see me. I appreciated the entertainment.

 

917e03c6-c6bd-4ddf-a660-e3ba4f233dec.jpg

 

How long? O, you know, eight or ten feet. Check out the evil eye it gave me and the shadow of the tongue.

 

Great shot, Harmon.

 

Hmmm. Ten feet you say. Must be a new mutation. Based on the dark chevrons and lacking the ringtail of a Red Diamond, this looks to be a light version of Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. That evil eye must have been good for at least 5 of those feet.

 

For those of you who caught the first episode of Animal Planet's Venom ER television series, you already know this species possesses some exceptionally potent venum. Keeping a respectful distance is always the best practice.

-GD

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Rattler giving me a serenade at the MTRP Fortuna saddle. It was sun-bathing on the trail and seemed very excited to see me. I appreciated the entertainment.

 

917e03c6-c6bd-4ddf-a660-e3ba4f233dec.jpg

 

How long? O, you know, eight or ten feet. Check out the evil eye it gave me and the shadow of the tongue.

 

Great shot, Harmon.

 

Hmmm. Ten feet you say. Must be a new mutation. Based on the dark chevrons and lacking the ringtail of a Red Diamond, this looks to be a light version of Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. That evil eye must have been good for at least 5 of those feet.

 

For those of you who caught the first episode of Animal Planet's Venom ER television series, you already know this species possesses some exceptionally potent venum. Keeping a respectful distance is always the best practice.

-GD

Thanks Don. Here it is in retreat and color corrected but still giving me the evil eye. It was quite aggressive when I approached along the trail, coiling when I stepped closer for the above shot but still eight or ten feet away.

 

8cdb4470-de9b-40fe-8db5-cb7c710acc45.jpg

 

Thinking it over tonight I'm sure it was a twelve footer, you know, more or less.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Yep, definitely a Southern Pacific. I wondered about the coloration in the first photo. Guess you were "fortunate" to encounter the all-time world record specimen - more or less.

-GD :(

Fortunate huh? Took me ten minutes to catch up with my hiking boots.

 

Well, o.k., so maybe it was only ten feet long. You know me, I wouldn't want to exaggerate. Still it seemed the same length as that ladder I fell off of when I broke my ankle last year.

 

As to the off-color maybe my camera was seeing things like I was after twice climbing down to and back up from that incredible Adrenalin cache.

 

I'll always wonder if the beautiful and serene Travelita would have showed up at my funeral had I fallen from that precarious perch. ... and would the rangers have fined me for landing off trail at the base of south Fortuna? These things I wonder.

 

Life is good ... an adrenalin twofer.

Edited by SD Rowdies
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Inquiry: met my first (identification forthcoming in a photo after I do laundry) snake today. I'm assuming that it is a rattlesnake BUT can I suggest that in addittion to identification in this forum that recommended advice be added. Eg: first aid.

 

I don't know about first aid...but if you get bit...Harmon said Ya'll gonna die!

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Inquiry: met my first (identification forthcoming in a photo after I do laundry) snake today. I'm assuming that it is a rattlesnake BUT can I suggest that in addittion to identification in this forum that recommended advice be added. Eg: first aid.

I don't know about first aid...but if you get bit...Harmon said Ya'll gonna die!

The good news: Y'all probably won't die...probably. :)

The bad news: It's gonna' hurt a lot! :laughing:

 

And for those that want "recommended advice" -- scroll back back to post #132 on this very thread...(or click here)

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On Memorial Day, Ms. LLOT and I were preparing to go out caching when we saw this Kingsnake out by our back fence:

92666d74-c6f5-4873-9abe-57715b71167c.jpg

While I was trying to take pictures of it, Ms. LLOT calls out "Look behind you!, Look behind you!" I turned around in time to see a tail disappear underneath some shadecloth. After further investigation, we found this guy:

caaeb67f-4ad5-4eaf-b66e-c3a409837532.jpg

We are tentatively identifying it as a gopher snake but the long nose makes us wonder about that ID...anyone?

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On Memorial Day, Ms. LLOT and I were preparing to go out caching when we saw this Kingsnake out by our back fence:

 

While I was trying to take pictures of it, Ms. LLOT calls out "Look behind you!, Look behind you!" I turned around in time to see a tail disappear underneath some shadecloth. After further investigation, we found this guy:

 

We are tentatively identifying it as a gopher snake but the long nose makes us wonder about that ID...anyone?

 

Yes, Gopher Snake. Congratulations on your twofer sighting.

-GD

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Road Runner spotted near GCVN2T in MTRP.

 

b37f1e01-79fb-49e7-80c3-5d3f2b29ca09.jpg

 

Without getting technical about it a Road Runner is the only indigenous cuckoo bird in continental U.S. as far as I know.

 

I have seen and heard the classic Cuckoo Bird in Korea and was thrilled to know that it's call is indeed "Cuckoo! Cuckoo!" as precisely mimicked by the clock of the same name.

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