Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Galleries

Check out our new Invertebrates and Beaches galleries!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July Trapping Session

We have returned from our July trapping session in Mescalero with surprisingly low capture rates. Last month we were overwhelmed with over 100 snakes, but this month we didn’t even reach 50! Our snake captures were as follows:

- 18 Coachwhips
- 7 Glossy Snakes
- 5 Longnose Snakes
- 4 Gopher Snakes
- 4 Prairie Rattlesnakes
- 3 Western Hognoses
- 2 Milk Snakes
- 1 Checkered Garter Snake

The weather the first few days was rainy and overcast. However, by the end of the session the temperatures were reaching 105˚F. Fortunately, we had access to the Maljamar rest area because Matt contacted DOT, informing them of our situation and our dire need of shade! The rest area has been closed for a while because someone put a pipe bomb in one of the compost toilets, rendering the facilities useless. DOT informed us they are being repaired, and they hope to have the rest area open to the public in 4-6 weeks. Until then, it was very nice having our own private oasis to escape to in the heat of the day. Because it was so hot, we spent most of our afternoons relaxing in the shade of the trees and shelters, watching the Western kingbirds and Bullock’s orioles flit about. We did venture out to Bottomless Lakes State Park and Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge near Roswell for an afternoon. Nothing exciting to report for birds, although we did see a lot of dragonflies.

Amphibians were more abundant this month due to heavy rains shortly before we arrived. A small pond formed next to our campsite where toad and spadefoot tadpoles were plentiful, and dozens of toadlets emerged every day along with a few spadefoot metamorphs. We also encountered a Couch’s spadefoot and a plains spadefoot in the traps.

Other highlights included great plains skinks, hatchling lizards, yellow mud turtle, and tarantulas.

Overall, not the most exciting month for herps, but not too bad. I’m hoping for a tiger salamander next month!