My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

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Zach_Lim
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My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by Zach_Lim » June 30th, 2014, 7:16 am

Well, June has come to an end and I am happy to report that I managed to add quite a few lifers to the list. Although it was/is still dry as a bone here in the Bay Area, I still managed a handful of local species.

Let's begin with the usual suspects.

Juvenile Northern Pacific Rattlesnake that I flipped from under a stump in San Mateo County.

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Early in the month, I met up with Elliot (yoloherper) and hit the Santa Cruz Mountains for a shot at my lifer lateralis. I have only previously seen and photographed the endangered Alameda Striped Racer.

Flipping old planks and fence posts revealed a handful of NorPac Rattlers.

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Lots of beautiful Side-blotched Lizards (introduced to the area, right?) bounced from rock to rock.

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Flipping logs, I found a shed of a California Striped Racer- good, I was getting close.

Elliot and I begin stomping through the bush and managed to scare up a few lateralis, but none stuck around for voucher shots!

We decided to take a break and move on to a different spot in hopes that the snakes would return.

Walking near a pond, I spot a snake...

A dessicated Thamnophis (most likely atratus atratus).

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We headed back to the first spot.....

California Striped Racer

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Thanks to some quick moves by Elliot, I got my lifer!

I have been spending a lot of time just south of San Francisco exploring new spots with Jared Heald. So far, we have found some gorgeous Coast Garters.

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It got really hot out in the East Bay. REALLY HOT. But the moon was up....

3 hours of cruising for this feisty Pacific Gopher Snake.

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I have been spending the majority of my time out in the field solo walking on shaded trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I have now seen quite a few snakes this way.

Santa Cruz Garter Snake

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A humungous Pacific Gopher Snake

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Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

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Can't be there for all of them...

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Now for a change in scenery-

Jared, Dave, and I headed up North for some garter action. Specifically, we were attempting to photograph all three species that occurred in Marin County, CA in one day.
The weather wasn't great, but we did manage our goal.

Aquatic Garter Snake (T.atratus intergrade)

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CA Red-sided Garter Snake

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Unfortunately, none of my Coast Garter pics came out decent...but, believe me, we got all three species: sirtalis, atratus, and elegans!

Thamnophis Trifecta

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Now the fun part of this thread...

My band Scalped headed up north for a few days to play shows in Portland, Olympia, Seattle, and Vancouver. The shows were good, but the herping I was able to squeeze in between van rides to the next gig was better.

For reference, here we are trying to look tough at some park haha

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I was able to meet up with Gary Nafis and do some much needed herping near the Puget Sound.

Thank you, Gary, for the great company and for helping me find some awesome snakes (one of which I have wanted to see since I was a child)!

Puget Sound Garter Snake

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All smiles!

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Dozens of Pugets later, I notice one that didn't look as blue....

Wandering Garter Snake

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On the drive up to Vancouver, we parked the van at a rest stop to stretch our legs.

Naturally, I see that we are near water and decide to stomp around.

I notice a flash of yellow and red in the grass!

Valley Garter Snake

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I have yet to catch a fish while wearing my fish shirt....

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And that is it. Yup, the last snake (or herp aside from Fence Lizards and a repeat offender Crote) I have seen was the Valley Garter pictured above (6/21/2014).

I have hit the field on my days off since then and have come up short. Went road cruising last night and came up with nothing. Zero. Zip.

I guess the drought and intense heat is finally pushing snakes underground....

:beer: Here's to a wetter, better, July.

Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » June 30th, 2014, 7:31 am

I love seeing all the Thamnophis. Beautiful!
The huge gopher snake is magnificent.
I dig the California striped racer, too.
Thanks for a lovely post!

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SurfinHerp
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by SurfinHerp » June 30th, 2014, 10:56 am

Glad you had a pretty good June Zach. Thanks for sharing all the pics!

That's an excellent striped racer, and I'm impressed you got your Trifecta to pose together so nicely 8-)

Jeff

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TravisK
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by TravisK » July 1st, 2014, 9:04 am

Nice! that trifecta shot is something else. If I was in one of those cities I would have totally gone to one of your shows too.

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jonathan
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by jonathan » July 1st, 2014, 10:03 am

Nice post! I'd love to see more trip reports here.

Your garters are beautiful. I'm always jealous when foreigners come to my neck of the woods and get something (in this case, Puget Sound and Wandering garters) that I haven't seen myself yet.

Zach_Lim
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by Zach_Lim » July 17th, 2014, 9:48 am

Thank you all for the kind words!

I fell in love with the PNW this time up- the wildlife, the nature, the people, the shows...

But the one thing that really got me...

SPIRE CIDER.

Why do we not have this cider in SF!?

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PNWHerper
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by PNWHerper » July 24th, 2014, 7:41 am

Zach,

So glad your trip was a success! Sorry to have missed you here. I was swamped with writing. Would have loved to join you and Gary Nafis in the field.

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BDSkinner
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Re: My trip up to the PNW (plus CA)

Post by BDSkinner » August 16th, 2014, 10:28 pm

Man those garters are cool. Can't wait to get out there and find some of my own.

Your band got any music on the interwebs?


-Brad

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