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 Post subject: Oregon 2015 in review: Herping the I-5 corridor
PostPosted: July 19th, 2016, 9:19 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 7:39 am
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My time in Oregon this year was limited to a month in May, and it was an unusual month for me. I stayed almost entirely at low elevations and ran straight up the I-5 corridor from bottom to top, never once hitting the Coast Range and never once hitting the Gorge (though with some good time in NorCal too - see that here). I’d never gone to Oregon without hitting the sali spots before. As a result, my salamander diversity was far lower than usual and my snake count went through the roof. That gave me a more even species count for this year than I’ve ever had.

6 Salamanders
5 Frogs
2 Turtles
4 Lizards
8 Snakes

So here you have my 2015 Northwest year in review, basically south-to-north look at the I-5 corridor.


(p.s. - also got to apologize for the crap camera I was carrying around all spring/summer. I've upgraded to a MUCH better one now, but my shots for this tour were not great.)



Medford

When you cross the border from California into Oregon, you can get a few snake species that you’ll rarely see much further north. In three quick hikes in Jackson County, maybe 3 hours of actual herping, Matt Dagrosa, my wife Rosey, and I hit the jackpot with 8 snakes of 5 species on the crawl, plus 3 lizard species.

Western Yellow-bellied Racer

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Sierra Mountain Kingsnake

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Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

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Pacific Gopher Snake

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Northwestern Ringneck Snake

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Northwestern Fence Lizard

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Oregon Alligator Lizard

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Species count for Jackson County:

~15 Northwestern Fence Lizard
1 Oregon Alligator Lizard
1 Western Skink
1 Northwestern Ringneck Snake
2 Western Yellow-bellied Racer
3 Pacific Gopher Snake
1 Sierra Mountain Kingsnake
1 Northern Pacific Rattlesnake



Eugene

The next day we moved up into Lane County. The climate is dramatically different here, and we accentuated the difference by doing both of our short hikes in wetlands. But the luck continued – the three of us plus Heather found 6 snakes of 3 species on the crawl, and 5 snakes of 3 species flipped. All in just a couple hours! And the wetlands produced turtles and salis, of which we hadn’t seen any in Jackson County.

Northwestern Garter Snake

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer

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Western Long-toed Salamanders

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Northwestern Ringneck Snake

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Red-eared Sliders

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Western Pond Turtle

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Pacific Gopher Snake

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Species count for Lane County:

12 Western Long-toed Salamander
1 Rough-skinned Newt
~12 Red-eared Slider
~6 Western Pond Turtle
3 Northwestern Ringneck Snake
3 Western Yellow-bellied Racer
1 Pacific Gopher Snake
1 Red-spotted Garter Snake
3 Northwestern Garter Snake



Jefferson Wilderness

On a different trip, my wife, dad, and I did a two-day hike in Linn County, the only time I ventured into higher elevations the whole trip. No snakes at all, but got the typical mountain frogs and my first high-elevation Cascades salis…one of which was a stunner!

Cascades Frog

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Boreal Toad

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Coastal Giant Salamander

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Species count for Linn County:

~10 Rough-skinned Newt
1 Coastal Giant Salamander
3 Northern Pacific Chorus Frog
~12 Cascades Frog
~12 Boreal Toad



Willamette Valley

Matt and I did a bit of valley herping too in this area on either side of the 5. In Marion County and Polk County combined we got a few species – nothing too special but this stunner of a red-spotted garter and yet another racer.

Red-spotted Garter Snake

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer

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Species count for Polk and Marion Counties:

2 Western Long-toed Salamander
~6 Rough-skinned Newt
1 Northern Pacific Chorus Frog
1 Northern Red-legged Frog
~5 American Bullfrog
1 Western Yellow-bellied Racer
3 Red-spotted Garter Snake
2 Northwestern Garter Snake



Portland

I didn’t herp Multnomah/Clackamas County as much as I usually do, but made a couple trips out, especially to focus more on reptiles than usual. Got a trillion northwestern garters and my first Multnomah County alligator lizards.

Northern Red-legged Frog

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Western Long-toed Salamander

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Northern Pacific Chorus Frog

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Northwestern Garter Snakes

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American Bullfrog

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Dunn’s Salamander

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Species count for Multnomah and Clackamas Counties:

5 Western Long-toed Salamander
~7 Dunn’s Salamander
2 Western Red-backed Salamander
~6 Coastal Giant Salamander
3 Northern Pacific Chorus Frog
~25 Northern Red-legged Frog
~50 American Bullfrog
5 Northwestern Alligator Lizard
1 Red-spotted Garter Snake
70+ Northwestern Garter Snake



Washington border

And finally you get to Columbia County and the top of Oregon. I didn’t get out as much as I wanted to, but my dad, wife, and I hiked quite a good bit of the Crown Zellerbach Trail, which produces at least 10 species by itself. Add in a good hit of my sister’s property (whitetail deer!) and a few hometown finds (boas and racers!) and I was happy with the county. Most notably, Matt and I and Chris extended the known range of Western Skinks 50+ km to the north. Officially, they’d only been known before now to reach Yamhill County in the Willamette Valley.

Red-spotted Garter Snake

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Western Red-backed Salamander

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Western Yellow-bellied Racer

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Western Skink

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Rough-skinned Newt

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Oregon Ensatina

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Northwestern Alligator Lizard

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Lots of stripe variation in Northwestern Garters this year. Counterclockwise from the top left, I found individuals all at the exact same locale with 1-stripe, 2-stripe, 3-stripe, 1-stripe and 3-stripe together, 3-stripe with blotching, and 1-stripe and ¼-stripe together.

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Also had interesting ventral variation among Rubber Boas. All three of these have been found by me in different years now at basically the same area, yet they demonstrated bright orange, bright yellow, and tan-ish ventral color.

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A few birds and mammals, including my first shots of the endangered Columbia White-tailed Deer on my sister's property:

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Ran into too many ticks this year.

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Species count for Columbia County:

6 Western Long-toed Salamander
3 Ensatina
6 Western Red-backed Salamander
2 Dunn’s Salamander
~35 Rough-skinned Newt
2 Northern Pacific Chorus Frog
~10 Northern Red-legged Frog
~5 American Bullfrog
1 Northwestern Alligator Lizard
2 Western Skink
1 Rubber Boa
2 Western Yellow-bellied Racer (probably same snake)
~10 Red-spotted Garter Snake
~15 Northwestern Garter Snake




Finally we reach the Columbia River…where we ran into this 70+ year old Mexican-American guy fishing catch-and-release for sturgeon in the Columbia River. He reeled in this one just as we were walking up to him. It measured out to 56”. He said it was his third of the day, with another having been of similar size. I don’t know if he’s a really good sturgeon fisherman, he got lucky this day, or if the sturgeon population has rebounded now that they’re catch-and-release only below the dam.

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Thanks for taking a look!


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 Post subject: Re: Oregon 2015 in review: Herping the I-5 corridor
PostPosted: July 20th, 2016, 6:50 am 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1520
Nice tour, thanks Jonathan.

Quote:
Matt and I and Chris extended the known range of Western Skinks 50+ km to the north

great job there, for me personally that kind of thing is the most lasting reward from field herping (the sheer fun of the moment is always great, but it fades)

thanks also for the sturgeon shots and story - perhaps someone else here knows the answers to your questions about the status of that fishery (you could open a topic in the fishing subforum here on FHF, some of those guys are really into fish & fishing)

hope you didn't get any ticks stuck onto you - I'm a permethrin evangelist, have you tried it?

cheers


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