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MikeDOTB

Aurora (july 3rd) And Green Mill Run (july 4)

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MikeDOTB

Hello everyone, first actual trip report. Just a warning I tend to be a little long winded when it comes to these things so bear with me.

The plan was to meet Irradiatus in Aurora on July third. I was going to try to get there just after sun up but I stayed up a little too late putting new screening on my sifter since it had been shredded the last weekend I used it. So when I did finally manage to get there (almost eleven) I drove around to all the piles to see if Irradiatus was there, I didnt see him. Although I did see a screen that looked like it was made for creek/river/beach screening and not sand screening and a shovel next to a hole in one of the piles with nobody around it. After I overheard a gentleman and lady talking about GMR I casually strolled over and struck up a conversation. The gentleman showed me his GMR finds from the day before and we talked for a bit. Then he mentioned a guy was here a little while ago and was supposed to meet someone here but he hadnt shown up yet, and wasnt getting a cell phone signal so he went off to try to contact him. Well that answered the question of where Irradiatus (AKA Daniel) was. And a couple minutes later he pulled back into the parking lot. We searched and screened at the piles all day without stopping until dark. I didnt do too bad seeing as I was using a 1/2 inch screen so most of the small teeth were falling through. Daniel who was using a 1/4" screen had a field day and must have found over 1200 teeth. Which beat my couple hundred pretty badly. But its always great finding a lot of teeth. I managed to find a couple megs the largest being 1 1/3" and along with most of my other finds I gave them to Daniel. I did keep my largest hemipristis upper that I found due to I hardly ever find them whole and it was pretty big coming in at 1 3/8" which was great. I also managed some really nice Mako's the largest being a hair under 2". But I did find a couple smaller mako's under an inch which were in perfect condition. The roots were perfectly formed and were just awesome. Definitely for the display case. Just before dark when we were finishing up I decided to collapse the walls of the giant hole I dug to see if anything would just drop down so Daniel Watched as I jumped around on top of the pile and filled in the sides. We started picking through it a little and right next to Daniel with a little clump of dirt dropped the largest tooth of the day, a very wide 2" mako. Which was his biggest tooth and it was in great condition. Maybe I should wait and let him talk about his finds.

Well, we would have continued searching due to it being such a hard thing to stop but unfortunately neither of us brought night vision goggles. LOL. So we packed it up and headed up to Greenville.

The next day we headed for that wonderful smelling creek known as Green Mill Run. It was my first time I actually saw Bass swimming around in the creek. In fact there were a lot of fish swimming around in the creek today that I noticed, of course minnows everywhere, but every time I looked up I saw another sunfish/bluegill swimming by, a bunch of bass, both of us at different spots in the creek managed to see freshwater eels swimming around. Those things are pretty cool to see swimming around. At least they werent snakes LOL.

Anyways, we got started and I had never had such a slow day at GMR. I wasnt finding anything. I was a little dissapointed for awhile and kept switching spots to hopefully find something. Finally after about my third spot I found a 1 1/2" Great White Blade (Carcharodon Carcharias) with the root busted. A real bummer. But still an awesome blade, I gave that to Daniel and kept screening away. Again and again I kept finding nothing so finally I moved back to a spot where I had seen many many people search before but as I walked past it I felt gravel under my feet and the urge was too hard to pass up so I filled up my screen with gravel from random spots all over that little area. After rinsing out some sticks and leaves and all the sand and pebbles right in the middle of the screen was my first good find of the day. A nice big great white with just a little wear on the root!

Remembering my camera (Thanks Auspex) and which I also dared to take it into the creek with me which I usually dont do in fear of dropping it into the water, or falling into the water etc I took a couple screen shots of it in screen. I sat down for a minute pretty happy with the find because it was definitely a trip if not month maker for me and sat there wishing I had brought something to measure it with. I always forget. I even got a calvert cliffs museum ruler that I was going to carry everywhere with me while fossil hunting to do that, even though I lost it and dont know where I put it. As I was sitting there looking at the tooth I looked at my screen, then back at the tooth, then screen, and then I felt pretty dumb. I had been doing this for six months and didnt even think about it. 1/2 INCH SCREENING. DUH. Hold the tooth up to the screen and count the squares. I cant believe I didnt think of that before. Well, I measured it screen style and it was 2 1/4" long. Not too shabby. Definitely one of my larger great whites!

