Arizona, August 2013

Roxanne, Ryan, and I made a trip out to southeast Arizona for few days in August 2013. We flew into Tucson and then drove to Douglas, which was our base for the next three days. Then we drove back to Tucson for the final two days.

The old open-pit copper mine in Bisbee. The copper industry was apparently a big deal in Bisbee and Douglas in earlier times. This mine reminded me a lot of the the open pit copper mine in Butte, Montana that I saw when I was a kid.

The lobby of the Gadsden Hotel we stayed at in Douglas, AZ. Impressive marble and Tiffany stained glass. The story goes that Pancho Villa rode his horse up this staircase back in the day...

After settling in, we went out cruising in the evening. The anurans were out in numbers.

Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius).

Mexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata).

Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius).

Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii).

Mexican Spadefoot (Spea multiplicata).

Couch's Spadefoot (Scaphiopus couchii).

Great Plains Toad (Anaxyrus cognatus).

We continued to see these anuran species throughout the trip, but few were photographed. This was the only live snake we saw the first night:

Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). A large and mellow individual. This would prove to be the most frequently observed snake species of the trip.

On the the next day.

The Arizona Poppy (Kallstroemia grandiflora).

Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus).

This valiant Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii) provided some amusement.

The same lizard as above, posed on a rock.

Another Yarrow's.

Roxanne and Ryan in the Chiricahua Mountains. This area experienced a significant fire two years ago. The wildflowers were amazing -- probably helped by the fire and all of the recent monsoon rains.

Chiricahua Mountains.

A small flash flood that we came across as the sun was setting. We saw a border patrol SUV drive through it without incident, so we proceeded onward. The spadefoot toads were calling like crazy here. Did I mention that it rained every day that we were in Arizona?

A wet Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus), as found on the road. As is my custom, I am using the local colloquial spelling, "Mohave", rather than "Mojave", since we are in Arizona...

Desert Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula splendida). This is the first time I've ever seen this snake, so I was pleased to see it.

Long-nosed Snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei).

We went for another hike in the mountains the next day.

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii).

Striped Plateau Lizard (Sceloporus virgatus).

Another one, shown as found, just as it was starting to rain.

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii).

Another Yarrow's.

Yarrow's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus jarrovii).

Now a little road cruising after dark:

A neonate Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus) -- note the button on its tail.

A Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) with a very large meal in its belly. Shown as found.

Mohave Rattlesnake (Crotalus scutulatus).

An interesting Walking Stick, about 4" long.

A large Sonoran Desert Toad (Incilius alvarius).

Roxanne and a Sonoran Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer affinis).

The next day we went for another hike. The lizard below is one species that I had seen previously, but not photographed. The photos below are nothing special, but I least I got some...

A Clark's Spiny Lizard (Sceloporus clarkii), as found.

The same lizard, after it ran up the tree a bit.

Next we drove to Tucson, where we stayed at a bed and breakfast for a couple of days. We did a little road cruising in the evening.

A neonate Western Diamond-backed Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox), about 12" long. We saw around a dozen of these little guys on the trip.

Same neonate atrox.


Night Snake (Hypsiglena sp.).

We did some hiking the following morning.

Roxanne and a Saguaro Cactus in the early morning sun. Seeing some Saguaros was one of her goals for the trip.

A female and male Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii).

A Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides) on hot asphalt. It seems to have a regenerated tail that decided to grow back in the color black.

Another Zebra-tailed Lizard.

Sonoran desert habitat.


Although I had encountered Greater Earless Lizards (Cophosaurus texanus) before, I had only seen a few, and had never taken any decent photos of them. This was the first time that I had seen them in numbers. One thing that I noticed is that they are much easier to approach than the similar Zebra-tailed Lizard.

A large male Greater Earless Lizard, as first observed.

It quickly turned around, extended its throat fan, and gave me some push-ups.

One more shot of the same lizard.

Another one lounging in the shade.

The shade was popular, as it was getting pretty hot.

By this point I had plenty of photos of them, but how could I pass this by?

Same lizard.

A stream in the desert.

There were hundreds of Red-spotted Toad (Anaxyrus punctatus) metamorphs here. Here's a crummy photo of one -- about the size of a finger nail. I was too lazy to put on my macro lens...

A Checkered Gartersnake (Thamnophis marcianus) was seen cruising in the shallows here.

A Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) spotted under the eaves of a building.

A Tiger Rattlesnake (Crotalus tigris), as spotted on the road after dark.

Black-tailed Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus).

A mommy skunk with two young'uns. Not sure what kind. Three skunk butts aimed at us was sufficient to deter further investigation...

Another Tiger Rattlesnake.

One last Tiger Rattlesnake. Not quite the last snake of the trip -- we saw one more neonate atrox on the drive out.