Mother Nature is the artist. I just collect the memories…

Posts tagged “Uta stansburiana

Walking Around Out Back

Went for a walk through the desert out behind the house this afternoon.  No snakes, but bunches of lizards and birds…

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Backyard Bird Watching

Backyard bird watching.  It’s almost cliché.  People are hustlin’ and bustlin’ around this great big world of ours, and not leaving anytime to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Money is tight, job security is low, taxes and inflation continue growing…  It seems the only thing we have any ability to control anymore is how we respond to the rapidly changing stimuli.

That’s why I LOVE my backyard.  Let me explain…  I live in the High Desert.  My house is situated at about 5,000′, right on the feet of the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in eastern California.  I can look out my living room window and I have an unobstructed view for close to 10 miles, all the way up the western slope of the White Mountain peaks, which is the western most border of Nevada.  Now…there is a major highway running through there, and a multitude of high-power, high-tension lines zig-zagging back and forth.  Views are spectacular, but these ugly lines are very destructive to landscape compositions.  But the wildlife is incredible…

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It’s amazing how curative a backyard like mine can be.  I’m gonna tell you guys a little secret…I lost my job last week.  Yea, right in the middle of my visit with my son, I found out that I was no longer employed.  But it’s OK.  I had an incredible week visiting with my son, and my emotional well-being has never been more positive.  Even being unemployed and quickly running out of money, I can’t help but smile.  I walk out back, and it just happens.  Something will come through.  I have a lot of experience in a lot of fields.  I’ve done everything from flippin’ burgers and pouring drinks to antique restorations and hotel management.  I also found out about some pretty cool job openings in my area, including backcountry habitat recovery and wildlife rehabilitation, and not only would I LOVE to have either of those jobs…I’m fairly well qualified for both.  So something will come through.  Just gotta ride this wave for a few days…

Thanks for taking the time to stop and look!

Endangered Toads

The California Black Toad(Bufo exsul) exists only in a tiny chain of natural springs in Eastern California.  They are endemic to this area, and as a founding member of the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, it is a privilege to be able to work with the California Department of Fish and Game to protect and maintain the habitat for these animals.  Yesterday, we took a trip up there to check on the toads, and see how the breeding season was coming along…

Adults in amplex amid egg strings

Adult pair in amplex(mating)

We observed 4 or 5 pairs of adult toads in amplex, which means the male has mounted the female and breeding has begun, and we also heard several “release” calls, which is a signal that mating has finished and the male is releasing the female.  We also saw millions developing egg strings, and even a few tadpoles…

Egg Strings. Each tiny, black dot is a developing tadpole. The empty areas are from recently hatched tadpoles...

2 tiny tadpoles, likely only a day or two old...

After visiting the breeding habitat, we followed the spring system to a location known to be home to several toads to see how they were progressing.  We were pleasantly surprised to see a countless number of juvenile toads, likely hatched last year, hopping and swimming around, seemingly everywhere we looked.  To say there were thousands would be an understatement…

Juvie Black Toad

Juvie Black Toad

It was a real treat to see so many breeding adults peacefully using the breeding habitat that we, as a club, helped to restore and protect.  It was also a real treat to see that the implementation of a seasonal road closure, also initiated by the Eastern Sierra Herpetology Club, led to such a successful amount of breeding last season.  We were all smiles and giggles over our short-term successes.  Now we can begin long-term documentation and maintenance and hopefully watch this endangered, endemic population of toads thrive in their only native habitat.

Obviously, while out on these trips, we see other reptilian wildlife and even a few insects.  So here are a couple of “bonus shots” from the day…

No idea...any guesses on species out there?

Great Basin Fence Lizard--Sceloporus occidentalis longipes

Common Sideblotch--Uta stansburiana

Northern Desert Horned Lizard--Phrynosoma platyrhinos platyrhinos

I did find a very pretty and extremely healthy Mojave Patchnose snake(Salvadora hexalepis mojavensis) on the way up to the habitat, but I didn’t get a picture of it.  I got to share it with my friend Rusty who had never seen one before, though, so that’s good enough for me…

Thanks for coming along!

More from The Buttermilks

Here’s a few more shots from my quick venture in the Buttermilks the other day…

Summit of Mt. Tom

Common Sideblotch

Unexpected Sighting

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Buttermilk Walkabout

I went for a walk around the granite boulders of Buttermilk Country today.  It wasn’t a spectacular day to shoot, but the light was really nice for B&W, and there were a bunch of little lizards running about, so…it was worth it…

Paiute Crag, Checkered Demon, Emmerson Peak, Mount Humphries, Basin Mountain

Basin Mountain and Mt. Tom

Checkered Demon and Emmerson Peak

Common Sideblotch

Common Sideblotch

It was a good day.  I was out with my friend James, who is the only son of my best friend John that just passed away.  It was nice for the two of us to get out together and take some shots.

Thanks for taking the time to look!

Reptiles and Flowers

Went for a short walk in the desert behind my house, and found a few cool flowers and a neat little lizard…

Some pretty purple flowers. Anyone know?

No idea what these are. They look like octopus tentacles, to me...


Common Sideblotch--Uta stansburiana

California Kingsnake--Lampropeltis getula californiae

The Cali king was just a little thing.  We found him crawling out into the road on the way home from picking up my daughter. 

Thanks for taking the time to look!