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Old 08-03-14, 12:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



Every year a pair of Cardinals nest on my front porch.



Four big eggs.



And now four big hungry mouths! Mom and Dad must be busy.



The day before they fledged. Now that's a full house.



The next day I'm making breakfast when I hear a commotion on the front porch. All four fledglings are out of the nest! They are scattered everywhere. Mom and Dad are trying to gather them in a bush around the side of the house. You can see the tail feathers are the last to develop.



Dad leading a little one to safety.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:12 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



Turkey Vulture! On the ground, hiding under a bush! Can only mean one thing.



Turkey Vulture egg!



This picture didn't turn out great but it is NOT easy to get this close to a brooding Turkey Vulture. I had made a couple attempts in the weeks before only to have her take off long before I got close. So on this occasion I hit the ground behind another bush some twenty yards out and belly crawled through the brush until I reached her front door. She didn't know I was coming until it was to late and I was basically cutting off her only way out of the briar patch she was brooding in. She looked at me for a moment then hid her head. I wish she had looked at me for just a moment longer because I lit her up with flash for the next shot and it came out much better. Oh well. I didn't try to get this close to her again because I didn't want to stress her out to much.



I checked on her from a distance just about every day and about two and a half weeks after taking her close-ups I found this little guy. A day old at best.



As I crawled a bit closer he turned to face me and hissed. So ugly it's cute!



But the little one was sleepy and his head began to droop...



And droop until plop! He just couldn't hold it up anymore. Absolutely adorable.



About ten days old here and growing very fast. He is giving me a full threat display here. Arching his back and hanging his head and fuzzy little wings low, hissing all the while.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:18 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

How about some warm and fuzzy critters?



I found a rather suspect hole in the ground one day. It went down about a foot then turned a disappeared from view. I stuck my camera down the hole and hit the shutter. When I looked at the picture I saw the beady little eyes of an Opossum looking back at me!



A squirrel snoozes in a tree on a very hot south Texas afternoon.



Three fawns! A terrible picture I know, it was pitch black and the on board flash on my little camera just wasn't strong enough to light up the whole yard. But they are somewhat visible. White-Tailed Deer come through my backyard most every night.



Bunnies! Everybody loves bunnies. Tons of Cottontails around here.



Om nom nom. Tasty grass.



I think it sees me.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

Alright alright, it is about time for Herps!



Frogs and toads are pretty uncommon on my land so I get excited whenever I find one. I have some Texas holey rock in my flower beds that I flip regularly. Every now and again I find some sort of frog under them but in this case I found a frog in the rock! I really have no clue what species it is but there you have it. I was using a flashlight to put some light on it through a hole in front of the frog and snapped the shot from the side. The frog immediately backed deeper into the hole and out of sight.



This little thing was found under the holey rock. Again really not sure as to the species. I had quite a bit of fun with him. He was hoping all over the place, did not want to sit still and have his picture taken. A couple bloopers are below.



Well I got most of him...



This one literally made me lol.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:31 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



In the spring there is a male Green Anole for every wall and corner of my house. This one has claimed the fence next to my garage door.



And this one thinks my A/C unit is his castle.



I tried to sneak up for a closer shot but he saw me coming.



And another sleeping in a bush. Such graceful critters.



Little Brown Skink. These are extremely common around here. It is not unusual to find one or two under just about every rock, log, tin, or whatever else I happen flip.



Lots of Texas Spiny Lizard around here too but they are much harder to catch. Very alert and very fast. This guy ran along the walls of my house as easily as I would run across an open field.



And another running up a tree. You can just see the faint orange and blue striping on its belly.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:39 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

SSNAKESS!!



Texas Brown Snake. I love these little guys but they can be hard to find. It is weird, on my property I find Texas Brown Snakes but no Rough Earth Snakes. Were I work, just some twelve miles away, I find Rough Earth Snakes but no Texas Brown Snakes. Natural light here.



Natural light close up.



I love this shot. In situ at night with flash.



Texas Blind Snake! I usually see only a few of these a year, almost always after a heavy rain. I tried to get a natural looking shot of this guy but he was straight up freaking out as long as he wasn't under some sort of cover. I was worried he was going to get hurt so I gave up and put him in a little clear container so I could get a shot of him. The penny was just for size reference.



