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This blog is predominately about camera trapping in California. We camera trap to save our souls and to teach primary school students about biology and conservation. We will also touch on other camera trapping news and musings, sets from afar, mediocre herpetology, sucky birding, and other natural history discussions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2012 Wish List

Gila Monster
Photo by Flickr user Lon&Queta used under a Creative Commons License

Instead of a New Year's Resolution to lose weight, or drink less beer (those two may go hand in hand and should get done) I decided to go with something I am more likely to accomplish.

In 2012 I am going to check off some species on my herp life list.  I am going to set an ambitious goal for 4 of the top 10. Here are the top 10 that I actually have the possibility of checking off.  I am not going to get to Hellbender or Pseudotriton habitat this year. These are not in strict order so I reserve the right to switch the order around as I deem fit.

(1) California Mt Kingsnake: Pyromelana zonata (embarrassing I don't have this yet, I know)

(2) Santa Cruz Long-toe Salamander:  Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum

(3) Gila Monster: Heloderma suspectum

(4) Large-blotched Salamander, Ensatina eschscholtzii klauberi: I will be in San Diego in March if any one has tips on this guy.

(5) Black-headed Snake, Tantilla sp.: I am not picky and I will take any species.

(6) Speckled Rattlesnake: Crotalus mitchellii

(7) Regal Horned Lizard, Phrynosoma solare: Not sure if I will get far enough South but it is going on the list

(8) Black-tailed Rattlesnake: Crotalus molossus

(9) Western Spadefoot Toad: Spea hammondii

(10a) Variable Groundsnake, Sonora semiannulata semiannulata (Another mystifying miss)

(10b) Green Toad: Anaxyrus debilis

I cheated and went with 10a and 10b because I could not decide what to leave off the list, yet wanted to give myself a chance at getting 4. If forced I might narrow the list down by cutting one of the two Crotalus species. If I don't make it to Arizona as planned, this is going to be a really tough goal to reach.

Last year I got the biggies Ambystoma macrodactylum sigillatum, Chionactis occipitalis occipitalis,
and Anniella pulchra. Which reminds me that I never posted on either of these latter great finds. The Shovel-nose was found in the Mojave and the Legless lizard was found with the guidance of Randomtruth.

Two years ago, the biggest find was California Desert Tortoise. I went from seeing none to seeing both a male and a female, and a yearling.  Desert tortoises showed their faces again last year (this post  includes the pictures from 2010 as well as 2011).

What is on your 2012 wish list?  I will even accept modern dinosaurs (aka birds).


  1. That's a sweet list. I just pulled a beaut Anniella down in the Tehachapis, too. For la herps I want a zonata, an E. e. croceator, tantilla planiceps (of, course), and my new passion - to see a Charina umbratica in the Tehachapis.

    1. Awesome Anniella. Midly surprised that you pulled that in February in the Tehachapis no less. Similar oak woodland habitat to where we found them in SLO County?

    2. I was surprised too. It had rained and snowed the previous 2 days, and I was actually looking for sallys. This Anniella was in a rocky N-S canyon and the soil was granitic sand. There were yucca and oaks and foothill pine and a variety of shrubs around the area. I'll definitely be seeing if I can find more.

  2. Where for art thou, Heloderma! The Holy Grail of N.American herps!

    What sweet list.

    A friend of mine once had a molossus as a pet.......was a beautiful snake.

  3. Let's go with owls:

    Western Screech Owl

    Saw-whet Owl

    Spotted Owl

    1. We'll have to see if we can pull any of those in yuba gap this summer.

  4. I love having these target lists, really let's you focus on achiving those specific goals. Just got back, but if you haven't found the Santa Cruz Long-toed yet, I can help you with that at the end of the year.