July 29, 2012
Today our goal is to capture reptiles and amphibians (also known as herps) in traps to help collect data about how bison affect the land compared to cattle, including how they affect the mentioned species above.
On our way up here we made a quick stop where we found a large green caterpillar. We all handled it using techniques that we learned from animal handling small animals at the zoo.
Later, when we were out setting up traps in order to capture these animals, we found a short horned lizard. It was about 3in long and was shedding its skin. We also each practiced handling the lizard. I have never seen one of those before. It was a very exciting experience for me.
We also found several frogs and toads out here. Some of these frogs are the size of our fingernails, whereas others are 3-4in in diameter. We took a walk tonight out a creek that is on the ranch and we listened to bullfrogs making their croaks. We also saw tadpoles and even a dragonfly molting its exoskeleton! Today was full of many new adventures for me.
Anyway, we are getting up at 5:40am tomorrow to go look at some birds in the area. That is all I have for now.
July 30, 2012
We’ve been having awesome luck with finding herps today. We caught a bull snake in one of the traps, and a yellow bellied racer, plus two more short horned lizards. We named the bull snake Princess Amelia Frankincense and the racer Hassalhoffa. Jordan saw the racer first and then we had to chase her down. CJ, our reptile guy, ended up jumping through the air to grab her, it was rather awesome.
We also went birding today, which was very difficult. I saw the turkey vultures but that was about it. I have no idea how you identify birds from so far away, but the people we were with could identify them based just on flight patterns. Personally, I prefer the reptiles.
Tonight, we are going to drive on the asphalt. The reptiles like to come out at night because the roads are warm.
July 31, 2012
Super exciting morning! We caught a lot of reptiles, three short horned lizards (apparently really common), a lesser earless lizard (fast little devil), and a lined snake (which was tiny). The lined snake was really cool because they apparently almost never come out in the open and are usually underground. It was awesome that we saw one!