Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Archives Repost: Arcata Community Forest and Smith River 7-29-11 thru 8-1-11

This is revisiting my last exploration excursion this summer at the end of July and begining of August.  I had my own children and nephews and niece.  These hiking trips are excuses for my team and I to get out and discover the world around us.

"What a trip. First leg of the great adventure went through the Arcata Community Forest on 7-29. My team of junior explorers and I hiked the trail near the Campbell Creek. We found three Batrachoseps attenuatus in various spots along the trail. All specimen were weighed and measured and ranged from 0.5 grams to 1 gram and anywhere from 7 to 9 centimeters long. We only found one Ensatina e. scholtzii, and it weighed 1.7 grams and was 10.5 centimeters long.

The second leg of the trip I found myself snorkling in the Smith river. Over two days I found four very large larval Dicamptodon tenebrosus. No measurements were recorded, but they were fascinating as I have never found such large specimens. I think they were in access of 15 centimeters or more. I was surprised at how "at home" I was in the river. I stayed in the water for hours looking under rocks and observing wild life. I also saw a Northern Red-legged frog or two, and what I can only assume to be hundreds of Northern Red-legged tadpoles. The tadpoles were great to see. A greater concentration of tadpoles usually led to a discovery of one of the four D. tenebrosus I found. They seemed to follow the food sources. And let me note here that these creatures were all found in a swimming hole that was very crowded by people and dogs.

The third leg of the trip brought our group back to the Arcata Community Forest. Again we found several B. attentuatus, and one D. tenebrosus larva that was very young. The interesting thing about the D. tenebrosus was that it was found in drainage water from the nearby neighborhood, and not in the cold and clean stream that I usually find them in.

Once I find my camera(somewhere in my luggage) I will post pictures."

Just to recap this adventure:
The D. tenebrosus was the highlight of the trip.  I usually never find them this large.  I always find younger juveniles that are about 1 to 2 inches long.  These guys were giants.  It made the cold water snorkling worth the work to find these specimens.  In November I will be heading back to the Redwoods in search of more amphibians.  I am not sure what my fascination is, but I really enjoy those slimy buggers!  My kids always love going hiking with Dad the Scientist because we always see something really cool.  I just found my camera the other day by the way, and there were hardly any pictures on it.  Oh well...

Keep Moving Foreward,

1 comment:

  1. Nice finds! I'm vary interested in you saying you found Rana aurora at the Smith, because in my 30+ visits to the river conducting amphibian surveys. I have only found Rana boylii boylii. Rana boylii boylii are exceedingly common at the "Smith" and I have never to this day seen a Rana aurora. But it is more than possible. There are confirmed reports of Rana aurora from the river. So a very interesting find. Did you see Rhyacotriton variegatus in the creek that cuts through Arcata Community Forest. I've seen 50+ adults and larvae there and I've seen countless Dicamptodon larvae. I even saw and adult while coming up the trail that leads from Redwood Park (I think it's called that) Ascaphus tadpoles should be common. I've seen many tadpoles and 3 adults. Nice finds. It's great to hear from the herping community! I can't wait for the pictures