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   Feb 12

Sonoran Sidewinder

As first seen from the car, a Sonoran sidewinder.
OK, Frank. This is my last night here (Tucson). Let’s find a sidewinder. It had been well over a decade since I had last sought a sidewinder of any subspecies, and probably 20 years since I had last seen the Sonoran form, Crotalus cerastes cercobombus.

Although a lingering spring cold front has already dropped evening temperatures into the low 70s making success doubtful, Frank agreed to the task, and by the time darkness had enveloped us we were well away from Tucson on some seldom travelled, sandy, desert roads.

All seen so far had been a single Tucson banded gecko, Coleonyx variegatus bogerti. Frank looked at me and shrugged. “It’s the weather” he said. “In good weather” (meaning warmer temps and lower barometric pressure) “we usually see much more.”

Almost time to turn around. Well, at least we had tried. Frank decided to go another mile or so…

And there it was! In an “S” in the middle of the road lay a small Sonoran sidewinder. Frank’s perseverance had brought my short stay in Tucson to fitting close. Photos were taken and we happily headed towards the bright lights of Tucson.

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