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Bay Area Help & Tips

Posted: October 17th, 2016, 9:59 am
by Antonsrkn
Hello all,

I'll be spending a few days in the Berkeley, CA area at the end of this month visiting my girlfriend, I haven't spent much time on the West coast and consequently even the common species would be lifers for me. I'll only be in the area for ~3.5 days but luckily my partner enjoys herps and the outdoors nearly as much as I do so we're hoping on spending half a day to a day seeking out some of the local herps. The main issue is that we won't have a car so will be going to easily accessible areas (thinking UC Berkeley's botanical garden or something like that), if anyone has any suggestions they'd be much appreciated. I'm hoping to see some Ensatina and Taricha, are these realistic goals for the area in late October?

Any help, tips, or advice would be much appreciated. As always I would like to mention that I do not collect and will take only photographs.

My facebook photo page:

FLickr:[email protected]/

Re: Bay Area Help & Tips

Posted: October 17th, 2016, 12:35 pm
by yoloherper
Hi Antonsrkn,
Northern California just got a big storm over the weekend that dumped quite a bit of precipitation in some areas. Looks like Berkeley got around an inch and a half while some areas in the Santa Cruz mountains got almost 10. This was our first big storm of the season though, so even after 2+ inches in Santa Cruz, many logs are still relatively dry underneath. Hopefully we'll get another storm in between now and when you're here to moisten things up a little more, and if so, Ensatinas and newts will be very realistic goals. Newts will probably be active in riparian habitats regardless of whether we get more rain between now and then. Can't help you much on areas to herp without a car though as I haven't spent much time in the East Bay myself.

Re: Bay Area Help & Tips

Posted: October 18th, 2016, 7:03 pm
by mattg
i did a little cruising up there on sunday night tons of newts lots of ensatinas a few arboreals and a bunch of treefrogs in contra costa county.

Re: Bay Area Help & Tips

Posted: October 22nd, 2016, 7:15 am
by Antonsrkn
Excellent, thank you both for the info, im very glad to hear that I'll likely be able to turn up some new species for me. Less than a week now!


Re: Bay Area Help & Tips

Posted: November 2nd, 2016, 8:13 am
by Antonsrkn
Hi all,
An update on the trip, it was a wet 3 days out there but I enjoyed the times I was able to do a bit of hiking immensely.
Species found:
Ensatina eschscholtzii xanthoptica (I think i got the subspecies right for the Berkeley area)
Batrachoseps attenuatus
Aneides lugubris
Thamnophis elegans terrestris
Sceloporus occidentalis bocourtii

All common species, but still a real pleasure for me to encounter as I had very limited time out there. All the salamanders I saw were brand new genera for me, and 3 new genera in 3 days is not something that often happens for me. I missed Taricha though which was a big surprise to me, I thought they'd be the easiest to find. Thanks for the feedback and tips! Can't wait to get back there.

I'll be uploading photos at these 2 links if youre interested:
&[email protected]/