Marin Headlands Herping
Somehow, I forgot to post about this adventure to Carson Falls, Mount Tam Watershed, in the Marin Headlands between Fairfax and Bolinas, CA, on March 20th of this year. It was during a family outing with my pals Todd, Teresa, their children Kyan and Kacia, along with friends Anna and Jen.
03/20/2010 @ 1:24:38 PM PDT
The local population of Foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii) are considered endangered. Nevertheless, we saw about 10 of them in the pools along the falls, so they're either doing reasonably well in this habitat, or Kyan and I are completely awesome frog spotters.
03/20/2010 @ 2:15:46 PM PDT
On the way back up the trail, we encountered this Pacific ringneck snake (D. punctatus amabilis). Shy and unassuming, it didn't bite, although like most non-venomous snakes in North America, it stunk up my hands with an escape musk. Notice the iridescent light on its scales. Jewelry should look as good as this.
03/20/2010 @ 2:16:49 PM PDT
03/20/2010 @ 2:17:37 PM PDT
03/20/2010 @ 2:21:58 PM PDT
Then, just a hundred yards further up the trail, we found this Sharp-tailed snake (Contia tenuis). Another unassuming resident of the leaf litter, it didn't try to bite, but it did put down a serious stink on me. Notice the severe scarring mid-body, probably the result of a bird attack, or perhaps an unobservant mountain biker.
03/20/2010 @ 2:21:53 PM PDT
03/20/2010 @ 2:26:58 PM PDT
Our last reptile encounter was with a Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis), also known as the Blue-belly. Its capture was accomplished by Watershed wildlife docent Peter Clare, who had some great stories about wildlife viewing adventures in Asia. These became the icing on the cake of a very successful day of herping.