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.

Αναρτήθηκε από robberfly robberfly, Μάρτιος 04, 2014 1034 ΜΜ

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 03:53 PM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 02:17 PM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 02:06 PM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 04:43 PM PST

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This is the one Ken-ichi caught...

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 09:49 PM PST

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 03:37 PM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 1, 2014 01:58 PM PST

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Darker form than "yellow-eyed"

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 09:01 AM PST

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 09:05 AM PST

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I think this was my first "Crust" Lichen.

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 12:38 PM PST

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Stopped me in my tracks!

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 09:18 AM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 02:10 PM PST

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Wow!

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 10:46 AM PST

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

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 09:57 AM PST

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How do ya differentiate the two species in California?

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robberfly

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Μάρτιος 2, 2014 10:11 AM PST

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Bigger than the one seen the day before...

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Αναρτήθηκε από kueda πάνω από 8 χρόνια πριν (Αναφορά)

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

Αναρτήθηκε από tiwane πάνω από 8 χρόνια πριν (Αναφορά)

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.

Αναρτήθηκε από protecthabitat σχεδόν 3 χρόνια πριν (Αναφορά)

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