Pepperwood Preserve, CA.

Alright, this Lepidopterist has a confession: I'm a closeted...amphibian freak.
Before I got into butterflies, I used to have a 60-gallon tank in my room in the Haight-Ashbury of San Francisco that housed two illegal Mud Puppies ( where's my 12-step group?) Mud Puppies ( genus Necturus) are found in the Eastern US and are illegal to own in California because if they ever got into the Sacramento River they'd eat a lot of endangered fish. I donated them to the Cal Academy of Science when I decided to move to NYC to give Broadway a try. " I don't even want to know where you got these", the herpetologist said there, "but they're wicked cool. Thanks." Yes, they are.
The chance to go see my first Red-bellied Newts ( Taricha rivularis ) at the Pepperwood Preserve with some iNater's last week was two-fold: a) to see a newt with a tomato red underside that I'd only seen in pictures and b) the scope out this place that I'll be teaching a class on May 3rd of this year:
http://app.pepperwoodpreserve.org/pls/apex/f?p=514:2:13468060107807
I'd never been there. And with the rain, it was much more "newt weather" than "butterfly weather" (which kinda made me glad..) Went out with a group lead by Julie ( (iNat handle: "protect habitat") and lifted cover boards and saw fantastic things: California, Rough-skinned and Slender Salamanders. Two forms of Ensatinas. Garter Snakes. The densest display of Sierran Tree frogs I'd ever witnessed. The target species didn't appear till a night walk with headlamps. Then, like most elusive things, they began to appear in abundance. Had to watch where one was stepping.
I have to say the next day's walk on the Redwood Loop Trail will not leave my memory for years to come. A magnificent oak forest with more shades of green I thought possible, made charged and magnified by the constant light rain. It was an Insanity of Lichens! OMG. Form + Color + Wonder. I didn't know where to focus. It ultimately leads to a redwood forest and more splendor. Mushroom madness without even taking mushrooms! Can we talk about the Jack-o'-lantern? My first. Wow.
At a moth light with Ken-ichi and Julie the night before revealed one of my favorite Noctuids to paint: Feralia februalis - a true "harbinger of spring" Ken-ichi photographed some other wicked forms of this moth as well.
Thanks to two guys that really know and love the place: "curiousgeorge61" from iNat and Greg Damron ( I think he's an iNater as well?) . Greg took us looking for Pacific Giant Salamander larvae in a back country creek. Glorious hike as well.
So, I promise I won't look for amphibians when I teach my class there in a few months because I think...I already saw them all.

Posted by robberfly robberfly, March 04, 2014 22:34

Observations

Photos / Sounds

What

Henderson's Shooting Star Primula hendersonii

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 03:53 PM PST

Description

Taj had this cool white bowl to photograph against. Fantastic.

Photos / Sounds

What

Sierran Tree Frog Pseudacris sierra

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 02:17 PM PST

Description

I've never seen so many in one day...

Photos / Sounds

What

California Newt Taricha torosa

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 02:06 PM PST

Description

Amazing to see all three species of Taricha in one day...

Photos / Sounds

What

Garter Snakes Genus Thamnophis

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 04:43 PM PST

Description

This is the one Ken-ichi caught...

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 09:49 PM PST

Photos / Sounds

What

California Black Oak Quercus kelloggii

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 03:37 PM PST

Description

One of the hi lights of the trip. Spectacular specimen.

Photos / Sounds

What

Ensatina Ensatina eschscholtzii

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 1, 2014 01:58 PM PST

Description

Darker form than "yellow-eyed"

Photos / Sounds

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 09:01 AM PST

Photos / Sounds

What

Concentric Boulder Lichen Porpidia crustulata

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 09:05 AM PST

Description

I think this was my first "Crust" Lichen.

Photos / Sounds

What

Golden-eye Lichen Teloschistes chrysophthalmus

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 12:38 PM PST

Description

Stopped me in my tracks!

Photos / Sounds

What

Dendroalsia Moss Dendroalsia abietina

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 09:18 AM PST

Description

It was the right continuous drizzle through the hike to make the spectrum of greens incomprehensible.

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Jack-O'-Lantern Omphalotus olivascens

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 02:10 PM PST

Description

Wow!

Photos / Sounds

What

Ring-necked Snake Diadophis punctatus

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 10:46 AM PST

Description

As spectacular as the Lichens were this morning, this guy might have trumped all.

Photos / Sounds

What

Banana Slugs Genus Ariolimax

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 09:57 AM PST

Description

How do ya differentiate the two species in California?

Photos / Sounds

What

Western Forest Scorpion Uroctonus mordax

Observer

robberfly

Date

March 2, 2014 10:11 AM PST

Description

Bigger than the one seen the day before...

Comments

Posted by kueda over 7 years ago (Flag)

Excellent post, Liam. I definitely want to head up there again!

Posted by tiwane over 7 years ago (Flag)

Ah ha! Liam, so it was March 2014 when we met at Pepperwood! I hope you (and keuda and tiwane if they want) can come up to SSU's Osborn Preserve on Sonoma Mountain! We have 72 coverboards there to check out too.

Posted by protecthabitat about 2 years ago (Flag)

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