After a couple hikes where I got skunked I returned to the road. This time leaving a little earlier and trying out habitat further inland. Interestingly it appears I hit a NorPac sweet spot as I found 5 rattlesnakes and then 2 DOR gophers and kings on more local roads on the way home. Stumbled upon a herd of Tule Elk to end a good night.
Just before sunset, I found the biggest rattlesnake I’ve cruised thus far. Probably over three feet with 6+ rattles it was a stunner.
Got some sweet headshots in the fading light.
The second rattlesnake was a little smaller and had a brilliant white coloration. It may have recently shed with its vibrant pattern.
Third one of the night was a young one plump with a fresh meal.
Fourth snake also a young one with a lump of a recent kill. Possibly a trend of snakes feeding on one side of the road and residing on the other side.
Poorly focused attempt at a scale shot.
Last rattlesnake of the night coiled against rocky bluffs.
The biggest surprise of the night were the Tule Elk. Endemic to California they are the smallest subspecies of Elk in North America. Estimations claim there are around 4,000 currently roaming around. Saw four calves in the herd.
Only one bull with antlers.