August CA Redwood

jamminnewt

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Hey everyone!

I went on a trip to the Northern California Redwood forests this past August. My fiance and I actually found more snakes than amphibians! It was my best herping trip yet. :) I will attach photos of our sighted critters. I had really hoped to find more kinds of salamanders, but the weather turned warm and the season wasn't right so I only found one kind. It was great to return to the spot I had been before and find the sals still there. :)

I cannot figure out how to post a photo IN my post, so for now I have attached thumbnails. The first few are of the Elk we saw over the week. The first one had been rubbing his antlers all over a sapling to remove the velvet and in his vigor broke the tree off IN his antlers. He wandered through the meadow trying desperately to get the heavy thing off. We lost sight of him in the grass. A young stag is next. There were also some deer that frequented a nearby meadow. Back to the Elk, a photo of a stag calling to a female in the herd. One anxious male even attempted to mate with a nursing female while we were there. Awkward.

Best finds were what I identified as Juvenile Pacific Salamanders. If you can confirm or give a better ID please do! :) I found several in the particular stream I found these two. The second one is significantly larger than the first.

On the way to the stream I was bending over to look at a Banana slug (pictures of others to follow) and found myself inches from a Red-legged Frog! I was so shocked. He was sitting not two feet from the trail. He was a handsome and large guy. I am used to little tree frogs. He was such a good sport, he didn't move at all as my fiance and I took multiple pictures and pointed him out to other hikers.

I will post more pictures of fauna and flora in the next post. :)
 

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jamminnewt

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Here are some other photos from my trip. Could someone confirm my ID of the salamanders above? They had small external gills, dark purple overall with white speckling.

The first picture is of the California State Mollusk, which frequently cruised our picnic table.

Second and third are shots of two snakes meeting and checking each other out. Within the span of an hour we saw FOUR garter snakes, all speeding off the trail before I could get close enough to catch them. This log was off the trail a bit and in the sun. We scared the lefthand snake off the trail and into the area of the snake sunning on the log. I was very interested to watch their interactions.

Fourth is a beautiful red dragonfly.

Fifth is a nest of baby swallows on the back of a trailhead bathroom. The parents were definitely not happy with us being close and swooped at our heads. We left quickly to give them space.

Sixth is one of our creepy nightmares. It is a harvestman or daddy longlegs- 2inches long from front leg to back- with what look like red mites all over it. These things are terrifying to behold. We both beheld them separately as we sat beside the campfire reading. The arthropods came into view inches from our faces after climbing up our legs and onto our hands or arms. At this distance all you could see was a huge, spindly red and black THING moving towards your face.

We read in the car or tent from then on.

The last two thumbs are to give you an idea of the habitats in the area.

Total tally:
Garter snakes 4
Salamanders 4
Red-legged Frog 1
Banana Slugs MANY
Fungus Multiple types
Elk 40
Deer 8
 

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otolith

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Great pictures! Very jealous of the Red Legged Frog sighting, I've never actually seen one in person and they live not more than 15 miles from me.

The salamander larvae you found are definitely Dicamptodon, if you were south of Mendocino county I would imagine they are ensatus, otherwise most likely tenebrosus.
 

jamminnewt

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Great pictures! Very jealous of the Red Legged Frog sighting, I've never actually seen one in person and they live not more than 15 miles from me.

The salamander larvae you found are definitely Dicamptodon, if you were south of Mendocino county I would imagine they are ensatus, otherwise most likely tenebrosus.

Thanks for the ID otolith and FrogEyes! I brought along my reptile and amphibian guide but had trouble distinguishing exact species.

I almost peed myself when I noticed the Red Legged Frog. I had never seen one and had no idea there were frogs that large in the area, let alone somewhere I might come across them. I was literally two feet from it when my eyes realized it wasn't part of the duff.

The trip was definitely a success. I didn't see some of the salamander species that I had hoped for, but we saw the frog and the snakes (which again I had not really considered living in such a moist and cool habitat).

Thank you for the responses!
 

josh

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You should spend some time herping in your neck of the woods. Southern California has some of the coolest salamanders that California has to offer! Many many species!!!
 
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