Well after that we packed up from that spot and headed upstream to a couple other spots. We at first tried just walking up the stream but after a spider incident, a random creature brushing up against daniels leg underwater incident and some deep water we decided to scale the banks with all our gear including a very heavy cooler and just take the trail. We kept going and re-entered the creek about 300 yards up and continued upstream. The goal was to get to a spot with a lot of shell layer and hopefully maybe find some GMR echinoids. Well that didnt work out so well, but there were A LOT of other kinds of shells to collect. But we didnt get all the way up there without doing a screen or two here or there and I couldnt help but stop at a spot where I found a lot of broken Meg pieces before. So we screened there for a bit. On filling up my second or third screen I brought the shovel out of the water covered in whale bones, rocks and mud and sitting right on top I saw something I didnt expect to see at that spot, a shark tooth blade, and not just a blade a big one, ending with a big root. Now it was on it side sticking out so I could only see part of it, but I just stared and hoped and carefully brought the shovel to the screen, rested the shovel on the screen as I plucked the tooth out of the sand and mud and dumped the remainder into the screen. I dropped the shovel into the creek and rinsed off the sediment off the tooth and uttered "Holy Cow"! Daniel immediately asked, "What"?. And I walked over with the large tooth in my hand. It was another great white. A big one. With a perfect root, a perfect blade, nothing missing, great serrations, decent coloring, no wear on it, and I handed it too him. This was the first day I ever found two Great Whites over 2" and whole in a day before. I was ecstatic! He handed it back to me and I walked over to my screen to use my recently found measuring method. 2 1/2 inches! An awesome find. I couldnt be any happier. Not bad for only finding 20ish teeth in five hours. I always say I would take quality over quantity! Feeling pretty good about the spot I was in I told Daniel to start digging in it while I took a break and hopefully he would have some luck. I dont remember if it was his first or second screen there but he pulled out an awesome Mako, A very wide tooth specimen with just a nick out of the root. An awesome find. I had never seen a Mako in that shape before. It was easily over 1 1/2 inches and a very jet black color.

We continued up to the shell layer area and Daniel picked up some pretty sweet shells. I didnt find anything too good and I was more hoping to see if there were any shark teeth mixed in. Unfortunately I didnt see any. Up in that area is where Daniel saw an Eel as it was hunting for minnows. After that we hoofed it overland back to the cars, loaded up mine and drove downstream to try a different area.

We got down to Green Springs park and jumped back into the creek. For awhile I didnt find anything again, but that isnt uncommon since I was using a 1/2" screen. I used to use a 1/4" screen and would find hundreds of smaller teeth but after awhile I got so many I just decided to try to go through more material for the slightly larger finds and switched to the 1/2". Well Daniel struck first with another big and great condition Mako.

A little upstream from Daniel I saw a large piece of plywood laying in the water. The kid in me all the sudden took over and told me to lift it up to see what kind of critters were under it. So I walked over and slowly lifted it up expecting maybe a frog or crayfish or something, thats when this big green coil came splashing out of the water and I am thinking snake but it kept moving and definitely not like a snake, so I started following it slowly as it swam around looking for a place to get out of view and realized pretty quickly it was another eel. Eels are pretty cool to see swimming around. It was a very cool green color and just sawm around from rock to rock to log etc trying to find a new hideout. After a little while I walked away and put the board back the way it was when I lifted it up so whatever else was living under there could come back to it and continue my quest to find some shark teeth.

After awhile I had gotten farther upstream and just below a log stretching out in the water I decided to try on the downstream side of it. I scooped up and filled my screen, rinsed it out and since the water was very shallow I wasnt able to rinse out the leaves or sticks. So I held the screen up in the air and just looked to see if I could see anything just on top. At first I didnt see anything but going back through and just barely visible between a couple larger rocks I saw a blade. Not a big one, but I could tell it was a great white. I put the screen down and pulled out an awesoe condition lower great white. It was 1 1/8" long and in perfect condition. I walked back downstream to show it to Daniel. After grabbing a drink I headed back up and continued to look through the screen. Here is where I felt foolish. I must have missed looking through the first time, and it was probably under a leaf or something but there was another Great White. This one a little larger and wider. It was 1 1/4" long and just had one chip out of the root missing. I was pretty stoked with finding 2 GW's in one screen for the first time in a long time. I put it in my tooth case and kept looking and right near that was a big mako. How in the world did I miss these the first time I looked through. The Mako was in great condition except for a chunk missing out of the root. It was 1 7/8" long and again jet black. What an awesome screen!

But that was pretty much the end of the finds for me. About that time the mosquitos came out in full force and started eating me alive. I must have at least 10 big bites on my right elbow alone. After wo days of continuous heavy labor we called it a day around 6:30 and headed back to the vehicles to start our drives home.

All in all it was a great trip and its always great meeting people from the forum.

Until next time, good hunting!

~MikeDOTB

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MikeDOTB

Picture #2

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MikeDOTB

Picture #3

My Largest Mako of the day from Aurora!

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MikeDOTB

Picture # 4

GMR Finds!

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Hawkeye

Great trip report Mike and some really beautiful teeth! That big GW is absolutely perfect!

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MikeDOTB

Irradiatus (AKA Daniel)

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MikeDOTB

Screen Shot of the 2 1/4 Great White!

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MikeDOTB

The Big Great Whites!

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ncjack99

Great finds Mike! I was going to go to Aurora this past weekend, but couldn't get the scheduling to work out. I did go at the begining of June and found several makos as well. Seeing all of the great finds makes me want to get back out there quick. I usually hit the contractor's parking lot and the museum. PM me if there are some other spots you know of in the area that you can share.

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Traviscounty

Well that's quite some report you got there...whew! :P

Kidding aside....Nice teeth! :D

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Irradiatus

Dang, Mike - you have a memory like the Voyager Golden Record!

