Monday, April 16, 2012

A Spring Day in Oregon

 I spent a quick weekend up in Wilsonville, Oregon, to visit my brother and his family. I arrived late Friday afternoon and drove back first thing Sunday morning, so I really only had Saturday to see what I could stir up. That's not much time, but I took advantage of the nice weather and the chance to find some new herps. The one full day I was in Oregon was sunny and in the low 60s. Definitely herp-able!
Stepping out into the forest behind his home for a few minutes, I didn't hesitate to begin my search.
 I was pleased to find a large, plump Oregon Ensatina. Perhaps a gravid female.
Then, I found a second smaller one under a piece of wood.
 Pausing to teach my brother and his baby boy the intricacies of this beloved Plethodont.
 I set out early the next day to see if I could locate more herps. Rolling logs turned up a few more Ensatinas.
A mid-sized one was discovered by peeling back the loose bark of a fallen tree.
This small juvenile was growing back a new tail. These were found at a park by Knight Bridge, south of Wilsonville. 
A pool of knee-deep water was discovered at Champoeg State Park. The water was clear enough to see hundreds of small, black tadpoles, some salamander larvae, and a bullfrog.
 Of course, the bullfrog yelped and plunged to the bottom, but with little cover and shallow water, it was easily caught.
 Since no adult salamanders or newts were seen in or around the pool, I decided to keep one larvae and three tadpoles to see what I would be surprised with once they metamorphosed. Silly me. Soon, all I had left  was the inch-long, gilled larvae, as he had eaten the tiny black tadpoles. I named him Fluffy and transported him in a water bottle.
A grisly discovery at the water's edge hinted at the specie that the tadpoles may have been. 
 Fortunately, this wasn't the only Pacific treefrog seen at the park. An attractive green one was captured at different pool nearby.
 A small pool where the treefrog was found.
 Moving on to another park (Mallala State Park), I looked around some flooded fields.
 With the sun moving in and out from behind the clouds, the outside air temperature stayed warm enough for garter snakes to be taking advantage of the nicer spring weather.
I found three garter snakes, and with the one below showing a slightly-orange midstripe, I suspect they are Northwestern garter snakes.
Continuing on, I pulled apart a saturated log and found a small rough-skinned newt curled up on the wood.
 It was my only newt of the trip (unless Fluffy turns out to also be a newt larvae), but it was my first one of this specie. 
 I was happy to end my one day of Oregon herping with some satisfying discoveries.