Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More field updates from Southeast Colorado

Denise Culver and Jodie Bell from the CNHP Ecology Team conducted a biological inventory in late June on a private ranch in SE Colorado. The ranch was ~22,000 acres and housed several rare species. We documented beautiful examples of sand sage plant communities, prairie dog towns with burrowing owls, ponds teeming with painted turtles and Northern leopard frogs, the rare sandhill goosefoot (Chenopodium cycloides), and plains ragweed (Ambrosia linearis).

sand sage prairie
Nice example of a sand sage prairie with pink plains penstemon (Penstemon ambiguus).

lesser earless lizard
A lesser earless lizard (Holbrookia maculata) taking a rest to pose for us.

northen leopard frog
Northern leopard frog (Rana pipiens), a watchlisted species.

common nighthawk
Common nighthawks (Chordeiles minor) were certainly common along the fence posts.

Denise keying out a rare ragweed, Ambrosia linearis.

We were lucky enough to have Triston, a 7 year old ranch-hand, to assist us with dip-netting ponds and diving through mud chasing after leaping leopard frogs. Thanks Triston!

Thanks to Triston’s quick reflexes we catch a Northern leopard frog.

Jodie and Triston searching the wetlands for amphibians and reptiles.

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