This trip, and this weather, has proved to be really excellent for salamanders. It’s also been really good for me making stupid mistakes with regards to animal hunting excursions. Today, after our one and a half hour drive and while leaning down to take pictures of an awesome bug, I found out that I had left my SD card in my laptop back at the house. Haroo. So my camera has about enough internal storage for 8-10 high res shots – this meant I couldn’t find anything too cool else I might miss out on some good photos. If you’ve seen the featured image then you know how this is going to go.
The first critter I saw was this huge, beautiful beetle. I used my phone to take these pictures in case I wanted more pictures later.
Update: I submitted the above photo to reddit.com/r/whatisthisbug where a snail eating beetle was suggested. (Comment from discussion Found a couple on the Oregon Coast in the Forest.) I did a little bit of research and found Snail-killer Carabid (Scaphinotus angusticollis) at BugGuide.net. According to BugGuide, and some of the users in the comments section, they’re fairly common and their head is specially adapted to be able to get to all those hard to reach places in a snail’s shell.
It appears to be missing some limbs, which is sad for the beetle.
The whole forest was so wet and green, there weren’t any trails so to speak but lots of empty forest floor which huge fungus laden logs and shallow puddles. It was exactly perfect for what I wanted to find.
I hung out by this mossy tree for a little while, a small creek ran just alongside it. By the foot of this tree is where I spotted another Rough Skinned Newt! It was much too dark to get any pictures of him where he was and I knew that space was limited. I scanned the logs, peered under a few leaves until I found something in particular I was hoping to come across.
A beautiful little Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii)! As soon as I saw it I deleted all of the dumb pictures of mushrooms and slugs I had on my camera’s internal storage and got photographing.
Ideally I would have taken a lot more pictures, and getting the focus on the face is a little difficult for me with the tiny screen on the camera. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized my mistakes. Nevertheless, he’s super duper cute.
Not as calm as the rough skinned newt was though. This little guy had places to be.