After checking the weather predictions for my week long trip to Oregon I had a lot of hope. Rain. I took the opportunity to visit one of my favourite places from my last trip: Buddy Creek in the Mcminnville Rotary Nature Preserve. It’s at the riparian zone close to the edge of the park.
My optimism was rewarded with a slug in a tree!
No I’m just kidding- it was rewarded with, on DAY ONE, several amazing Rough Skinned Newts (Taricha granulosa). Here is the first (best photographed) one.
I walked up to the river bank, but couldn’t go any further as the creek was a lot fuller than it was in the summer. (see the first picture up top) I was just about to turn around and go back to the trail when I spotted this little guy(?) ambling across some leaves. Given the great salamander trials I endured last time (I spent five days looking for salamanders until I found 3 on the last day) this was a very happy find.
I took as many pictures and videos as I could (I’ll add gifs when I get home as I can’t make them on my laptop) before my camera battery died due to not really been charged properly before I left. He was remarkably still too, which helped me to take over 100 photos and a few minutes of video – mostly comprising his neck going in and out.
He was curled up so neatly on this huge leaf.
Rough skinned newts are known for being particularly toxic but only if ingested (so I was safe mom) – in fact only a subset of garter-snakes are known to be able to eat them!
I eventually pulled myself away, to let this little guy be, and resumed hiking the trail. Even though my camera was dead I couldn’t help but look under every log and rock – hoping for more.
I stopped to admire a fallen tree with a particularly striking red coloured wood and then boom! Newts! It started with just the one, ambling as they do along the forest floor. I took a few snaps with my phone. As I was focused on this one, one fell from the sky and landed on a leaf right in front of me. I was pretty excited.
I saved this gps location on my phone as NewtTown and intend to return … By the end I had gotten to see several of these amazing newts. Also amazing: zero frogs.
The trail continued and so did I until we came upon a small wet pondy area. I remember asking my friend he would mind if I checked it out – we were already over an hour into this adventure. And so I checked, knowing full well my camera battery situation. I remember actually saying, as I was pulling over a log, “There better not be a salamander under here because I won’t be able to take any good pictures of it.”
Brilliant. What a beautiful salamander. This is possibly a Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus).
I think the sadness I felt not being able to get any good shots was mitigated by the knowledge that a) I saw those amazing newts and b) I’d be coming back. 🙂