Week 10 found 3 of us back from a 2-week trip to the Southern Plains. While one crew took a break for a few days, the other crew helped catch up on database management - a critically-important task for our large field effort and a necessary skill for the crews to have in developing as professionals. One of the crews will sample a State Wildlife Area in northeastern Colorado that we just added to the list of survey sites, and Devin & Danny headed to the Otero County Colorado PARC field trip and some surveys on Comanche National Grassland.
Other plans in progress: we are working on access to new sites in Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma for the coming weeks... stay tuned! Also working to get final edits done on the smartphone app for the project, and an e-mail for the Reptile Monitor volunteers.
Beth - "We surveyed a new (for the project) State Wildlife Area that had suitable habitat for Plains Hog-nosed Snakes; sandy soils, sparse vegetation, open prairie. Our hopes were high even for the short amount of time that we would be surveying the area and we actually found a young specimen, however, it was dead on a dirt road. A live Plains Hog-nosed Snake is still on my list for the summer."
Devin - "This weekend Danny and I met up with the folks from Colorado PARC for one of their field herping expeditions in Otero county. Going out into the field with these guys was a blast, everyone really knew their stuff and were startlingly good at finding critters. A few new species for me from this trip included a Lined Snake, a Glossy Snake, and some Plains Leopard Frogs! On Saturday Danny and I went off on our own to do some surveys, and right before we entered one of our survey plots we spotted an Eastern Collared Lizard. We took the opportunity to get some good pictures since it was posing for us, and at one point it even ran right up to us to check us out!"
Jake - "It can be truly awe-inspiring how suddenly and violently conditions can change on the eastern plains. One minute, sunny blue skies are shining down, and the next, the sky is filled with dark clouds and lightning is flashing all around. We had a particularly incredible experience last Thursday night, as a severe thunderstorm developed to the south of us and lit up the sky for several hours. As dangerous as it can be, from a safe distance these storms provide quite the spectacle."