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Wasco County Round 2 with some questions after

Posted: May 6th, 2016, 8:43 pm
by the_cw1
I went to Wasco County last month and had a great time herping. I took the weekend and did it again.

Imagefence_swift by Derek Halm, on Flickr

Imagefence_swift_macro by Derek Halm, on Flickr

Imagelazy_fence_swift by Derek Halm, on Flickr
Swifts were common and enjoyed posing for the camera. Well, maybe not "pose" for it...but they had to strut their stuff. I was more than happy to oblige.

Imagegopher_snake by Derek Halm, on Flickr
The gopher snakes I found were *grumpy* like nothing else. This one was barely a foot but it wanted my blood. This is funny, because two months ago I had a fer-de-lance run from me! Guess there's no counting on size, or danger.

Imagecrotalus_oreganus by Derek Halm, on Flickr
My only rattlesnake of the trip. It was curled beneath the perfect flipping log. Never rattled. Maybe a foot and a half in total length. I liked the way this picture turned out. It gives a great look at the loreal pits.

Imagesouthern_alligator_lizard_head by Derek Halm, on Flickr
I saw tons of alligator lizards (more on that later). Some clouds went overhead for a bit Thursday, and this dude started soaking the heat up from the trail. This gave me a good chance to get a (in my mind) cool pic. I'd never seen one in the wild before! :)

Imagejumping_spider_macro by Derek Halm, on Flickr
Too cute.

Imagewhip_snake_macro by Derek Halm, on Flickr
The first night was cold. Around 6, I had called it good and was going for a leisurely walk sans camera. Of course, what happens? I see a huge snake in a ditch. I eyeballed it at like 5 feet. I jogged back, grabbed my camera, and came back. By then I saw it was two snakes, not one. They were both whip snakes. Where I was in Wasco County is relatively close to the gorge, and I didn't think they came this far north. Not one to complain, I fished one onto the road where it was quite compliant. The one picture was a gravid female, but it would not stand still for a shot of the egg bulges. From the feel, it had to be far along.

Imagedeschutes_river_lanscape by Derek Halm, on Flickr
All in all, a lovely weekend.


My questions for those more knowledgeable than I:
1) Why did I see so many alligator lizards this time? I've spent days hiking in E Oregon and never seen a *single* one. I lost track of the lizards after 13. Why did I see so many? Time of the year? Weather? I don't know the species well and the internet doesn't provide any easy answer here.
2) Are whip snakes often found this far north in Oregon? I was hiking a little from the Columbia Gorge. My impression was that they were more limited towards Southern Oregon. Finding two, particularly a gravid female, was a fun surprise.

Re: Wasco County Round 2 with some questions after

Posted: May 9th, 2016, 2:32 pm
by corey.raimond
Very nice with the whipsnake!

-Corey

Re: Wasco County Round 2 with some questions after

Posted: May 11th, 2016, 5:54 am
by the_cw1
Thanks man. I was quite shocked to the see the two of them. I did a double take, haha.

Re: Wasco County Round 2 with some questions after

Posted: May 11th, 2016, 7:02 am
by TravisK
Nice finds man!