|This is one over grown hay field we turned into a |
FITA archery range for the tournament.
|All the mosquitoes.... Well, they weren't quite as gratifying to my soul.|
As I cruise back to the hotel with both windows wide open to dry my sweat (my truck doesn't have AC), I think of the nature park I'll be visiting in a short time. We camped there a few years ago when I competed in compound archery at this very event, and there were magnificent piles of rubble and railroad tines for all sorts or reptiles, bugs, and amphibians to hide in! As I stroll up to our hotel room, I whip out my room key. I fumble with it for a while until I finally get the thing oriented correctly for the door swipe to read it. Once in the room, I drop my work pack, throw a few field guides into my field pack, fill my bottle, and I'm back at the door almost before it has time to latch itself back shut.
After my short trip across town, I roll through the camp ground before getting to the nature park. Those pesky 15 mph speed limits just seem so inconvenient. Especially when you're revving to track some dirt at the trail head and flip some cover. But alas, I finally arrive at the trail head and my feet feel a new wave of rejuvenated energy, even though I was standing on them all day.
|This is my co-worker holding a Lined-Snake I found as we were setting up the range|
While I stalk up to the first pile of rubble, I question why I've never flipped these hunks of concrete in search of reptiles before. Maybe I was not yet strong enough? Or just though of better things to do? but after the first rock I flip, I question my priorities earlier on in my life. It was a smaller chunk of rubble, probably only 20 pounds, but behold! A beautiful adult Northern Prairie Sink rested peacefully beneath this rock! But alas, I had been too ambitious in my approach to this rock flipping, and still had my camera safely stowed in my pack. As I contemplated taking my bag off before attempting to catch the little beauty, my new acquaintance wised up to my presents and made his move! As he dashed for the other rocks my hand flew after him! I was down to my knees and up to my elbow in concrete boulder when he flipped a U-turn and escaped into the depths of the rock pile, but not after leaving my knuckle scraped and blooded from the rocks.
I was floored! What luck! To find a lizard under the first rock is unheard of in the history of herping with Dylan. I was jazzed and ready to flip some more rocks. Now I had my camera and catching hands ready! But as all you hunters, fishermen, herpetologists, and any other fellow who seeks wildlife knows, you never know when you'll find the next critter. And in many cases you may not find anymore critters, which is what I was thinking after flipping the next 3/4 of this rock pile. And it occurs to me that the reason I didn't flip these rocks in my younger days, was probably because I had planned on not ruining my back before I turned 30. It also occurred to me that if I could just go Hulk whenever I wanted to, I would be the best Herpetologist that ever searched a rock pile!
|A big healthy looking Six-lined Racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata)gave me some great photos on a rock!|
|Long claws for traction on loose substrates|
|That long tail can come off if a predator|
grabs a hold of it. This is one of their main
|Like all reptiles, the Aspidoscelis sexlineata|
is an ectotherm and must regulate its body
temperature via the external environment.
The Six-lined Racerunner (Asidoscelis sexlineata) is a member of the Teiidae family. This family of lizards is commonly known as the whiptails, and it contains Parthenogenic and non-parthenogenic lizards. This term, Parthenogenic, means they can reproduce asexually, and even though the Asidoscelis genera are known to be quite parthenogenic, the Six-lined Racerunner here in Nebraska is not generally known to be parthenogenic like the Western Whiptail populations of the desert South West. But our Six-lined Racerunner is a diurnal lizard and very insectivorous, but for some reason it avoids eating beetles. Males tend to show a more vibrant blue coloration on their underbelly, especially during mating season. This particular Racerunner sported a very beautiful blue belly, and looked to be a nice big healthy male.
As I replaced the rock he was under back to it's original resting place, I lowered the lizard to the base of the rock. He began to squirm as he neared the ground and only a slight release of pressure from my thumb allowed the beautiful reptile the zip off to the stony safe place. Check out the sweet video of this catch here >>>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7q1ctrkzw8
A happy summer, a happy week of events, and a beautiful night for herping. What a great catch! and video too! They say the it's the small things in life that can be the some of the happiest things in life. And though lizards in Nebraska are generally pretty small compared to other animals, I'm a big support of the motto that says, it's the life in life that makes the most happiest things in life. And yes I just made that up, but honestly, the whole world, flora and fauna, macro and micro, all interacting in so many amazing ways, this is what rocks my world! and this beautiful creation is what I want to share with you!