Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oaks Bottom

On a damp and somewhat warm day, where better to head than Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge? It's a famously great place to look for herps.  In the spring and summer, the tadpole pond is hopping, both with the amphibians that breed in this vernal pool and with the garter snakes that like to eat them. This time of year, the snakes are laying low, and the frogs and salamanders are more evident. Salamanders that burrow when it's cold will come up to shelter under rocks and logs to escape the flooding underground.  We went there to see what we could see when looking under logs.  Ages ago, a trail leading into Oaks Bottom was stenciled with frogs, fish and ducks.  Then a Pac-Man was added.  On this visit we found the creatures skeletonized.  Perhaps in honor of Halloween?  

If you find a delicate salamander under a log, gently remove the salamander, replace the log just as you found it, and place the salamander right next to the log so it can find its way back on its own. This way you are unlikely to inadvertently squish it.  

Western red-backed salamander.
A rather fancy Pacific chorus frog.
Dunn's salamander.
Western red-backed salamander.
Mollusk eggs (slug?).
Western red-backed salamander.

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