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Old 07-28-14, 08:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

First off, a couple disclaimers: Not everything I post here with be strictly herps or necessarily in my actual backyard. Most will be herp related or at least non-herp finds while herping. Snakes are my passion but I love all kinds of wildlife and even plants so all sorts of things will show up here. I'll try to ID critters by common name at least, I'm not to big on scientific names and when I do use scientific names it's usually just the genius. I do know the scientific names for venomous reptiles in my area for obvious reasons but that's about it. I'm pretty good with local snakes and lizards but amphibians and other critters I may not be able to properly ID. Y'all feel free to let me know if I mislabel anything (or don't label it at all) and I'll fix it and give credit where due. I'll probably ask for help pretty often really.

My house sits on a little five acre chunk of land that is mostly covered with brush. I've got trails cut all through it, it's my own little nature preserve. There is a reasonable variety of wildlife present or at least occasionally passing though. The only thing really missing is the water loving critters. One of these days I'm going to rent a backhoe and dig out a pond. A few years ago I had the foolhardy idea I would dig out a pond by hand. I dug out a twenty by ten foot section but only about a foot deep. That clay is tough stuff lol. I will note the general location of the finds if they are not in my backyard (at one of the local lakes, neighbors property, etc.). I bought my first camera just six months ago and do not claim to be a photographer, amateur or otherwise. But I have been very much enjoying learning the basics. Hopefully one of these days I'll get something nicer than a canon powershot lol. So, for your entertainment and my own recollection, I'll document my backyard herping adventures here.

To set the stage a bit here are few "habitat shots" from my backyard.



Some old rotting wood. Bit of tin in there too. Texas Brown Snake heaven.



This is Texas so naturally cactus is found at random.



Some junk left by the previous owners. That's an old washer in the middle there lol. There are a few old junk piles on the property and I pretty sure a lot of it was dumped by people in the neighborhood behind my land. Most of it makes for good flippable habitat so I'm not going to complain.



Concrete rubble from some sort of building demolished long ago.



One of my tin spots.



This friendly little Texas Rat Snake hopes y'all come back to visit. Much more to come.
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Old 07-28-14, 09:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Nice shot of the Texas Rat. I have one in my collection with that attitude.

Haven't been down to Victoria in a few years, really need to get back down there.
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Old 07-28-14, 10:48 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Thanks. Texas Rats sure can be a handful but at least for the most part they seem to calm down quite a bit age, although most I've handled are still nippy even as adults. I have worked with a few who never offered to bite and many who seemed determined to rip my fingers off lol. This particular little guy made a concerted effort to remove a few of my fingers. A while back I flipped a board and found an adult Texas Rat and a Ribbon Snake. The Texas Rat was closest so I grabbed it with my left hand and then lunged after the Ribbon. The Ribbon vanished into the grass so I turned my attention back to the Texas Rat who, to my dismay, had blood running down its neck. Horrified that I had injured the animal I searched for the wound but found nothing. Then I realized that the Snake had bitten my thumb and I was bleeding all over the snake. I've never been so happy see my own blood lol.
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Old 07-29-14, 09:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Awesome! I jealous! I would love to have some land like that! Cool Texas Rat!
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Old 07-29-14, 06:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Thanks Steve, nothing like having decent herping territory literally in your own backyard. One day I'd like to have a few hundred acres with access to water but that's probably a couple decades down the road. Pinching pennies in the meantime. That little Texas Rat was a fireball, loved to bite lol.
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Old 07-29-14, 06:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Quote:
Originally Posted by FWK View Post
Thanks Steve, nothing like having decent herping territory literally in your own backyard. One day I'd like to have a few hundred acres with access to water but that's probably a couple decades down the road. Pinching pennies in the meantime. That little Texas Rat was a fireball, loved to bite lol.
They are cool snakes for sure. The last one I found tried to eat me lol
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Old 07-29-14, 07:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Mines a sub adult, probably 3 to 4 feet in length and I swear thinks it's an elapid. Lots a bluffs, and a few successful strikes every now and again.

One of my favorites in my oldest ion to work with.
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Old 07-29-14, 08:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Love that pic of the rat snake, looks like he wants to give you a kiss, haha
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Old 07-30-14, 03:20 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Gorgeous terrain! I can't wait to see what else you post!
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Old 07-30-14, 04:21 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Damn, and all i can find if i'm lucky is some amphibians.. That last picture is awesome!
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Old 07-30-14, 07:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: FW's backyard herping adventures (pic heavy)

Thanks y'all.
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Old 08-03-14, 11:40 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

Warning! Major picture dump incoming. Seriously, a few dozen pictures coming your way. You have been warned. It will take me a while to get them all up so bear with me.
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Old 08-03-14, 11:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

First up, the exoskeleton critters.



Dragonflies! I love dragonflies. They come in an incredible array of colors and patterns and they are so photogenic, always posing so beautifully for the camera. I really think this picture could have been wallpaper worthy had it been taken with a better camera. My little powershot is capable of up to 30x optical zoom but the image quality really goes out the window the more zoom I use.



Another Dragonfly on on a log.



Hanging from a twig in a bush next to the house.



To aphids Godzilla is real. Lady Bug!



It's a big scary world from a beetles point of view. Love the deep purple trim on these guys.
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Old 08-03-14, 11:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.



David and Goliath. Somehow I don't think Goliath had much of a chance.



Lots of Black Widows in this part of the world. She's a momma. Beautiful critters. Look, but don't touch.



Cicada! These guys make an astonishing amount of noise 24 hours a day in the summer. I've lived in south Texas my whole life and I still marvel at just how much noise these guys make.



Giant freaking spiny grasshoppers! This is the only critter in this Spring/Early summer backyard herping report that was not found on my property. A friend found it at work and I took it home to snap some pics. It had an awesome threat display that I just couldn't catch on camera. If I poked it in the face with my finger it would flare up its stubby little wings and rear back to lift its front legs in the air into some sort of crazy kung fu pose. It had some big mandibles so it really was a bit intimidating lol.



Tons of these little guys around here, Striped Bark Scorpions. I've been stung by a few of these. It's a strange sensation, almost like a mild localized electric shock. Starts as a sharp zing and fades into a tingling or even numbness that can linger for days. Not as painful as you'd think, I'll take a hit from one of these over a paper wasp any day.
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Old 08-03-14, 11:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Spring/Early summer 2014 backyard herping report.

Alright, I know y'all are here to see some herps so I... BIRD!!



Hmm, some sort of falcon? Birders help me out with an ID here. As long as we are on the subject of birds...



This is another one I haven't been able to ID. My initial thought was some sort of warbler or flycatcher but google searches have not resulted in a match so I'll leave it up to y'all. Whatever they are I had a lot of fun watching them. This picture was taken as I hid behind a bush. I had seen this nest the day before and decided to see if I could sneak in close enough to get a shot of one of the adults when they came in to feed the little one. I hid behind a bush for a while and watched both of the adults come and go but failed to get a descent picture so I walked up to the nest and took a couple shots of the little one while the adults were away. One of those shots is below. Then I sat down behind a much closer bush and waited. Before long one of them swooped in and fed the hatchling. Before taking off again it paused for a moment on the twig, finally affording me an opportunity to get a shot. I hit the shutter button and took a rapid series of pictures. This was the last shot, the shot that captured the moment the bird spotted me and began to screech at me. It squawked until its mate showed up and joined in complaining at me. I got up and walked away. And they followed lol. A good thirty minutes they followed me all around my property screeching at me from the trees.



The little one mentioned above.



The same hatchling just three days later. Almost ready to leave the nest.
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