Baja California Amphibian and Reptile workshop held from May 6-10, 2024, at Rancho Meling

Baja California Amphibian and Reptile workshop held from May 6-10, 2024, at Rancho Meling

Baja California Amphibian and Reptile workshop held from May 6-10, 2024, at Rancho Meling

What an educational journey to Baja California! I attended the Baja California Amphibian and Reptile workshop held from May 6-10, 2024, at Rancho Meling. I would like to express my gratitude to The Wildlife Project and Fauna del Noroeste for organizing this enriching experience amidst the scenic landscapes of Sierra San Pedro Mártir in Ensenada, Baja California, México. As I entered this biodiverse haven, I anticipated an informative adventure that would enhance my understanding of herping and birding.

The workshop itinerary offered an exploration of various habitats, from riparian zones to the rugged Chaparral of Sierra San Pedro Martir, with a side trip to the coastal sand dunes at San Quintín. We encountered a diverse array of endemic legless and whiptails lizards, enhancing the excitement of our discoveries. Observing the local wildlife, including the Red-legged Frog (Rana draytonii) and the Arroyo Toad (Anaxyrus californicus), was both fascinating and educational. Our group recorded 168 frogs and 200 tadpoles. I was impressed by the abundance of Baja's ecosystems, complemented by delicious culinary cuisine, courtesy of Rancho Meling and the local chefs. What a wonderful experience!

With a rich history spanning over 115 years, the Meling Ranch was acquired by David Lang and his wife Sandra Meling in 2004, the ranch has been restored to provide a secure and inviting retreat for guests seeking an authentic Baja experience. Situated just a 30-minute drive from Sierra San Pedro Martir National Park, and 50 km from the renowned National Astronomical Observatory within the park, the ranch serves as an ideal basecamp for exploration. The ranch remains true to its roots as a working cattle ranch, with around a hundred head of cattle roaming freely across its vast 10,000-acre expanse.

During the workshop, I had the opportunity to adopt a red-legged frog, symbolizing my commitment to conservation initiatives aimed at preserving Baja's natural heritage. By supporting this Fauna del Noroeste program, I became a custodian of biodiversity, contributing to the protection of vital habitats and ecosystems. Departing Rancho Meling, I carried with me not only cherished memories but also a renewed sense of responsibility towards the preservation of our planet's precious natural resources. Please support the program by adopting a frog!


1. Baja California spiny lizard (Sceloporus zosteromus)

2. Granite spiny lizard (Sceloporus orcutti)

3. Zebra-tailed lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

4. Blainville's Horned lizard (Phrynosoma blainvillii)

5. Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)

6. Common Side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)

7. Black-tailed brush lizard (Urosaurus nigricaudus)

8. Baja California Leopard lizard (Gambelia copeii)

9. Orange-throated whiptail (Aspidoscelis hyperythra)

10. Baja California whiptail (Aspidoscelis burti)

11. Western whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris)

12. Southern alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata)

13. Baja California legless lizard (Anniella pulchra)

14. Southern California Legless lizard (Anniella stebbinsi)


15. Ring-necked snake (Diadophis punctatus)

16. California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae)

17. Long-nosed snake (Rhinocheilus lecontei)

18. Baja California coachwhip (Coluber fuliginosus)

19. Gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)

20. Two-striped garter snake (Thamnophis hammondii)

21. Western thread snake (Leptotyphlops humilis)

22. South Pacific rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus helleri)

23. Red diamond rattlesnake (Crotalus ruber)


24. Southwestern Pond turtle (Actinemys pallida)


25. Western toad (Anaxyrus boreas)

26. Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus)

27. California tree frog (Pseudacris cadaverina)

28. Baja California tree frog (Pseudacris hypochondriaca)

29. California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii)

30. Western spadefoot (Spea hammondii)

My species account reflects the workshop's educational value, documenting a range of fascinating creatures from the western toad to the red diamond rattlesnake. Among memorable avian encounters were sightings of the least bell's vireo, California gnatcatcher, and the majestic California condor. Witnessing these magnificent creatures in flight instilled in me a deeper appreciation for ongoing conservation efforts in this ecological sanctuary.

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