Rough Green Snake. There is a very strong population of these guys in my backyard. Easily one of the most common herps in my yard. And this is the easiest way to find them, sleeping in a bush after dark. During the warmer months I see at least a half dozen on any given night, it is not uncommon to see as many as a couple dozen on a good night.



They are often very curious about the camera, particularly if I've been handling insects.



A natural light close up. This guy fell out of a tree right in front of me onto a piece of tin with a surprisingly loud BONG! I think he wanted his picture taken.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:44 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



This was the first Texas Rat Snake of the year. I flipped him under that tin in the background. He was a joy to work with, never offered to bite or become defensive. He was very curious about the camera and tried to climb on my head. He was so eager to check out the camera I couldn't really get a good shot of him lol. Look at those big eyes! Those big, slightly out of focus eyes!



Posing on the tin I found him under. Still a bit out of focus. I only had the camera a few weeks at this point and I was trying to learn the basics of manual mode.



Close up of his scales. You can see hints of orange skin beneath the scales.



This is the same angry little Texas Rat Snake that is in the original post. I put him under my hat for a moment trying to calm him down but as you can see he still has his jaw spread. I found him about ten feet up a tree shortly before dusk. The sun is setting in the background and it is getting pretty dim.



Here he is again but with flash to bring out his colors. I'm a bit disappointed with the Rat Snake finds this year, normally I'll see at least five or six on my property by June but this year has been pretty lean with just two. Hopefully the rest of the year will be better.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:48 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



Schott's Whipsnake! 58 inches of classic Whipsnake attitude. It chewed on my hand constantly but I was so happy to have it in hand I didn't care. I don't see to many of these and when I do see them unless I find them in a wide open area so I can run them down or if I manage to sneak up on them they are next to impossible to catch. Flipping one is like finding gold. This one I was lucky enough to sneak up on. I spotted it from a good thirty yards away as it was crossing a trail. I froze until it stuck its head into a patch of grass. I stepped as lightly as I could until I was almost within striking distance when it suddenly shot into the brush. I think it felt my heart pounding. I dove after it and snagged it by the tail. It whipped around and came at my face but got hung on a twig. By the time it untangled itself enough to take a shot at my face I was back on my feet and had it under control. This is a close up with flash, I love its eye.



Natural light. Was getting pretty late, the sun is setting off to the right were the snake is looking.



I tried to get it to calm down enough for some sort of body shot but it just wasn't having it so I put it in an empty ice chest for a couple minutes until it coiled up. I think the white background worked out alright.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



Ah, I'd recognize that friendly face anywhere. This is one whose scientific name I do have committed to memory. Crotalus atrox, the world famous Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. Whats more Texan than a Rattlesnake? Some people even call them Texas Rattlesnakes. I approve.



A couple natural light shots. Right side.



Left side. There is an photo bomber in this shot that cracked me up. Can you see it? It's a very large Robber Fly.



And a bit of flash to bring out the pattern on the side of its head.



It really didn't want to pose for the camera. It hardly got defensive, only rattled when I pinned its head to pick it up and never did go into that classic Rattlesnake threat display. Mostly it just tried to run. These are very rare finds on my land, I was disappointed it wouldn't put on a better show. Just a thirty minute drive away are saltgrass tidelands on the gulf coast that is home to an astonishingly dense population of these guys. Hopefully I'll get a chance to run down there soon and see if I can't get some better shots.
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Old 08-03-14, 12:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

And finally, I've posted these two shots before but they are a part of this report so to have everything in one place I'll include them.



The egg laying Texas Spiny Lizard.



And the Rough Green Snake photo bombing the shedding Green Anole.

I hope y'all enjoyed checking out this report, I know I had a blast working with the critters to put it together. Thanks for looking.
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Old 08-03-14, 02:06 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

OHMYGAWD turkey vulture hatchliiiiiiiiing!! Amazing shots all around... how wonderful to live in such a place! Your photos make me miss my hometown and its abundant wildlife.
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Old 08-03-14, 04:22 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Now I'm really jealous FW! Awesome place and animals! Thanks for sharing!!
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Old 08-03-14, 06:33 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Great photos FWK. Very impressive captures.
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Old 08-03-14, 08:56 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Awesome pictures! Too many to name the ones I liked best, haha.
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Old 08-04-14, 01:47 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Thanks, glad y'all like them.
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