Great job with the trip report. I'm working on mine right now, but it will not be as detailed as yours. I would probably just call a hemi a crow, and a meg a lemon if I tried to outline all my species finds.

FYI for everyone, I'm a complete newbie at shark tooth hunting/identification :)

Also, if any of you ever get the chance to go on an outing with Mike, I HIGHLY recommend it. He's one knowledgeable, cool dude!

Here's a quick teaser of my total finds (with some gifts from Mike and a guy named Brian we met in Aurora)...

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Auspex

Great report!

(I'm gonna make a run to the store now and pick-up a couple big bags of words; the Forum is almost out :P )

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MikeDOTB

Hey Daniel, I dont remember you finding a Felis Catus leg and paw anywhere in Aurora or GMR... LOL

:P

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mommabetts

Nice report and great finds.

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FransF

Great report and awesome teeth too. The great whites are really nice.

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Frank Menser

You might want to consider that since you both found so many teeth, that the museum in their latest newsletter sent out a plea for anyone who can donate 1/4" and up teeth.

Glad to hear the "Run" was so populated. I have seen a few copperheads around there so yeah, snakes are about. But then it's their home and you are visiting...

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Seldom
Great report!

(I'm gonna make a run to the store now and pick-up a couple big bags of words; the Forum is almost out :P )

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

Very good report nice teeth Thanks

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bmorefossil

really nice finds!!!!

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MikeDOTB
You might want to consider that since you both found so many teeth, that the museum in their latest newsletter sent out a plea for anyone who can donate 1/4" and up teeth.

Glad to hear the "Run" was so populated. I have seen a few copperheads around there so yeah, snakes are about. But then it's their home and you are visiting...

Yeah the eels were a pretty cool thing to see. I have yet to see a copperhead around there. But I have seen brown water snakes and water mocassins (cottonmouths).

Was it on the museum web page that they asked for donations of teeth? I will definitely do that. Thanks for the tip!

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Frank Menser

It was in their 'Friends of the Museum' news letter about the teeth. Andrea will sure appreciate that!

Never seen a Moccasin up here (saw plenty in S. Fla) So as a snake spotter you're ahead of me!

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MikeDOTB
It was in their 'Friends of the Museum' news letter about the teeth. Andrea will sure appreciate that!

Never seen a Moccasin up here (saw plenty in S. Fla) So as a snake spotter you're ahead of me!

Yep, I have seen two now. Fortunately only two, I have read a lot of trip reports where people have seen a bunch just in one day.

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MikeD

Nice teeth!

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Shamalama

Great finds and congrats to Irradiatus on his first successful trip and finds! These were all creek and spoil pile finds?

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Irradiatus
Great finds and congrats to Irradiatus on his first successful trip and finds! These were all creek and spoil pile finds?

Yep - all day Friday (sun up to sun down) at the spoil piles in Aurora, then most of the day at GMR on Saturday. I (we) had to quit early on Saturday, as I reached a point at which I could barely lift a soda can to my mouth, much less a sifter full of creek stuff...

Talk about outta shape!

As per the talk of snakes, I'd like to mention a couple things about the cottonmouth (based on often heard snake cliches).

(Warning: total dorky off-topic tangent here. But you guys brought it up :))

1) Every body has heard it "Cottonmouths are ornery, aggressive, mean, etc."

This is almost completely an old wives tale (or at least VERY exaggerated).

They get this reputation because they have been known to "hold their ground" when threatened, displaying their gaping white mouths (hence the common name). However, their aggressiveness has actually been tested scientifically. In this study [link], over 50% of the snakes chose to run away when threatened, while the rest made threatening displays. Only a third actually bit a fake hand when it was stuck in their face (quite amazing result actually).

Similarly, I've accidentally kicked a timber rattlesnake while tracking Timber Rattlers in the Ozarks, resulting in the classic rattler display - but luckily no bite. Timber Rattlers are even more likely to high-tail it when threatened. None of these snakes want to be anywhere near people.

These are all still dangerous snakes to be respected (e.g. don't step on one). But I think the fear most humans have of these snakes is way overblown and needs to stop being fostered, especially considering reptile decline worldwide.

2) No North American snake will ever chase you. Yeah - I'm sure a couple of you have stories of being chased by racers or whatever. I'm afraid this is simply mistaking and anthropomorphizing the snakes' behavior. The fact is, snakes - when the flight instinct kicks in - simply bolt in whatever direction they can - often even if that is right toward you. They have absolutely no instinct to chase after gigantic things they think are trying to kill them. They are pretty dumb animals when it comes down to it.

FYI: I worked in a lab filled with hundreds of various rattlers, cottonmouths, and copperheads at the U of Arkansas back in the day. I also radio-tracked these cool critters in the wild to study behavior/habitat use/physiology.

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Irradiatus

Also, in the vein of the whole "snakes won't chase you" thing, I think MikeDOTB should tell the giant spider story from this weekend. It would be quite entertaining. If you don't, I will - and I'm sure my version would be even more entertaining ;)

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