April and May Herping Adventures

Dedicated exclusively to field herping.

Moderator: Scott Waters

Post Reply
User avatar
Hadar
Posts: 251
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:39 pm
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Contact:

April and May Herping Adventures

Post by Hadar » June 7th, 2015, 10:07 am

I'm a little behind on posting so I decided to combine my trips from April and May into one Spring post. In April I did a section on herpetology with my 4-H club and had a PhD herpetology student from OSU join us. I printed the kids each out a list of the herpetofauna found in Oregon with common and scientific names so they could mark which animals we saw and then look up information about them. We started the lesson by talking about the importance of herpetofauna (bioindicators, pest control, the lessons we can learn from them, their part of the food chain, and just how cool they are) then we talked about conservation, life stages, habitat, and range. The kids were given several field guides and based on the area we were in, the time of day, and the weather, they had to predict which species we might find and what habitat to look for them in. After that we went searching. Our PhD student had a permit for the area to sample so he was the only one allowed to catch any animals, lots of red tape. :( However, the kids were able to get a good look at any of the animals caught before they were released in the same area they were found. There were several animals that were too fast for the entire group to see because a couple kids would run ahead and the commotion would scare away the animals before the rest of the group got there.

I have some really great photographs of the herpetology student showing the kids snakes and tadpoles as well as the kids herping themselves but I don't feel comfortable posting those without written permission from the parents so instead I'll just share animal photos.


Red-Spotted Gartersnake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus)
Image
Image
Image
Image

Northern Pacific Treefrog (Pseudacris regilla)
Image
Image

The kids had an amazing time and were much more excited about finding snakes and frogs than the parents were. We had a couple parents barely within eyesight because they were squeamish around herps but they gave thumbs up to their children when they shrieked in joy at the sight of another snake. Many of the kids didn't realize how many herps live around them in areas they go everyday. The parents said that they enjoyed the lesson as well and learned a lot. One of them said, although she still won't touch a tadpole or snake, she appreciates them more.

In April I also went to Redwood National Park and Humboldt County but that trip got its own post.

At the beginning of May, I joined Matt and Jonathan in Eugene to go herping. We saw 3 ring-necked snakes under a single rock, 11 western long-toed salamanders within 4 different sites, 1 dried newt, and 1 yellow-bellied racer.

Northwestern Ring-necked Snake (Diadophis punctatus occidentalis)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Western Long-toed Salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum macrodactylum)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Western Yellow-bellied Racer (Coluber constrictor mormon)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Jonathan with the racer.

Then I had a work trip to Detroit, Oregon which is in the Willamette National Forest. We finished early one day so I had time to go for a hike (try to find the mama mountain lion and her kits that were seen the day before) and I saw a gartersnake before I ran into a homeless camp and decided that hiking by myself with no phone reception might not be the safest. I feel the scariest thing to run into in the woods are other people.

Northwestern Gartersnake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
Image

Habitat shots
Image
Image

Shots at work
Image
Image
Image

Hummingbirds in Detroit
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

May also marked two more National Park trips. The first to John Day National Fossil Beds and the second to the Oregon Caves. I was very impressed by the variation of fence lizards I saw at John Day.

Stops on the way to John Day
Image
Image
Image

At the first unit -- Painted Hills
Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Habitat shots
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

At the second unit -- Sheep Rock
Common Side-blotched Lizard (Uta stansburiana)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Usually I am pretty patient with people but while I was photographing this little guy a woman walked up and said "Oh, one of those Cuban geckos. Those are everywhere in the Caribbean". The comment annoyed me and I tried to say as politely as possible that the lizard she was looking at was actually an Oregon native and not a gecko at all. To this I received a "whatever" and she continued along the path. That interaction was better than a few minutes later when I was trying to photograph a fence lizard and a woman asked what I was taking a photo of, after I told her she went off the path to walk up to the lizard and scared it away before I could get a photo. Even though I had dozens of photographs of fence lizards, I thought it was a rude thing to do.

Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Habitat shots
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


At the third unit -- Clarno
Great Basin Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis longipes)
Image
Image

Habitat shots
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image


For my birthday Matt took me herping and spelunking in southern Oregon, two of my favorite activities!!!
Oregon Caves and Southern Oregon
DOR Gopher Snake (Pituophis catenifer)
Image
Image

Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Scenery shots
Image
Image
Image

Once down at the caves we did some exploring on the trails around the park. I saw my first Oregon scorpion.
Image

Matt found a bunch of larval dicamps here.
Image
Image
Image

Pacific Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus)
Image
Image

Oregon Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii oregonensis)
Image
Image
Image
Image

Clouded Salamander (Aneides ferreus)
Image
Image
Image

Northern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria coerulea)
Image

Northwestern Gartersnake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
Image
Image
Image

Fun flora
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Oregon Caves
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Fence lizard
Image

Oregon has been impressing me with its variety of habitats and ecosystems. For June I will be checking out my native biome for a week and exploring Washington a little. Those adventures to come.

Cheers, Heather

User avatar
Bryan Hamilton
Posts: 1217
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by Bryan Hamilton » June 7th, 2015, 1:20 pm

The first series of fence lizards are Sceloporus gracious. There are a few other graciosus sprinkled throughout. That might explain some of the variability.

Cool post!

User avatar
AndyO'Connor
Posts: 1019
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:14 pm
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by AndyO'Connor » June 7th, 2015, 11:31 pm

Could just be the picture is stretched weird or something, but the last northwestern garter looks like it might be an Oregon garter, Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus. It's eye looks too large compared to the rest of its head for ordinoides, and just the overall shape of its head seems to say aquatic.

User avatar
Hadar
Posts: 251
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:39 pm
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Contact:

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by Hadar » June 8th, 2015, 6:10 am

AndyO'Connor wrote:Could just be the picture is stretched weird or something, but the last northwestern garter looks like it might be an Oregon garter, Thamnophis atratus hydrophilus. It's eye looks too large compared to the rest of its head for ordinoides, and just the overall shape of its head seems to say aquatic.
Thanks Andy! The garters and lizards here puzzle me sometimes, so much variability within a species and overlap with other species. Why can't everything be a salamander? :D

User avatar
jonathan
Posts: 3627
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
Contact:

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by jonathan » June 8th, 2015, 10:44 pm

Nice post Heather! I like the kid education trip the best. The caves are cool too.

Did you hear about all the new fossilized mammal finds that were announced recently? I think most of them came from the John Day fossil beds, including an ancient 12" beaver.

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/56555 ... on-dam.htm


Hadar wrote:At the beginning of May, I joined Matt and Jonathan in Eugene to go herping. We saw 3 ring-necked snakes under a single rock, 11 western long-toed salamanders within 4 different sites, 1 dried newt, and 1 yellow-bellied racer.
Okay, let's be precise here. In addition to all you listed there was a northwestern garter, a red-spotted garter, and 3 yellow-bellied racers (1 dead). ;)

User avatar
Hadar
Posts: 251
Joined: October 12th, 2011, 5:39 pm
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Contact:

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by Hadar » June 9th, 2015, 9:48 am

jonathan wrote:
Hadar wrote:At the beginning of May, I joined Matt and Jonathan in Eugene to go herping. We saw 3 ring-necked snakes under a single rock, 11 western long-toed salamanders within 4 different sites, 1 dried newt, and 1 yellow-bellied racer.
Okay, let's be precise here. In addition to all you listed there was a northwestern garter, a red-spotted garter, and 3 yellow-bellied racers (1 dead). ;)
Thanks Jonathan! I forgot about those. That's what happens when I don't take photos of them. Good thing you have such great memory.

User avatar
TravisK
Posts: 772
Joined: July 8th, 2010, 10:14 am
Location: Eastern Washington

Re: April and May Herping Adventures

Post by TravisK » June 10th, 2015, 9:10 am

Wow Hadar,

Nice post. I am so jelly. I haven't even been able to get out yet this year. :-(

Post Reply